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Filling the Gap in Research: NHP's First Year Running AP Research

By Carmela Drossman-Schlossberg

This school year is the first time NHP students had the opportunity to take AP Research as a class. The class is the second step of the AP Capstone program, a two-part college-level program paired with AP Seminar, created by the College Board.

Building on the research skills they learned in AP Seminar, students explore a research topic that interests them by trying to find a “gap” in the research. This “gap” essentially entails a question that has not been answered by any existing studies within a field. After researching previously conducted studies, students are tasked with conducting their own research through experimentation, ultimately trying to form a conclusion about the aforementioned “gap.”

This year’s students explored a wide variety of fields, such as the level of awareness high school students have on national news, the effect of feminism on Disney princesses, how an individual’s workout intensity is determined by the genre of music they listen to and the impact of different types of flour on diabetics. 

 “My favorite part of AP Research is how it’s not your traditional class in which you sit and take notes,” junior Janvi Acharya said. “AP Research allows you to delve deeper into a topic you’re passionate about and create your own experiment.”

This year’s AP Research class at NHP is unique in the sense that being the first class of researchers NHP has seen, they could not consult upperclassmen for advice on what to do. Many students remark on how the lack of seniors helped create a community within those taking the class.

“At first it was hard taking the class when none of us could consult an upperclassman for help, but I feel like this helped us rely more on each other and we all became closer,” junior Serina John said. “I also feel like becoming the first class at NHP forces us to become better. As the first class, we have to be role models for the younger kids. If we do bad, then no one would want to take this class.”

Source by Suha Tasfia

Many AP Research students have expressed their last-minute stress of "grinding out" their research papers, feeling both the pressures of an approaching deadline and being the first class of researchers at NHP.

Mr. Mechanic, the teacher of the class, was also impacted, as he had to adjust his teaching methods to fit this more hands-off class. 

“I'm not permitted to just tell the kids what to do, so I can't be as hands-on as usual. I'm more of a facilitator. I'm there to engage with the students and help them along with their own research,” AP Research teacher Mr. Mechanic said. 

Now, as the end of the year approaches, current AP Seminar kids are deciding whether or not to continue the AP Capstone program.

“I would definitely like to take AP Research sometime in the future! I am currently taking AP Seminar, and have learned a lot in terms of researching, formatting different genres of papers and organizing a cohesive presentation,” sophomore Ariana Muhammad said. “Taking AP Research would further reinforce these ideas but, at the same time, allow me to take a new path and research something different that is of interest to me. Several upperclassmen who enjoyed taking AP Seminar have recommended I take AP Research, which gives me hope and encouragement!”


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