How do I make my IES stand out? (HKDSE Liberal Study Guide)

This is Part 4 of the series: HKDSE Liberal Study IES Guide.
Follow the link to read the whole series!


How do I make my IES stand out?

We’re already covered the basics on how to approach your IES and prepare a good piece. But to really excel and get the 5* or 5** grade – you really have to stand out of the crowd and allow your marker to be impressed by your paper. Here are our two pointers that will really help you make a special impression:

  1. Think in different perspectives
    Don’t just look at your paper from your perspective as a researcher, try to read it as a laymen or a rival scholar who would try to pick on your findings. Brainstorm the questions these readers may have in mind:

    • Why did you choose this research model instead of the others? Why is this sampling method best for you?
    • How strong are the casual relationships between your dependent and independent variables?
    • A critical reader would also question: is your explanation the best? Are there other factors that could have caused the same results?

    These other factors are also known as confounding factors. To test your hypothesis, you have to rule out the confounding factors in order to prove the casual relationships that you conclude from your findings. If you can both draw a sensible conclusion and show how informed your stance is by disproving other explanations, your paper is sure to be more convincing. This part is a must for professional sociology researches, but it is often neglected in the IES. So now you know how to do it like a pro!

  2. Expand the scope for future research
    Social studies are not separate entities, rather, they are often linked in similar fields or theories, and they use past findings as basis for further researches. Just as you may rely on the theories of authorities to support and expand your paper, you may also suggest some areas which your paper hasn’t touched on but would be interesting and helpful to the society for future research.
    Your findings may also suggest something that can in turn be the basis for a new line of research. For example, if you observe a certain group within your population that holds a vastly different opinion from the rest, you may want to systematically categorize these people and ask questions like: is this result just by chance or is there something to this minority opinion worthy of a better look? Further research may be able to show if such trend can be generalized among another population, and open up new ways of understanding public opinion.
    If you can identify how your paper joins past and future social studies together, your IES will have a much greater value than just being a separate paper on a seemingly random topic.

After you know what topic to choose, you can move on to:
Part 5: Other LS IES tips!

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