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AP Research – Definition and Achieve Success

Nov 12, 2022

AP Research is a multidisciplinary course that inspires learners to exhibit their capacity for critical analysis and academic research on a chosen subject. The College Board has introduced the AP Research course as a new component in its AP Capstone program. But what exactly does it entail? How do you succeed?

This article will explain to you about AP Research and more details on whether you should enrol and how to do well in the course.


What is AP Research?

Students enrolling in the AP Capstone program take AP Research as their second course. It follows the AP Seminar. You can obtain an AP Research and Seminar Certificate by enrolling in AP Seminar and AP Research. You can also obtain an AP Capstone Diploma by enrolling in classes and four additional AP courses and tests. Although the College Board recently released the full version of this program in autumn 2014, you will probably benefit from it when applying to colleges since they can see the challenging assignments you have completed in these programmes that emphasise research.

So, what is AP Research? Students are invited to investigate a topic or issue that inspires them in AP Research and, accordingly, plan, organise, and carry out research around it. The course reflects the fruition of the abilities students gain in AP Seminar, including skillfully assessing sources, creating persuasive arguments supported by evidence, and looking at problems from several perspectives. By completing smaller research assignments in AP Seminar, you will be better prepared for the extensive research study you will be conducting in AP Research.


Is AP Research Hard? What will I do about it?

The sole component of AP Research is a year-long research study. The final output is a 4000–5000 word academic paper and a 15–20 minute verbal defence. Additionally, you will be required to create a portfolio of the resources you used for your research. This activity is a wonderful practice for college coursework because it resembles a thesis project. 

The study project’s topics are typically rather open-ended. However, the main emphasis is typically on the arguments for and against societally significant remedies. For instance, you might consider whether the government should invest more funds in locating and promoting renewable energy sources.


Under AP Research, you will be required to:

  • Discuss and conceptualise your research question and your preliminary ideas and theories about it. Your research topic is, “Should the government invest more money in sustainable energy projects?” Before beginning any new studies and research, you must consider and examine the question and share your viewpoints.
  • Review your previous theories, writings, arguments, and viewpoints on the topic. After that, examine the arguments in favour of and against implementing laws to encourage the use of renewable energy. The foundation for your arguments will be laid out in subsequent sections.
  • Elaborate on your research strategy and the reasoning behind how you came to this decision. This section will cover the process you used to gather sources for your study and how you gathered the data. It gives your argument in the following part more weight.
  • Describe your findings and explain how they relate to your research topic. This section will present your case using the proof you found during your study. For instance, your reasoning may argue that we should invest more money in sustainable energy projects since the long-term effects of relying on non-renewable sources of energy will be disastrous. You can also use your previous research to support this claim.
  • Talk about the consequences and restrictions of your observations while considering the procedure. Any qualifications to your argument in the preceding section should be discussed here. You will discuss those potential restrictions if you weren’t certain of a conclusion you came to or if there is some degree of conjecture involved. You would also discuss the implications of your observations in a wider context.
  • Discuss a course of action for the issue in light of these results. It is essentially the “so what?” section. Here, you will outline your suggestions for the practical actions that the world might adopt in light of your findings. In the given scenario, this might entail higher tax breaks for companies using renewable energy sources or a targeted reallocation of funds in the government budget to support more clean energy initiatives.
  • Give a thorough bibliography. It’s quite obvious what this means. You must properly cite your resources and ensure that they are reliable.

After submitting your paper, you will also present your study in whatever medium works best for the board members (teachers) for 15-20 minutes. After you submit your observations, you will be required to defend them. You will be asked four to five questions regarding your work by your AP Research professor and two panellists, and you will be expected to provide answers based on your investigation.


Should I Pursue AP Research or Not?

First, you can only enrol in AP Research after passing the AP Seminar. If you want to pursue AP Research, carefully schedule your classes. If you want to receive the Seminar Certificate, AP Research, or AP Capstone Diploma, you must take this course. Also, students must remember that they must take four AP classes and examinations further to achieve the Capstone Diploma.

Some universities may give you credit or scholarships for taking these courses, or let you skip the prerequisite introductory courses that other students must take. It may ease your burden a little throughout your first year.


If you enrol in AP Research, you’ll also be more academically ready for college. You will be accustomed to gathering and applying information to build a viewpoint on a topic. You’ll understand what to do when given your first research report.

Apart from these advantages, AP Research can be an enjoyable method to learn more about a subject that interests you. You’ll have a tonne of choice in selecting your subject, so you can investigate virtually any concept that you find intriguing. Students who want to enrol in competitive college programmes and add independent research to their high school education may consider taking an AP Research course. 


How do you achieve success in AP Research?

Avoiding getting behind is the most crucial rule for succeeding in AP Research! You must be vigilant about remaining on topic throughout the year because your entire grade depends on one lengthy project.

Before you begin writing any of your paper’s sections, complete all of your research. It is challenging to make a coherent argument when discussing each element individually as you go into the discussion. Thus, it’s better to gather all the data first, formulate an argument based on the data, and then begin organising your work around that argument.


You should be adaptable and recognise that your research question may necessitate being restated. You never know what roadblocks you could encounter or how your project might need to adapt as you gain more knowledge about your subject. Starting your research is the best approach to preparing for these eventualities.

Last but not least, pick a study topic that interests you. Working on a research assignment for an entire year can become tiresome. Discuss your hobbies with your teacher so that you may come up with a solid research topic that will keep you interested.


After AP Seminar, AP Research is the second course in the AP Capstone curriculum. It resembles an independent study course in that it consists solely of a one-year research project on your chosen subject. You must prepare a research paper summarising all your findings, following an oral presentation and a verbal argument defence.

For students who desire to be well-equipped for work at the college level, AP Research can be a helpful class. It’s a terrific approach to develop your abilities to conduct the research efficiently and create arguments backed up by evidence. It could also be a welcome respite from your other classes due to the degree of independence it offers students. It’s a chance to understand more about almost any subject or query that interests you! 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How does AP Research work?

Ans. Students have the opportunity to thoroughly investigate a subject of academic interest through AP Research. Under this, students develop year-long research-based investigations. They plan and implement their research to answer the questions coming up in the research work. 

2. How does one achieve a five on AP Research?

Ans. Students can achieve a five on AP Research by following:

  •  Recognise the exam’s structure.
  • Solve multiple sample papers to get a sense of what is expected.
  • View earlier AP Research lectures.
  • Consider long-term work.
  • Perform periodic reviews of the literature.
  • Stay on track, and create a framework and timetable that are both apparent.
  • Look for a knowledgeable counsellor.

3. Can you do AP Research independently?

Ans. Yes, you can independently study for an AP exam whether you’ve been homeschooled, in middle school, or just like independent studying. But self-studying for an AP exam requires initiative at the beginning of the academic year. Thus, start your preparations from day one to excel in your exams. 

AP Research


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