EPQ week 2022

Every year, students have the chance to present their Extended Project Qualifications for EPQ Week. EPQs are growing in popularity, with over half of d’Overbroeck’s Lower Sixth students taking on a project this year. Students have the freedom to choose what interests them, and this year EPQ titles were so diverse they range from tractors to dinosaur robots! The students at d’Overbroeck’s are brimming with ideas, and we were blown away by their efforts. Scroll all the way down to find out more about some of the projects students did this year.

Curious to see Herbie in action? Check him out below:

Student Eloise performing a series of monologues

Find out about some of the projects students have been working on below:

Project title: A model of regional governance? Assessing the ASEAN Way 

Student name: Roshchanis

Do regional organisations matter in times of regional crisis? This was the question I pondered after having witnessed the recurrent transboundary haze pollution and the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis that have affected Southeast Asian countries for decades. Consequently, my EPQ has centred on the effectiveness of ASEAN in tackling these problems.

Project title: How beneficial are prosthetics to society economically?

Student name: James

I chose to write my project on prosthetics because they had always interested me. I thought that the science behind them was incredibly novel and futuristic. I chose to write about the economic side of prosthetics as I am planning on studying economics at university. 

Project title:  What are the most suitable materials for use in a commercial nuclear fusion reactor?  

Student name: Torin 

I chose my project because I wanted to do something related to my subject choices. I picked this specific topic area because it is an area of huge focus in the scientific community due to the revolutionary potential it has, and I enjoyed the topic at GCSE. While researching my project I read lots of scientific journals and papers as well as accessing information directly from fusion research projects.   

Project title: Is the State of Israel guilty of the crime of apartheid?  

Student name: Anna 

I chose my project as I have an interest in international politics especially in the Middle East. For a long time I had heard about the Israel-Palestine conflict but lacked the understanding required to formulate my own opinions regarding the situation. My project involved a lot of general reading to gather a detailed and factual information of the conflict, but later involved exploring specific arguments from both sides in regard to the conflict as well as looking through pieces of international legislation.  

Project title: The gender gap in IT: What prevents women from pursuing computer science careers?  

Student name: Anna 

As a woman studying sciences, and Computer Science in particular, myself, I have found it disturbingly prominent how gender disparity persists in almost all aspects of the field. Starting with early childhood, where kids are already influenced by stereotypes about gender-suited jobs, and continuing on throughout all of the academic and working life, the trend of women underrepresentation in IT is, as ever, present even more than in other STEM branches. Having researched and discussed the problem with my female peers in Computer Science as well as our school’s IT manager, I have come up with a few key reasons deterring women from the discipline, including lack of role models, lack of support from educational institutions, stereotypes, discrimination and male-dominant environment, all of which are further explored in my project.  

Project title: Ghostwriter: a screenplay

Student name: Archie  

I chose my project because of my interest in film and screenwriting. I wanted to write a feature-length horror screenplay to both explore the process of screenwriting as well as out of my desired career in the future. Over the process, I read several screenplays and watched video essays to familiarise myself with the creation of a screenplay before writing the full script. 

Project title: To what extent was Ancient Athenian Democracy truly democratic? 

Student name: Chloe   

I would like to study Classics in university and become a lawyer in the future, and I chose this EPQ question as I wanted to attain a deeper understanding of Ancient Greece to truly understand the concept of democracy and the justice system that influenced our modern-day democracies. Growing up in Hong Kong gave me an interest in democracy and freedom of political expression, and so by learning about what a democracy truly consists of, this allowed me to gain an insight as to how democracies and their people are being violated of their rights. This project involved a lot of reading of articles, books, critics and ancient sources to evaluate as to what extent their system was as “democratic” as it seems to many people today, and to spread my knowledge of the classical world as we can learn so much from history. 

Project title: How could behavioural economics have been better leveraged during the UK’s first Covid-19 lockdown?

Student name: Christopher      

I chose my project area as it combined a relevant topic area of Covid-19 with behavioural economics, which linked my psychological and sociological background. I was also interested in the area, as it is something that everyone can relate to in some way, as our behaviour is manipulated every day. My research project involved a lot of general research to begin to understand the grounding of behavioural economics, then moving towards to in depth research papers.   

Project title: can LEDC’s economically grown independently through the use of their own resources rather than be exploited for MNC’s gain?  

Student name: Cici     

What attracted me to do this project is that I became increasingly concerned about various development obstacles faced by many LEDCs that constantly come up in news. This project then explores the extensive relationship between LEDCs and how MNCs with regards to resource exploitation for the sole purpose of economic growth. It involves the positive and negative outcome of exploitations, as well as current and future exploitation of the 21st century that we are currently facing.  

Project title: Investment against the people’s will: can CPEC succeed in improving Balochistan? 

Student name: Daniel   

I chose this project because China has dominated discourse regarding international relations over the last 5 years, and the Belt and Road Initiative comes with major geopolitical implications. The current world order is affected by this project so understanding its implications is important. Coming to CPEC was a natural evolution. It began by researching foreign aid as a concept. This then led to researching investment projects, which led to the Belt and Road Initiative as a whole, until I eventually decided to focus on the case study of Balochistan. 

Project title: To what extent does e-commerce benefit society socially and economically? 

Student name:  Darren  

The pandemic has fuelled the transition to e-commerce, impacting society both from a social and economic standpoint. During this time, I realised the importance of digital technologies particularly with Amazon and their online services to fulfil the reliance of customers for online transactions. The future of e-commerce will inevitably transform the lives of many individuals and change the way in which we interact and function together as a whole society.   

We should appreciate the value of digital infrastructures. Therefore, gaining a deeper understanding of this rapidly growing and dynamic sector will help society to better prepare for these changes in the post-pandemic world. My project involved discussing the economic and social implications of e-commerce, highlighting its importance for the future of society as we focus away from traditional retail. The influence of the global pandemic on individual behaviour and attitudes were also examined to investigate the impact of e-commerce in the pre and post-pandemic context.  

Project title: A Philosophical, Psychological, and Economical analysis Regarding the Significance of Human Creativity on Ideological Progress 

Student name: David     

This project was inspired by Haruki Murakami’s Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World & South of the Border, West of the Sun. These novels, combined with my reflections on the historical changes within different societies, made me wonder if they are any genuine progress of society; and how do we as individuals contribute to such ‘progress’? Since I also study Economics and Philosophy in my A-levels, I designed a circular model of ideological progression to hopefully seek the truth of the following three questions:   

How does individual creativity play a role in the formation of ideologies?  

Will ideological development stop eventually?  

Is there ‘objective’ moral progress in ideological development?   

Project title: The Empty Chair: A series of monologues using Gestalt therapy technique to explore the issue of sexual assault. 

Student name:  Eloise 

I chose my project because of my interest in acting and writing. I did it around the issue of sexual assault because it interests me to explore various perspectives and opinions on such an important universal topic. Over the course of my EPQ, I researched gestalt therapy through books, articles and videos. I then wrote the script, directed, and performed a 20 minute theatre piece.   

Project title: A City in Paralysis – Modernism in James Joyce’s Dubliners 

Student name: Teresa    

I initially chose literary modernism as my topic because of E.E Cummings’ poems (they are unorthodox in their syntax and structure), and I became interested in modernism after doing further research, how modernist literature are often fragmented, overwhelming and confusing. My EPQ is focused on literary modernism – more specifically, English literature written in the early 1900s. The first section explores the characteristics of literary modernism, how it developed, and an evaluation of different criticisms, while the second section is about how modernism influenced James Joyce’s Dubliners and some of my analysis on the text.  

Project title: An exploration of the socioeconomic and ethical factors contributing to organ trade and the possible solutions available.

Student name: Faith 

I choose to do my project because I have an interest in studying inequalities – why they exist and how inequalities affect different social groups differently. This integrates the skills I’ve learned in A-Level Sociology. This project topic was ideal in studying inequalities as there is a lot of disparity between how the organ trade affects the rich in comparison to the impoverished. 

Project title: The Roman Economy: what impact has it had on the Western economy of today? 

Student name: Georgia   

I chose my project because I was studying both classical civilisation and economics and wanted to investigate the cross-over between the two. It mainly involved research in the form on reading journal articles and books. One significant aspect was searching through classical texts to find references to modern economic concepts. Another, was researching the physical links (in the forms of trade routes and infrastructure) and the impact of that both directly, through the same trade routes being used today, and indirectly, by looking at the distribution of wealth in comparison to the direct impacts.

Project title: How to last on Depop 

Student name: Lalage   

I chose to sell on Depop for my project, as I have been avoiding fast-fashion since the start of the pandemic. I began to buy a lot off Depop during the first quarantine as it was sustainable fashion that would deliver to my house. So naturally for my EPQ, to further my interest, I really wanted to start selling on Depop properly and see what it takes to start a business, throughout my project I found that Depop has a very different culture to any other reselling sites and has a social currency (much like a social media platform). I thought that I could really dive into the trials and tribulations of starting a Depop business in my log and then encapsulate this into a tutorial for my presentation. 

Project title: To what extent is economic growth a good indicator of happiness? 

Student name: Holly  

Once researching all the weaknesses of the GDP metric I wondered why is it so important to world leaders? Why is the need to increase GDP at the heart of all major economies? I shortly realised that GDP can in fact be a negative and worsen wellbeing. I researched alternatives to GDP and how governments use their money in sustainable ways which directly focus’ on increasing the happiness of a nation. Research I found included New Zealand’s welfare budget and ‘Doughnut’ economics. I concluded that above a certain level of wealth the relationship of Wealth and happiness breaks down.

Project title: In the context of the 21st century, has the Chinese government played a larger role in the Vietnamese economy than the Vietnamese communist party? 

Student name: James 

I am half Vietnamese and thus I saw the EPQ project as an opportunity to educate myself on the current affairs within the country I originate from.  My Project involved the evaluation of some key aspects of the Vietnamese economy, discussing whether I felt that China exhibited more control over them than the Vietnamese Communist Party. The Knowledge needed to do this was acquired via extensive reading around the Sino Vietnamese economic relationship, focusing particularly on elements of the Vietnamese economy that I had deemed the most significant, as well as data analysis. 

Project title: John Deere 6900 Repair and Restoration  

Student name: Joseph    

I chose my EPQ project because working on tractors and other farm equipment has always been something I have enjoyed. It is also a part of what I’m planning on studying at university which is Farm Business Management. My project involved lots of research and actual manual work to complete, a lot of the tasks I carried out I had not previously performed so it has added a lot more skills and repairs I could now carry out again, but I would not have been able to do before. I decided to do my project on the tractor since I thought It would be something interesting and something I would enjoy so carrying it out would not seem like a chore. Overall I am very pleased with my EPQ and personally think that the tractor looks and functions very well. 

Project title: How tall can mountains be? A mathematical model 

Student name: Jonah 

A while ago, I searched the question “How tall can mountains be?”. To my surprise, there was no definitive answer online! Most sources suggested mountains could be “a little bit taller than Everest”, but neither numerical answers nor robust methods were provided. To answer this question, I researched how to make a mathematical model, and then constructed one such model to solve this problem, which ended up in the form of one large equation. My model relies on a principle called “isostasy” and takes inputs of how thick and dense a given piece of continental crust is to predict how tall the resulting mountains may be. 

Project title: Does building a guitar develop an emotional connection between man and instrument?   

Student name: Joseph 

I chose to do my project as I am interested by the bond between man and instrument and wanted to investigate the effects it had on the ability of the guitarist. What was involved was me building the guitar from scratch, evaluating my bond and researching other peoples bond. This has helped me understand a lot more about the instrument I play as well as build carpentry skills. 

Project title: Business Game 

Student name: Joshua 

I’ve always wanted to create a game, I thought this was a good opportunity. For this I had to learn many new code related skills like writing to file in GML and the save() function. In planning I looked at what goes into a good game, how to make a good business game and features I thought would be interesting.  

Project title: The two sides of Damien Hirst: a double-sided painting and audience response 

Student name: Louise  

Through my EPQ project I created a double-sided painted canvas inspired by the artist, Damien Hirst’s work. Compelled by the gory nature of some of Hirst’s pieces I wanted to explore how one artist could create the two extreme forms of art (horrific and beautiful). By doing this project I formed a better understanding of contrasting art forms and the responses they receive. I chose to focus on Damien Hirst as his work triggered a powerful negative emotional response that I have never felt towards any other artist. 

Project title: Is the USA still a pioneer in frequent flyer programs, or has it never been? 

Student name: Marius 

I choose this project because I was already interested into flying and frequent flyer programs for a long time from a personal perspective and now wanted to use this chance to also have a look at the from a more business focused perspective. The project involved combining the view on frequent flyer programs from a customer perspective, to assess the demands and wants of them, with the business perspective looking at what is the desirable outcome of a frequent flyer program for an airline. 

Project title: Was the sword more significant as a weapon or as a symbol? 

Student name: Matthew 

I chose swords due to my own personal interest in medieval history and because I thought it would be a unique topic to choose that was relevant to my history studies. It involved visiting museums, contacting authors, watching documentaries, acquiring books, and finding articles, all of which helped provide the resources and knowledge to create my EPQ. Due to the niche topic area of my EPQ, I had to spread out my research to find relevant information as I couldn’t find direct results for my question. 

Project title:  A Friend For Dinner: a short film influenced by South Korean cinema 

Student name: Max 

I’ve been fixated on becoming a film director for as long as I can remember, and wanted to work on a large scale, ambitious project that could set high aims for technical proficiency. A friend for dinner is also the first film project I have worked on after my introduction to South Korean cinema, which has now become a large influential factor on how I approach filmmaking, and so I wanted to explore this influence in my film language. This included writing, storyboarding, directing, editing and distributing the film at a screening at the Curzon cinema, as well as a few international film festivals. 

Project title: Was the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement on Fisheries driven by an economic or political agenda? 

Student name: North

92% of fishermen voted to leave the EU in 2016; however, many of them say they regret their decision now. They argue that the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement did not help them economically because of the poor quota. In contrast, the UK government argue otherwise because of the control over the waters. The inconsistency in the arguments led to my speculation that other factors may be heavily involved in the negotiation process, especially when the campaign to leave focuses on ‘taking back control.’ The French government were interested in the situation, and the Jersey incident made me realise the importance of the situation internationally. So, I looked into books and articles written to express the opinions of both the fishing communities and MPs. The more I research on the topic, the more it reveals how politics is important, maybe even more than the local economy of the fishermen, in the pursuit of ‘an independent coastal state.'

Project title: Scottish independence: Background, Challenges, and Future 

Student name: Kuan-Hsun 

British Politics in the 2010s was largely characterised by constitutional disputes; arguably, the two most prominent issues were Scottish independence movements and Brexit, with an unexpected level of similarity to each other. Initially inspired by the findings on Brexit, the author suspected that Scottish independence movement possesses similar characteristics. Therefore, this project aimed to investigate the background, challenges, and future of an independent Scotland, to evaluate the possibility of Scottish independence in the future, and as a comparison to the UK’s exit from the European Union. 

Project title: Humans v. Octopuses: Are humans really the most intelligent species? 

Student name: Sifa  

My EPQ was inspired by the 'My Octopus Teacher' Documentary on Netflix. Peter Godfrey-Smiths book, 'Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness'  

Intelligence is the capacity for perception, learning and memory. In my research I focused on building a comparison from secondary data from intelligence studies, generally only conducted in either humans or the octopus. The actual comparison was comprised from highlighting common elements displayed in theories of intelligence and seeing if they can be located in each organism. My EPQ was divided into the subsections: The General Intelligence(g) Theory, The brain, Processing information (tactile and visual), Learning (development, Spatial, Problem and Social learning, and Problem solving, and Memory. I concluded that humans are more intelligent than octopuses in each organism's current evolutionary state. This may not be the case in the near future following changes in the evolutionary patterns and behaviour of both species. 

Project title: How are brands responding to the issue of Fast Fashion? 

Student name: Sophie Jane    

I have chosen this title as I am interested in the response of the issue of fast fashion from brands. More specifically I have selected 4 specific brands with contrasting attitudes to the issue of fast fashion.   

I have been analysing and critiquing the responses and looking at how brands can improve to reach a more sustainable Model within their business. 

Project title: Herbie – an Arduino-based animatronic 

Student name: Alexander

I chose to make an animatronic dinosaur, because I enjoy making things out of electronic components and other different materials. I also like dinosaurs. I always wanted to work on a project this complicated and interesting, and not only did I learn a lot about how to manage my time and resources, I also acquired a lot of skills like 3D-modelling, fabric work, being able to work with different electronic components like mp3 modules or multiple accelerometers and lots more. 

Project title: Can vaccinia virus therapy improve the efficiency of cancer treatment? 

Student name: Brigita  

I was already quite interested in medicine and in cancer and from previous knowledge I knew that the current treatments of cancer are not sufficient enough. Therefore, I started researching about some new experimental treatments and virotherapy seemed very fascinating and spoke to me. In my EPQ I explored whether vaccinia virotherapy is in fact a better option than the common treatments, such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and what might be the reason behind that. This was done by accessing numerical data from databases and journal articles to find averages and plot graphs with them.   

Project title: To What Extent Does Social Media Use Influence Teenagers’ Daily Life Satisfaction?  

Student name: Anqi  

Having abundant functions and usage, social media has an increasing significance in teenagers’ daily life, over time, the role of social media in the lives of teenagers has become more complex and varied, as an A-level Media Studies student, I’m really keen on finding the impacts cause by social media use on teenager’ subjective well-being. Thus, I decided that my project will investigate teenagers’ first impression on the impacts of social media on their daily satisfaction as well as factors that influence the different levels of well-being impacts. Surveys conducted are aimed in general to analyse the relationship between social media use and life satisfaction of adolescents as well as the effects of social media addiction on teenagers’ daily satisfaction.  

The answers are sought for the following questions: 

Is there a significant relationship between teenagers’ social media use and their daily satisfaction? 

Do influences of social media use vary because of the different levels of reliance (addiction) on social media? 

By referring professional scholars’ projects as well as analysing the results collected from my questionnaires, I concluded media platforms used by teenagers do make a difference on their well-being and daily satisfaction. However, the levels of social media impacts vary because of different reliance that teenagers have in using social media. 

Project title: Is Amazon Beneficial or detrimental to society? 

Student name: William

I decided to do my project on Amazon because I had heard of their gruelling working conditions for fulfilment centre workers and wanted to be able to make better informed decisions when deciding who to purchase from online. My research highlights Amazons impact on 3 different stakeholder groups; Workers, Shareholder and consumers. At the end, I drew a conclusion based bringing together individual conclusions for each group into one final conclusion. 

Project title: Is it possible to make ethical fashion affordable? 

Student name: Imogen 

I chose this title because I have often found myself, when shopping, in a constant conflict between wanting to shop sustainably and be responsible and wanting to shop cheaply. I wanted to find out if ethical fashion is expensive because it needs to be due to the increased costs along the production line, or if it is used as an excuse to increase prices. I had to identify the key issues (social, operational and cultural) within the current fashion market which have led to ethical consumption being relatively hard to achieve, as-well as the key solutions which are beginning to look at fixing this disconnect. 

Project title: What would it take to build a Dyson Sphere? 

Student name: Tommy 

I chose my topic because I have always been a fan of unrealistic seeming science fiction ideas, and though that it would be an interesting idea to take a concept from science fiction and see how we could try and make it in real life. I soon got invested in the idea of a Dyson Sphere (a huge solar collecting structure around the sun) but sadly there were no real deep looks the idea of building a Dyson Sphere past speculation about it briefly and explaining what it was. However, there were still some basic ideas of design and processes of making a Dyson Sphere, though they were still basic. I took it upon myself to go deeper think more about specifics of the construction of a Dyson Sphere, and soon enough I was fully invested in this idea. My project mainly included research into lots of different things that were not related directly to a Dyson Sphere, but related to some part of the construction process such as the manufacturing of solar panels. 

Project title: Should people be obliged to donate their organs after death?

Student name: Thawalrat 
  
I believe that deaths caused by organ scarcity can be prevented if we adopt a better strategy to attract organ donors. I thus chose this topic to discover the best way to minimise these preventable deaths whilst maintaining solid ethical standards, so we can maximise welfare through minimising preventable deaths, without sacrificing our morals.

Project title: Does Godel's Theorem imply truth is subjective? 

Student name: Theo 

I’m interested in the philosophical implications of Godel’s Theorems. This is a field I believe is still not fully explored. My project was a look into this topic to see what questions are worth asking now we understand what Godel means for the foundations of mathematics. From there, I find it worth asking about whether reason, and subsequently truth, is a local, not a global event. 

Project title: How can borderline personality disorder be best explained, using psychological approaches? 

Student name: Trish 

I was fascinated by Dr Moorey et al.’s article about the psychological theories regarding the development of personality disorder, which has led me to write my EPQ on BPD. BPD isn’t just a personality disorder, it is a serious mental disorder that is present in 1-3% of the general population and, clinically, is the most common personality disorder. But what causes it?  

My EPQ is an attempt to answer the question 'How can borderline personality disorder be best explained, using psychological approaches?’. My project mainly involves the investigation of the contributing factors that lead to BPD from the biological, cognitive, psychodynamic and behaviourist perspectives and evaluation of the supporting research, as well as the comparison of the four psychological explanations. Ultimately, I proposed the Multiple-component model of the development of BPD, which is an organisational framework of the development of BPD, derived from mainly my research. 

Want to find out more about EPQs and Academic Enrichment? Visit the link below:

 

EPQs and Academic Enrichment aT d’Overbroeck’s