Advanced Placement (AP) Research Course


School of the Nations is one of three international schools in Brazil and more than 300 schools worldwide to implement AP Capstone — an innovate diploma program from the College Board that allows high school students to develop analytical and creative thinking skills necessary for college success.

The AP Research is the second course in the AP Capstone program. In AP Research, students cultivate the skills and discipline necessary to conduct independent research to produce and defend a scholarly academic thesis. AP Research began in 2016-17 with students in Grade 12.

While students work with an expert advisor, they explore an academic topic, problem, or issue that interests them and then design, plan, and conduct a yearlong research-based investigation to address it.

The course results in an academic paper of 4,000 – 5,000 words and a presentation accompanied by an oral defense, during which students must answer questions from a panel of evaluators.

This year, some of the topics and the corresponding fields in which students are doing research include:

  • Architecture — What are the effects of architecture and technology on public education?

  • Psychology — the influence of the unconscious on decision-making; the influence of music on the income of young people.

  • Education — the relationship between grades and behavior.

  • Media — the media’s impact on our perception of beauty.

  • Sociology — the influence of the Drag Queen on gender equality; public security and social prejudice.

  • Sports — gender inequality in sports; the development of basketball in Brazil.

  • Medicine — What is the impact on the family of someone who has suffered an ischemic stroke?

Senior, Nicolas Hayston, who wants to study Psychology at an international college, chose to research the impact on the family of someone who has suffered an ischemic stroke. After more consideration he decided to study the psychological impact that isolation, because of the neurological problems that accompany an ischemic stroke, had on a person who suffered the stroke. Nicolas said he was inspired to do his research by a personal experience and that as a child he always wanted to know how this person felt and what really happened to her. Nicolas is talking with psychologists and specialists to help him do his research.

Questioned about the importance of the AP Research course, Nicolas said it is important for students because it helps them organize their thoughts and present their ideas persuasively. In AP Research, students can conduct research on a topic of interest they choose. They decide who to interview, what information to research, analyze the results of their research, and draw conclusions about them. The skills they develop will help them in the future in college because they learn to do research, develop logical arguments, and defend their conclusions orally.

AP Seminar is a prerequisite of AP Research. If a student earns scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four more AP Exams of their choosing, they receive the AP Capstone Diploma. This signifies outstanding academic achievement and the attainment of college-level academic and research skills. Alternatively, if the student earns scores of 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research only, he or she receives the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.


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