Independent research is an educational activity done by students who wish to fully investigate a topic they are interested in. If you are wondering if a high school student can do independent research, the answer is a BIG YES! In fact, high school students can benefit the most from conducting independent research.
Aside from fostering critical thinking skills, research projects can deliver educationally fulfilling moments. Here at Pioneer Academics, we provide undergraduate-level research opportunities for talented, intellectually motivated high school students from around the world. Our students participate in research involving STEM, social sciences, and humanities.
Are you a high school student interested in pursuing independent research? Here are some details and tips to help you get started.
Why Should a High School Student Pursue an Independent Research Project?
High school students may pursue an independent research project to help them explore an area of interest. Writing an in-depth research paper can help students realize the education and career path they want to pursue. Additionally, high school students who complete independent research projects:
- Gain knowledge and critical thinking skills
- Improve reading comprehension and understanding
- Have a deeper understanding of the field they are interested in
- Improve written communications skills
- Build confidence and independence in their personal abilities
- Improve interpersonal skills through collaboration
Conducting research can also be fun and informative, but it is also no walk in the park. It will take time, dedication, and a lot of work unlike other high school extracurricular activities. You will be challenged academically, but the experience of completing a research project will also help condition and prepare you for the academic rigor found at many colleges and universities.
What Are The Steps to Consider When Completing an Independent Research Project?
According to the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, a research project is an educational activity for students who want to enhance their research skills. Consider a research project as a scientific endeavor to answer a question the student is most interested in. An independent project is meant to be completed individually.
Writing a full-length research paper has plenty of benefits for a high school student. When an independent study is conducted appropriately, it demonstrates college readiness with academic institutions and can be a doorway to better academic or career opportunities. However, there are several important steps to think about.
If you have no idea where to start, you should enlist help. A qualified mentor, such as a high school teacher or a college or university professor, can help guide you through the research process and advise you along the way. Mentors can inspire you with insight into a specific research direction, how to do it, and other factors to consider.
Pioneer’s Academic System features the qualification of its mentors. Students gain access to faculty mentors who support students through an apprentice model. Pioneer qualifies its mentoring faculty based on academics and passion for teaching. Faculty mentors are employed at nationally recognized colleges and universities, including:
- Davidson College
- Johns Hopkins University
- Princeton University
- Northwestern University
- University of Pennsylvania
- Vassar College
With the help of faculty mentors, our students explore research areas of interest while connecting new information with prior knowledge.
Develop the right topic
Every successful research project starts with a well-defined research topic. Students should think long and hard about the subjects they are truly interested in. Do your research, gather your thoughts, and consider your options. You should also obtain feedback from your mentor regarding potential research topics.
Set a timeline
Just like any project, students should have a timeline that they stick to. Break down your schedule into weekly targets and try to achieve them to avoid getting overwhelmed. Independent research projects involve doing background research, analyzing data and insights, writing a thesis statement, producing an outline, and drafting, editing, and publishing a paper.
Do your research and gather information
Independently researching a project can be a tedious, time-consuming process. Start by taking note of the important information you will need to find. Locating reliable, accurate, and reputable sources is important, so you may want to consider researching libraries and using academic sources available online.
For example, Google Scholar is a reliable online research tool where you can find peer-reviewed academic publications. Who knows? One day, your research could be published there, too.
Write, edit, improve, and publish your paper among ways of sharing findings
Once you have all the pertinent information, it is time to write your paper. Research papers should be written in an academic style and tone. This is one area where your mentor can advise you. Most importantly, be sure to edit and proofread your work. After your paper is complete and you have received feedback, you can look into publishing your paper as a way to share your findings.
How Do I Choose a Topic for a Research Project?
As mentioned, every successful research project starts with a well-defined topic. Forming the right topic for you is one of the most important steps you can make. So, how do you find the right topic, and what criteria should you consider? Here are some things to think about before selecting a topic.
What topic am I most interested in?
Consider what you are passionate about. What field of study do you want to learn more about? The topic possibilities you choose should challenge you academically. Avoid picking a topic that you already know well. The research experience should be one of exploration and discovery.
What is the significance of this study?
Why is your research subject important? You should be able to justify why your research is needed and how it can impact your field of study and the world around you.
What is the scope of this study?
Scope refers to the boundaries or limitations of the research project to be conducted. What are the aspects to be considered? Explore the parameters in which the study will operate, and give your readers insight into what they can expect from your research.
Are there enough resources available to conduct the research process?
Is there enough information available to do your research on the topic? Are free resources accessible? Aside from the source of information, students should consider their financial resources, their access to research sites, and any other resources that will be needed to complete their research project.
What Are Some Examples of Independent Research Project Ideas?
Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of how to choose a research topic, you may ask yourself, what are some examples of independent research project ideas?
Check out these in-depth research papers from Pioneer scholars featured in The Pioneer Research Journal of 2021:
- Film’s Portrayal of Mental Illness and Violence: Schizophrenia, DID, and PTSD (Media Studies) by Brian Nguyen from Chicago.
- Myanmar Risk Analysis: McDonald’s Case Study (International Relations) by Catherine He from St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
- Using Networks and Supervised Machine Learning To Analyze and Predict the Results of Team Sports Games (Computer Science) by David Li from Sugar Land, Texas.
- Effectiveness of Virtual Reality in Restoring Arm Function Following Stroke (Biology/Neuroscience) by Kenedy Quandt from Chatsworth, Calif.
- Migration’s Effect on the Sending Country: The Case of Poland (Economics) by Ziyu Zhou from Huizhou, China.
There are lots of additional research papers selected and published by high school students in Pioneer’s research journals to draw inspiration from. With research areas ranging from education, history, and political science to business, environmental studies, and physics, you can explore a variety of different topics and decide which ones interest you the most.
Independent Research Projects With Pioneer Academics
Are you ready to advance your education through independent research? If so, let Pioneer Academics help guide you. Pioneer offers the only fully-accredited online research program for high school students.
How to Apply for a Research Program With Pioneer Academics?
Pioneer’s admission process is completed entirely online. We accept applications for the spring-through-summer and summer-only terms starting in August of the previous year. Here are steps on how to apply to the program.
Online information session
Learn more about our research program and how to apply at our weekly online information sessions. Students are strongly encouraged to attend a session before applying as this indicates to the admissions team that they have a clear understanding of the program.
Submit an application consisting of personal and academic information, detail on extracurricular activities, and both short and long essays.
Applications go through an initial screening before moving on to the interview round. In the initial screening stage, applicants should prepare their transcripts and standardized test scores (if available).
Once an applicant passes their initial screening, they will need to attend an interview via video conference. Applicants should also expect a timed writing test during this stage of the admission process.
Application under review
After the interview, a student’s entire application will be reviewed. Feedback from a teacher or school counselor will also be gathered. The admission cycle is six to eight weeks long, so be patient.
Learn More Today
Register now for an online information session to determine if an independent research project is right for you.