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How to Choose an EPQ Topic and Title (EPQ Advice #2)

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Hello and welcome to my second EPQ advice blog! If you want to know what an EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) is and why you might consider doing one, please read my last blog here.  In this installment I’m giving you the three main things you might want to consider to help you decide a topic and title for your project.

Before we start, I ought to tell you about my own project (which is now near completion). Drum roll please...my EPQ is on The Hunger Games!!! If you’re anything like the people I know, you might be surprised, and fair enough – it’s not really a conventional topic choice. My title concerns the originality of the first novel in the trilogy, so in the most basic terms: is Suzanne Collins a copycat? Don’t get me wrong, I love the books (and the films too), but my title was the best option when I asked myself the following things:

What do I want to get out of the EPQ? – I knew I wanted to use my EPQ to help prepare me for university, where I’ll be doing an English Literature degree, and that led me to choose a topic related to literature so I could research similar ideas and write in a similar style to how I will in the future. You might want to relate your chosen topic to your own future prospects, especially if you think your EPQ might help you receive an offer from university or other higher education options. And don’t be put off if your plans don’t involve ‘essay subjects’ – I know people who’ve done projects on biology, medicine and loads more.

What do I like? – Having decided that I was going to focus on a book, it didn’t take me long to choose The Hunger Games as my specific focus. It’s one of my favourite novels and belongs to a genre I know pretty well, so it made sense to go for it. But YOUR personal likes are super important when picking a topic because you’ve got to spend a long time on your project and it’s ten times easier if you actually like it. So pick an area which interests you so you can become on expert on something you WANT to know about.

What makes a good EPQ? – At the end of the day, you probably want to pass the EPQ with a grade you’re happy with, and your chosen topic and title inevitably affects this. For example, your title must allow you to write an objective, academic essay using references, so it must have potential for a counterargument and some sort of debate. So before you choose a specific topic and title, make sure there are some academic sources you could refer to, and enough things for you to discuss in detail. I suggest searching things like Google Scholar for sources and talking to teachers to get their opinions.

So that’s my advice
on choosing a topic and title. Although I chose The Hunger Games as a topic very quickly, it took a long time to decide on my title to ensure I could produce a good essay, so don’t rush this decision – it may make things difficult if you discover problems with your topic/title later down the line.

Look out for my next EPQ advice blog (sometime next week) where I’ll focus on my approach to research – a massive part of EPQ!

R