After exploring the selection of a good topic and what qualities you need for a successful EPQ, we have finally begun discussing the content of the project. Part three in this eight part series dealt with the all-important 5,000-word essay, or product/artefact, which is the culmination of your arduous and careful research process.

In this piece, we are looking at another critical element of the EPQ — the production log.

What is the production log?

The production log is a 15-page document in which you record your journey through the EPQs. Each page contains different content, some of which is to be filled out by you, some by your project supervisor, and some parts by the EPQ coordinator of your school.

All parts of the production log must be completed on time, and the document serves as a critical piece of your overall submission. This is no mere “supplementary” paper; it’s just as much a part of your EPQ as your essay/product or presentation.

The EPQ is what is known as a “process-based qualification,” which means that the process you undergo to create the final product is equally vital in standing, and just as much a part of the assessment as the essay you write or artefact you create.

What does the production log contain?

As I mention above, there are fifteen pages, each with a different bit of content. Below we’ve listed the pages with a simple explanation. You can find more detail on each page here. Please note that this example is for the AQA exam board.

  • Page 1: Candidate Record Form – Confirms your identity and that the work you’re submitting is your own.
  • Page 2: Submission Checklist – An aide-memoire for the supervisor to ensure candidates have finished all they should have done before submitting the piece.
  • Page 3: Record of Marks – Here, your scores will be recorded and final comments offered by the project supervisors.
  • Page 4: Contents – This is completed by you, and contains a list of the various sections you’re completing. It’s designed so that you can give a working title initially, and then space for the final title after the tweaking you may have done during research.
  • Page 5: Record of Initial Planning – This is where you brainstorm your initial ideas to kick off the process. If you have further brainstorming, it’s possible to add these pages in. You should know that you have to show in your notes the reasoning you have for favouring specific ideas over others.
  • Page 6: Project Proposal Part A – A clear and detailed account of the research that you plan to undertake. You will need to do better than just saying “I’ll Google it” for analysis. Indicate where you’ll look for information, how you’ll conduct the research and all the things you want to find out.
  • Page 7: Project Proposal Part B – This is for your supervisor to do. They will comment on the suitability of your title; whether it will work as an EPQ or not.
  • Page 8: Project Proposal Part C – This one is for the EPQ coordinator in your school. It is the final approval; the green light for your project to begin.
  • Page 9: Planning Review – Here, you will plan your next steps, aims and goals. You might use Gantt charts or other tools to map out these plans, and then check your actual progress against them later on.
  • Page 10: Mid-Project Review – At this stage, your title is confirmed, and most of your research should be done. You’ll be thinking about how to get started on your essay or product/artefact now.
  • Page 11: End of Project Review – Here, you’ll measure how well you think you did in meeting your goals, and how you’ve progressed since the last review.
  • Page 12: Summary – For this part, you’ll need to write an abstract/brief outline of your final product.
  • Page 13: Presentation Record Part A – In this section, you outline what your presentation will be like, what form it will take and the main content therein.
  • Page 14: Presentation Record Part B – Your supervisor will write this part; recording explanations for their final marks, what questions were asked during the presentation detailing your performance.
  • Page 15: Reflection – Arguably the most critical part of all for you in the long term. Here you will reflect on your successes and failings, but especially the things that didn’t go to plan. Don’t worry! You won’t be penalised for admitting that something went wrong.

Why is the production log important?

Beyond the practical importance that the log has in securing your final grade, it is also the very heart of the EPQ’s long-term value. Through the production log, you discover and record what you did successfully, but also what went wrong. It could be the insights you pen into the log that confirm or deny the university degree or career direction you thought you wanted to take. Re-reading your log is a great way to see how far you’ve come, and how much you can achieve with hard work and determination.

Don’t miss the next part of our series, which will explore the final EPQ presentation.

The rest of the series