Many chemistry students now have the opportunity to do their own open-ended investigation or research at A-level, whether it is something they do as part of lessons, as an extracurricular activity or during a research placement. Doing your own chemistry research gives you the chance to apply the chemistry you have learnt about already, or to dig into areas beyond the exam specification. It also gives you the opportunity to learn about how chemistry really works, requiring not just a hands-on but also a ‘minds-on’ approach to practical work.
Science education research at the University of York has found that A-level students are perfectly capable of thinking like scientists. They can create a research question from a broad topic and design a study to answer it, work within a theoretical framework, make an argument supported with evidence, produce conclusions that deal with concepts (not just facts) and enter dialogues with experts.
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