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AP Research students begin collecting data for capstone projects

Phil+Weiser+%28staff%29+begins+his+class+by+lecturing+students+on+the+classwork+they+will+be+completing.+Students+in+AP+Research+are+working+on+graduate-level+research+projects+that+will+be+sent+to+College+Board+in+May.
Oliver Bilotte
Phil Weiser (staff) begins his class by lecturing students on the classwork they will be completing. Students in AP Research are working on graduate-level research projects that will be sent to College Board in May.

With the second semester starting, AP Research students set about gathering data for their year-long research paper. This is Phil Weiser’s (staff) first year teaching the class but he has taught AP Seminar and AP U.S. History for multiple years now.

In AP Research students research a certain topic of their choice and gather independent data to come to their own conclusion rather than using other researchers’ work as evidence. “What that essentially means is they are not just researching what other people have learned. They’re going out and creating their own new understanding of some phenomenon,” Weiser said.

For example, Jackson Wall (11), a student in AP Research, is researching how social media affects teenagers’ financial decisions. “I plan on collecting that information through in-depth surveys. That should be pretty simple for the students to fill out,” Wall said.

Students Jackson Wall (11) and Gary Jones (11) work on their survey forms. These forms will be sent out to other students to collect their data. (Oliver Bilotte)

Classmate Kara Haj (11) is researching genetic technology. Haj explained, “I had limited tools. I couldn’t go and actually experiment with it. So I’m looking at the perspective of the future perspective of longevity technologies and the increase of population and specifically …. what effect that could have on the economy and the environment.”

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For students to go out and collect their information they need to first get their research approved by the school. Wall explained, “We have a research board … Mr. Copher and a few other staff members at our school. And they are just helping us make sure that we’re conducting ethical research.”

This approval usually comes in the shape of consent forms. Wall said, “For our level of research, it’s pretty simple stuff. Just making sure you have consent of the people who are doing your stuff. A disclaimer. They know everything.”

These consent forms can vary greatly depending on what the topic is that the student is researching. “Some of them simply need to make sure that people are informed on the research process and what they will be asked .… Other instances will actually have to have parents sign waivers saying that they can participate in this,” Weiser said.

Both AP Research and its prerequisite, AP Seminar, prepare students for post-secondary education. “It prepares kids for what they will be asked to do at a university level … the skills the kids are working on and the research they’re doing in there is stuff that I didn’t even do until I got into graduate school. Now college has changed a lot since I graduated, but it’s an effort to kind of prepare them for that much higher level of learning that they’ll do in college,” Weiser said.

These classes not only give students the skills they need for the higher level academics, but they also let students try conducting their own learning. Wall explained, “Usually school work is you’re being told to do something and then you do it. But this is, you’re in control of everything.”

AP Research students will continue working on their projects, send out data collection soon and begin to write their actual papers that will be graded by College Board in May.

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Oliver Bilotte
Oliver Bilotte, Reporter
Oliver Bilotte is a sophomore at Windsor High School who wishes to pursue a career in computer science. He enjoys playing video games and listening to music.
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