AP Research


Course Overview

AP Research, the second course in the AP Capstone experience, allows students to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, issue, or idea of individual interest. Students design, plan, and implement a yearlong investigation to address a research question. Through this inquiry, they further the skills they acquired in the AP Seminar course by learning research methodology, employing ethical research practices, and accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information.


Students reflect on their skill development, document their processes, and curate the artifacts of their scholarly work through a process and reflection portfolio. The course culminates in an academic paper of 4,000–5,000 words (accompanied by a performance, exhibit, or product where applicable) and a presentation with an oral defense.

Studying in the Library

Course Calendar


Readings and Resources


AP Research Inquiry Flowchart

AP Research Academic Paper Map

Research Strategies: From Google Searches to Navigating Databases

CRAAP Method for Evaluating Sources

How to Write a Problem Statement

Transforming Problem Statements to Research Questions

Annotated Bibliographies for AP Research

How to Write a Literature Review

Aligning Your Research Approach, Method, and Design


"The Nature of Research" (based on Leedy & Ormond, 2015)

"Disciplinary Areas of Knowledge" (based on Dombrowski, Rotenberg & Beck, 2013)

"Ethical Issues in Research" (based on Leedy & Ormond, 2015)

Holding Books

About the AP Exam

Unlike most AP courses, a student’s final score for AP Research is determined by work completed throughout the year. There is no end of course exam for AP Research. Instead, a student's score is based on an academic paper, a multimedia presentation, and an oral defense.


Course Policies

(1) General Expectations for Student Behavior.

I keep the door locked to prevent disruptions, so make sure you arrive on time, put your cell phones on silent, and take out your notes/handouts before the start of the period. Consistent lateness and/or frequent reminders to get ready by the start of the period will lower your work habits grade. I’m fine with you eating or drinking in my classroom so long as it doesn’t distract you or your classmates, and so long as you tidy up when you are done.


(2) Absences and Late Work.

You are responsible for completing all assigned work for this course. If you are absent, consult the course’s online calendar and/or get in touch with a friend to see what you must make-up. Academic grades in this course are determined by the quality of a student’s work, not their work habits. Students who submit work after the posted deadline will not receive a lesser score on that assignment; timeliness will be reflected in the student’s Work Habits grade instead. To prevent students from falling behind and feeling overwhelmed, however, late work should be submitted within three days after the posted deadline. Exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.


(3) Re-assessment and Resubmission.

Research is a recursive process and I expect that students will want to resubmit work in light of feedback. Students who have not scored a 3 or 4 on an assessment are encouraged to retake/resubmit for a higher score. To retake or resubmit an assessment, you must schedule a retake or make a resubmission within two weeks of the work being returned to you. No retakes will be allowed during Finals Week. A student may only retake or resubmit an assessment if they complete the Assessment Retake/Resubmission Form available on Schoology. This form requires students to (a) meet with their teacher, (b) complete a reflection about the assessment and (c) complete additional review/practice.


(4) Peer and Teacher Feedback.

I will provide numerous opportunities for you to receive feedback over the course of the semester—in fact, you and I will be expected to meet at least once a week for student-led conferences based on your PREP. But remember: due to rules outlined in the AP Research Course and Exam Description (2017), teachers and expert advisers cannot “write, revise, amend, or correct student work,” nor should they “provide unsolicited help” (pp.50-52). And so, it will be up to you to seek feedback, and it will be up to your peers to give you specific, directive advice on your academic paper and/or multimedia presentation.


(5) Cheating and Plagiarism.

Learning is a shared activity, and during class discussions I encourage you to record each other’s ideas and use them in your writing. That said, I do not tolerate academic dishonesty. Any student caught cheating or found guilty of plagiarism will receive a fail for the assignment with no possibility for make-up, as well as a drop in their final grade. The College Board has also established the following policy on plagiarism and fabrication or falsification of information, to which all students in AP Capstone must adhere:


AP Capstone Policy on Plagiarism: “A student who fails to acknowledge the source or author of any and all information or evidence taken from the work of someone else through citation, attribution or reference in the body of the work, or through a bibliographic entry, will receive a score of 0 on that particular component of the AP Seminar and/or AP Research Performance Task. In AP Seminar, a team of students that fails to properly acknowledge sources or authors on the Team Multimedia Presentation will receive a group score of 0 for that component of the Team Project and Presentation.”


AP Capstone Policy on Fabrication or Falsification of Information: A student who incorporates falsified or fabricated information (e.g. evidence, data, sources, and/or authors) will receive a score of 0 on that particular component of the AP Seminar and/or AP Research Performance Task. In AP Seminar, a team of students that incorporates falsified or fabricated information in the Team Multimedia Presentation will receive a group score of 0 for that component of the Team Project and Presentation. 

(6) Work Habits and Cooperation.

Work habits grades are based on consistently coming to class prepared and on time, as well as consistently submitting assessments by the due date. Cooperation grades are based on your conduct in class. Violations of the policies and procedures outlined in this syllabus, as will any display of extremely rude or disrespectful behavior, will result in lowered work habits and corporation grades. Please note: I will not write letters of recommendation for any student who has earned a U in cooperation in one of my classes.


(7) Communication.

There are numerous ways to get in touch with me. You can always ask me a question before or after class; you can call the school office, or leave a note in my box in the main office; and you can reach me electronically via email, Schoology, or the Grant High School website. Please note that while I always respond to emails, I rarely check them after 7pm, so please allow for up to 36 hours for a response, especially on weekends. Emails inquiring about specific grades are never answered; schedule a meeting or see me during office hours to discuss your performance on a specific assignment.


Portfolio-Based Grading

More information coming soon!

Elements of Process and Reflection Portfolio (PREP)

  1. Completed and Approved Inquiry Proposal Form

  2. Documentation of Research (including subfolders for the annotated bibliography and associated sources, data collected/assembled, draft versions of the academic paper, and notes in preparation for the presentation and oral defense)​​

  3. Documentation of Permissions Received

  4. Documentation of Log of Interactions with Expert Adviser(s)

  5. Peer Feedback Forms

  6. Reflective Journal Entries

  7. Signed Attestation of AP Capstone Policy on Plagiarism and Falsification or Fabrication of Information