EPQ Session – 20th January 2017

Focusing my EPQ.


Extended Projects are assessed on 5 central thinking skills:

  • Describe: providing detail about something through your essay
  • Analyse: studying different elements. You must be able to split a topic up into parts, compare components, consider varying perspectives or viewpoints, assess evidence, and come to conclusions
  • Synthesise: join contrasting ideas to make new combinations and solve new problems
  • Apply: using an idea to achieve a certain outcomeg. a theory can be used to explain evidence, a technique is used to produce a result. A form of synthesis.
  • Evaluate: use evidence to make judgements; assess effectiveness and/or quality



These thinking skills occur in the logical order that they are listed above. You must describe to analyse, and analyse to synthesise, so on so forth.




My topic: Dystopian Literature – specifically how Dystopian literature ties in with contemporary society.


Can I give an answer to these questions? If not, RESEARCH.


Descriptive Questions:

  1. How can dystopias be categorised?
    • Dystopias can be classified as classic or modern.*
  2. What is the history of the dystopian genre?
    • ? *
  3. How has the dystopian genre developed over the past century?
    • ? *
  4. What does my poll show?
    • ?*
  5. What are the conventions of dystopian literature?
    • ?*


Analytical Questions:

  1. What evidence can we establish for the link between existing dystopias and society at their times of publication?
    1. One example is Orwell’s 1984, written in 1949 just 4 years after the end of World War 2. Therefore, the novel can be interpreted as an allegory for post-war institutions and their power over society. (Research further, including the archetypal Allegory of the Cave) *
  2. How are modern dystopias different from classic dystopias?
    1. Whilst many classic dystopias, such as 1984, centre around the fear of being watched, many modern dystopias are based on dangerous advances in technology and artificial intelligence taking over the world. (Further differences could be tracked using a timeline) *
  3. What conclusions can we come to about modern society from my poll results?
    1. Unable to answer until poll results are collected
  4. What are the factors that influence my poll?
    1. Need poll
  5. Who is responsible for the societal issues of today?
    1. There is no set individual responsible for today’s most pressing societal issues; those such as homophobia, racism and sexism can be tracked years through history, leading me to suggest that our ancestors are at least partially to blame. Each generation that passes has the chance to eradicate negative stigmas by educating their children, and so with each passing generation comes a new direction in which to point the finger towards. However, a huge responsibility to educate the world lies with the ever-growing network of celebrities. Big household names and skilled writers, journalists and filmmakers, to name a few, are also responsible for fuelling the fire of injustice and inequality. (Perhaps write all my ideas up) *


Questions for synthesis/application:

  1. How do my poll results combine with existing modern dystopias?
    1. Need poll
  2. What is the likely impact of action research on a dystopian synopsis?
    1. It is likely that the use of action research will tailor the plot to be more relatable for those who responded, meaning that the more diverse the participants, the wider the target audience for the dystopia will be. By creating a plot that an audience can relate to, they will automatically feel more emotionally attached to the protagonist and so will feel more heavily affected by the story.
  3. What would happen to the protagonist if I created a closeness between them and the antagonist?
    1. That is heavily dependent on the synopsis, though there are two likely outcomes:
      1. The protagonist is able to learn of the antagonist’s schemes and weaknesses, making it easier for the protagonist to defeat them
      2. The protagonist is found out to be against the antagonist and is captured


A third outcome could be that the protagonist warms to the antagonist, beginning to see sense in their actions and, effectively, defecting. This would, in my opinion, be an intelligent ending to a dystopian narrative as it accentuates the sheer power that high-status individuals have, proving to be disturbing. In a world of literature in which the death rate of protagonists is increasing at an alarming rate, perhaps defection or brain-wash could be considered an even worse fate.


  1. What techniques could be used to represent modern society within a dystopia?
    1. Allegory and metaphor will be key to the entire novella, however more discrete literary techniques such as pathetic fallacy, imagery and symbolism could be used to create a more deep-socketed representation of modern society.
  2. How does tragedy combine with dystopia?
    1. Tragic and dystopian literature are linked in the sense that both are based on downfall. In traditional tragic literature, the audience is faced with the downfall of a (usually) high-status character, often ending in said character’s demise. The foundation of a dystopia is the clear downfall of society, from how it is in its current state to how the story represents it in the distant future. Therefore, a combination of tragedy and dystopia would inevitably lead to a clear set of morals: if this doesn’t change (or if you as an individual don’t change), this will be the effect on society in the future. Effectively, this is how your descendants will suffer.


Evaluative questions:

  1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using action research to create a novel?
    1. Advantages: the result will be more relatable for the audience; the morals will be personalized to the reader; the end result should be more enjoyable for the participants of the survey
    2. Disadvantages: the participants of the survey may not be diverse enough for an accurate portrayal of society; the readers may have higher expectations and may enjoy the novella less if it does not precisely fit their personal desire
  2. Is modern dystopia better than classic dystopia?
    1. That is solely dependent on the audience, the writer, and the plot
  3. How might my poll questions be improved?
    1. (Depending on the results) Ask more open questions *
  4. Is a fictional setting fit for the purpose of my novel?
    1. A fictional setting would allow me to be completely free with my plot and the historical context I include, however it would be more effective to create a future setting based on an existing location, e.g. England in the year 3000. This would allow my readers to feel physically connected to the plot, creating more emotion and stronger morals.
  5. What are the advantages/disadvantages of different modes of publication?
    1. Online publication (e.g. ebooks): whilst publishing the novella online would allow it to be accessed by a considerably large, virtual audience, many readers do not like to read off a screen and much prefer a physical copy. This would likely lead to a decrease in my audience, limiting the effectiveness of the moral which is the sole purpose of a dystopia besides the need to entertain.
    2. Physical publication: whilst this would enable readers to have a physical copy of the novella, allowing them to easily refer to different pages, publishing a book of any kind costs money and involves a long editing process, which would be difficult to achieve within the timescale of the EPQ.
    3. Hand-printed copy: Whilst this is far cheaper and (arguably) less time consuming than physical publication through an existing publishing firm, simply printing out the novella would be less professional and eliminates the possibility of copyrighting my work.


The best way to find the most appropriate publishing method would be to ask my audience as part of the survey. I can assume that the method with the majority vote is that which would be most preferable for my audience – though of course I would need to take into consideration whether the chosen method is achievable.



  • Research:
    • The history of the dystopian genre – timeline
    • Codes and conventions of dystopian literature
    • How existing dystopias link to historical context
    • Allegory of the Cave
    • Publication methods
  • Survey
  • QUESTION: Who is responsible for the societal issues of today?

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