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Senior: 11 & 12: Unit 3: Organic Chemistry in Society (IA3)

What is a Claim?

According to the QCAA Syllabus glossary, a claim is an assertion made without any accompanying evidence to support it.

QCAA Samples and Exemplars

The QCAA website has exemplars of the sorts of research assignments you need to produce. First is a Chemistry exemplar, but as well, even though you may not study Physics or Biology, we've added the examples QCAA gives for them, as the requirements are very similar, and they might help you understand what you need to do.

Chemistry Exemplar from QCAA
CLAIM: Natural shampoos are better than synthetic shampoos.
RESEARCH QUESTION: Are natural shampoos better cleaners than synthetic shampoos based on surface tension, wetting time, solid content, detergency and foaming ability?

Physics Exemplar from QCAA
CLAIM: The dream of almost limitless clean energy from nuclear fusion is close to being realised. 
RESEARCH QUESTION: Is the Tokamak Energy nuclear fusion power generation technique able to be considered as clean

Biology Exemplar from QCAA
CLAIM: Human evolution is still occurring.
RESEARCH QUESTION: Is the prevalence of hypolactasia (lactose intolerance) in Finland linked to the practice of domesticating cattle for dairy purposes?

How to Develop a Research Question From a Claim

C.R.A.A.P. Test

Check the quality of your websites using these criteria (adapted from QUT Library):

Currency: Timeliness of the information

  • When was the information published, posted or last updated?
  • Is the information current for your topic and field of study? How recent does it have to be? Can older sources work just as well?
Relevance: Importance of the information for your needs
  • Is the information appropriate for a senior secondary course?
  • Is this an adequately in-depth examination or a quick summary of the topic?
  • Who's the intended audience? Is it the general public, a student, a researcher or industry?
  • Is the level of information too basic or too advanced for your needs?

Authority: Source of the information

  • Is the author/authoring body (individual person, or institution, or organisation) established and reputable?
  • Are their qualifications, credentials, expertise, experience, educational background and previous work (if any) relevant and do they add credibility to the source?
  • Has the piece been published by a well-known and respected publisher or organisation?
  • Do references to other sources support the writing ie is a Bibliography or Reference List provided?

Accuracy: Reliability and correctness of the information

  • Where does the information come from, and is it supported by evidence?
  • Does it have a Reference List or Bibliography so you can easily find and verify the sources used?
  • Are there any spelling, grammar, or other typographical errors?

Purpose: Reason the information exists

  • What is the purpose of the information? Why was it written?
  • Does the point of view appear objective, unbiased and impartial?
  • Is the viewpoint of the author's affiliation/ sponsors reflected in the message or content?
  • Does the author acknowledge alternative versions of the issues or facts?

Zotero Online Referencing Tool

Zotero can be set to the same Harvard AGPS (Australia) style that CiteAce uses, called 'Melbourne Polytechnic - Harvard'. Please read the instructions carefully.

Any issues - see your Library Staff

Claims and Resources For Them

Petroleum diesel, or petro-diesel, as it is sometimes referred to, is produced from crude oil in a process called fractional distillation. A mixture of carbon chains between 8 and 10 carbon atoms in length is produced.

Biodiesel, like petrodiesel, is made from long chain hydrocarbons, the difference being that the hydrocarbons used to form biodiesel come from reneweable plant or animal oil. Oil undergoes a process called transesterification where the fatty acids of the oil are converted into compounds generally known as methyl esters.

Cover ArteBook: Green Diesel Engines 

Publication Date: 2013

Explores the effects of biodiesel usage on injection, fuel spray, combustion, and tribology characteristics, and engine performance. It also details optimization procedures of diesel engine characteristics using practical examples.

Cover ArteBook: Advanced Technologies in Biodiesel 

Publication Date: 2014

It is expected that biodiesels will become an important part of the global energy mix and make a significant contribution to meeting energy demand. This valuable book gives a critical review on the recently emerged process intensification technologies for biodiesel production as well as the various methods for assessing biodiesel fuel quality. You will also learn about monitoring the transesterification reaction with advantages and drawbacks. The authors offer suggestions on selection of appropriate methods,

Cover ArteBook: Chemistry of Fossil Fuels & Biofuels 

Publication Date: 2013

Information about the Chemistry Research Assignment from Pearson Text

Useful Chemistry Websites








Advanced Web Searching Tips

1. Use 'Ctrl F' (Control + Find) to search for particular terms easily in a long document, whether from a website or a database article.

2.  Use a Boolean command - put double inverted commas around phrases to limit and improve your results eg "energy drinks problems".

3. Use filetype:pdf to search in Google for only pdf articles - "plastic pollution" filetype:pdf - will force Google to return results on plastic pollution which are only pdf articles (PDFs are great sources sometimes deeply buried in Google results and remain unseen).

4. Use a Google domain command eg site:edu OR site:gov to limit results to a CERTAIN DOMAIN such as education or government eg biodiesel site:edu

5.  To check the authority of a website when it is not clear who the author / authority is, go to the end of the URL in the Google search box, cut back to the first forward slash (/) and hit 'Enter'. This will take you to the Home Page of the website, and you can see the full name of the source.

6. Use a Google command to limit results to the MOST RECENT: After you get your results, choose the Google Menu Bar, and choose 'Tools'. Then on the far left, at the drop-down menu next to 'Any Time', you can choose 'Within the last year' (or less, if you prefer), but generally, you can choose 'Custom Range' at the bottom, as often the last 3 years would be sufficient for a recent search.

The Science Research Assignment: Some Hints


The ENTIRE collection of resources provided by the BBC Library can now be searched on ONE single, powerful search platform, which retrieves print books, eBooks, database articles and websites. Click HERE for assistance.

Subscription Science Journals

Data Sets

Datasets involve the integration of heterogeneous data in varying formats and from diverse communities. Four basic features can be identified as common to most definitions: grouping, content, relatedness, and purpose.

Useful General Academic Websites

The world’s largest collection of open access research papers

An inclusive journal community which believes all rigorous science needs to be published and discoverable, widely disseminated and freely accessible to all

A free distribution service and an open archive for scholarly articles in the fields of science

An American website that aggregates press releases and publishes lightly edited press releases about science


Breaks down the stories behind the most interesting news and photos on the Internet.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.


Google Books can be very frustrating because often much of the book is missing and you are expected to purchase it to read the full content. So after you put in your search term you are interested in (eg biodiesel), and get some results up,  you should then go immediately to the search box (on the left - above 'About this box') undefined and type in a particular word or term you are interested in (eg CO2 emissions OR methanol) you should get a number of pages pop up. Choose one that looks useful - you should get some good results this way!

Access to EBL eBook Collection

You can see the entire Ebook Central Catalogue of 500,000 resources by entering your search term HERE.  You may browse any title for 5 minutes, and if it's one we don't already own, it will say 'Available on request', which means you have to ask us to purchase it if you like it.

Click on the title of your choice, and you can see under 'Availability' that you can click on 'request this book', and an email will be sent to the BBC Library staff who can organise purchase for you. In the email message, please tell us if you only require the book for a day or so, and we can simply rent it so you can quickly take the notes you need.

Please note that some of these eBooks are very expensive (this is a university-level database), so that will have to be taken into account! We will attend to your request as quickly as possible.