Welcome to Big Idea 4! This is one of the heftier Big Ideas, and with good reason: it covers all you need to do the research portion of your AP Research paper. These are skills that you also started learning in AP Seminar, and in some ways it’s a bit easier in AP Research because you’re only focusing on one paper with one topic.
You can find the study guide for AP Seminar's Big Idea 4 here
, if you'd like to refresh.
However, unlike in AP Seminar, you’re expected here to conduct your own research. This means your synthesization will be a lot more involved.
How do I connect and analyze the evidence in order to develop an argument and support a conclusion?
Are there other conclusions I should consider?
How does my scholarly work emerge from my perspective, design choices, or aesthetic rationale?
How do I acknowledge and account for my own biases and assumptions?
What is the most appropriate way to acknowledge and attribute the work of others that was used to support my argument?
How do I ensure the conclusions I present are my own?
The two new questions here are Questions 3 and 4. These questions ask you to think critically about how the research you’ve done came from your personal biases or design choices. Research isn’t done in a vacuum. The questions people ask and the methods they use to go about answering those questions all influence what answer, if any, gets found at the end.
Let’s break down these Essential Questions in the context of the argument we’re going to make.
Learning Objective: Formulating a well reasoned argument, taking the complexities of the problem or issue into consideration.
Learning Objective: Selecting and consistently applying an appropriate disciplinary or interdisciplinary approach to form a scholarly argument or aesthetic rationale.
Learning Objective: Interpreting, using, and synthesizing qualitative and/or quantitative data/information from various perspectives and sources (e.g., primary, secondary, print, nonprint) to develop and support an argument.
If you can master the Learning Objectives covered by these essential questions, you can do a solid half of your research paper. This section is about how to create an argument, a research method, collect data and interpret that data. As a result, we’re going to be covering it extensively in the next few guides.
You’ll need to have a pretty good understanding of these skills in order to do your Inquiry Proposal Form, a document you’ll need to turn in long before the research paper. However, keep in mind that the research process changes many things. What you thought was your argument or research method might change after some trial and error. That’s okay!
Learning Objective: Providing insightful and cogent commentary that links evidence with claims.
Learning Objective: Extending an idea, question, process, or product to innovate or create new understandings.
Learning Objective: Offering resolutions, conclusions, and/or solutions based on evidence considering limitations and implications.
These Essential Questions ask you to think critically about what your research means. You’ll be drawing on the skills of previous Big Ideas, but instead of applying them to other people’s works, you’ll apply them to your own.
Learning Objective: Attributing knowledge and ideas accurately and ethically, using an appropriate citation style.
These two questions focus heavily on making sure you’re aware of and actively avoiding any plagiarism. Some of the ways you can do this is by using a consistent citation style, such as APA or Chicago, depending on the field you’re working on, and by taking good notes when you’re reading background literature. That way, you’ll know which ideas are yours and which are other people’s.
This Big Idea contains some of the most difficult, and most rewarding, parts of AP Research. Ready to jump in?