Depth studies

Science is a noun and also a verb, in other words, a scientist needs to know and comprehend the body of knowledge of science and be able to use various skills to demonstrate science to others.  The practice of science is what initiates discovery and change in our knowledge and understanding of science. Investigating science is in a unique position as it focuses more on the practice of science than any other science unit offered in the HSC in NSW. The following is a summary of the various skills needed to practice the science of any discipline. There are also many other links within each module that will build on your scientific skills.

NESA glossary of key terms used in this subject

A short video about scientific enquiry.

Question:  Looking at the diagram below what parts are represented in the video?

Image from NESA

Each of the seven Working Scientifically outcomes represents one of the interdependent dynamic processes that are central to the study of science and the acquisition of scientific knowledge and skills. This course is structured to provide ongoing opportunities for students to implement these processes, particularly through the depth study provision.

Quick guides and information.

Useful study tools and science tutorial guides

Most of these require a sign up however they are generally free to use.

Quizlet – An online glossary/flashcard builder that helps you revise keywords and practice their spelling and meaning. Free to search and make with some paid extras.

Kahoot!– Kahoot! Is a free game-based learning platform.

CK-12 – a free online resource( with a sign up) that has tutorials and simulations for all levels of science, includes maths as well, bonus.

Khan academy– lookup resources or sign up( free) to go through self- paced tutorials on many subjects including science and maths.

Science buddies- this is geared towards students completing science projects and contains easy to read information about scientific investigations.

Maths is fun– a fairly straightforward online guide/lessons/questions involving areas of maths that you may need to brush up on before undertaking some investigations.

What are depth studies? 

Types of depth studies and guides 

a) Testing a claim or device.

b) Making documentaries and reports.

  • Sleek Geeks is a competition in filmmaking that has some excellent tips. here are some further tips on science communication using media.

c) Conducting a literacy review

d) Evidence-based arguments.

e) Writing a journal article

f) Writing an essay  

g) Environmental management plan fieldwork

h) A scientific report

You may also be required to make a poster of your scientific report to communicate your findings in a succinct manner to the general public.MICROSOFT has a handy template to help you put it together as shown below.


i) Making a working scientific model 

As all these depth studies involve different skills it is important that you become well aware of the way it is assessed. The point of a depth study is to drive your curiosity onto a form of science communication that demonstrates your scientific knowledge and skills.

Sir David Attenborough is an example of a science communicator and has inspired multiple generations. Some more information on him here.

Databases and places to find information including journal articles

Libraries – use your portal links to find relevant information. ind out what resources your school and the library has to offer. Some universities may allow you to use their resources as well.

Use the CRAAP guide to know if what you are reading is reliable and relevant to your research.

Our Local links

Journal databases ( mainly free)

  • List of databases that can be used to find peer-reviewed secondary sourced data
  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. DOAJ is independent. All funding is via donations, 50% of which comes from sponsors and 50% from members and publisher members. All DOAJ services are free of charge including being indexed in DOAJ. All data is freely available.
  • Elsevier- open access journals All articles in open access journals which are published by Elsevier have undergone peer review and upon acceptance are immediately and permanently free for everyone to read and download.
  • Google scholar  and how to use this resource.
  • Free access to online journals called unpaywall
  • PLOS  was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit Open Access publisher, innovator and advocacy organization with a mission to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication.
  • SpringerOpenThe SpringerOpen portfolio has grown tremendously since its launch in 2010, so that we now offer researchers from all areas of science, technology, medicine, the humanities and social sciences a place to publish open access in journals and books. Publishing with SpringerOpen makes your work freely available online for everyone, immediately upon publication, and our high-level peer-review and production processes guarantee the quality and reliability of the work.
  • Wiley Open access Wiley Open Access is a program of fully open access journals. All research articles published in Wiley Open Access journals are immediately freely available to read, download and share. The fully open access journals are published in collaboration with authoritative journals and societies as well as supported by internationally renowned editorial board members
  • Free online resources for secondary schools: Science & Technology
  • Open access journals database from the Univesity of Western Australia

Other general resources- get inspired

image link

  • Datasets for a research project
  • Big History project.  Big History examines our past, explains our present, and imagines our future. It’s a story about us. An idea that arose from a desire to go beyond specialized and self-contained fields of study to grasp history as a whole. This growing, multi-disciplinary approach is focused on high school students, yet designed for anyone seeking answers to the big questions about the history of our Universe. The Big History Project is a joint effort between teachers, scholars, scientists, and their supporters to bring a multi-disciplinary approach to knowledge to lifelong learners around the world.
  • ABC Education brings you free educational resources for Primary and Secondary students – thousands of videos, games and programs.
  • NOVA Find accurate and up-to-date information on a wide range of scientific issues on Nova: science for curious minds, the Academy’s outreach website for a general audience. It is beautiful to look at, engaging, user-friendly and accessible to people of all abilities. But above all, it is accurate, topical and relevant to anyone with an interest in how science and the modern world intersect. Nova is reviewed by Australia’s top scientists. Its range of topics is expanding and new features are being developed. Are you curious?
  • environmental science ideas The Woodside Australian Science Project (WASP) produces support packages for the Earth Science component of the Australian Curriculum. These packages are filled with hands-on activities for students, with teacher support materials. Teacher professional development sessions can be requested by Western Australian teachers.
  • Science by doing This site requires a free login and links to the Australian Curriculum year 7-10 syllabus, however, there are some fantastic resources and ideas that can be used in Depth studies.
  • Science Learning Hub. This page is based on the New Zealand science syllabus and has a wide variety of resources form all areas of science from beginning to advanced. It includes interviews with many scientists and information about various scientific ideas.
  • Science buddies- A personal favourite of mine.It includes hands-on science resources for home and school and hundreds of amazing resources covering scientific method and science projects from many disciplines and levels. Most resources are free to use without a sign in. Signing up is free and lets you explore even more resources.Great for all levels.
  • Australia Academy of Sciences The Australian Academy of Science provides independent, authoritative and influential scientific advice, promotes international scientific engagement, builds public awareness and understanding of science, and champions, celebrates and supports excellence in Australian science.

Resources for generating enquiry questions

  • Energy resources assignment by STELR  A nice research assessment on energy types that could form a part of a depth study. Here is also a  youtube channel that is dedicated to these resources as well.
  • PhET Founded in 2002 by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery.
  • Projects ideas and resources for fair tests from Science Buddies website
  • NESA
  • Through Our Eyes- Indigenous cultural knowledge project“ Through Our Eyes: Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge: Past, Present and Future”, is an innovative project that shares the traditional ecological knowledge of elders and their communities throughout the Western NSW Catchment.
  • Evidence-based writing scaffolds
  • Higher level project design and data analysis Competitions, awards, and using rubrics.
  • Young scientist awards This site also contains excellent rubrics that can be used to assess various projects. Use this link rubrics to get to the rubric page directly. There will also be a new award specifically for rural students in 2017/8. More to come soon.
  • CREST award This requires the school to register annually and it comes with excellent resources and templates.
  • Science competition Griffith University is open to all ages and allows students to submit projects on various platforms. Each type contains a basic marking scheme that can be adapted for a depth study.
  • Sleek-geek competition A national science film competition for Primary and Secondary school students
  • Sunflower growing competition by UQ   The University of Queensland’s Sunflower Competition is designed to inspire current science students to become the next generation of plant and agricultural scientists and support teachers to deliver their science curriculum in a plant-based context. The competition provides an interactive learning opportunity with school-based experiments and an optional day of workshops and awards at the UQ Gatton campus.
  • NESA related assessment task ideas with marking schemes and rubrics. These can be modified to suit individual student needs.
  • The BHP Billiton Foundation Science and Engineering Awards are Australia’s most prestigious school science and engineering awards. The awards are a partnership between CSIRO, BHP Billiton Foundation and the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA).
  • Skills needed to do depth studies