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Syllabus
Cambridge International Project
Qualification 9980
For examination in June and November 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Also available for examination in March 2021 and 2022 for India only.
Version 3
Cambridge Advanced
Why choose Cambridge International?
Cambridge Assessment International Education prepares school students for life, helping them develop an informed
curiosity and a lasting passion for learning. We are part of the University of Cambridge.
Our Cambridge Pathway gives students a clear path for educational success from age 5 to 19. Schools can shape
the curriculum around how they want students to learn – with a wide range of subjects and flexible ways to offer
them. It helps students discover new abilities and a wider world, and gives them the skills they need for life, so they
can achieve at school, university and work.
Our programmes and qualifications set the global standard for international education. They are created by subject
experts, rooted in academic rigour and reflect the latest educational research. They provide a strong platform for
students to progress from one stage to the next, and are well supported by teaching and learning resources.
We review all our syllabuses regularly, so they reflect the latest research evidence and professional teaching
practice – and take account of the different national contexts in which they are taught.
We consult with teachers to help us design each syllabus around the needs of their learners. Consulting with
leading universities has helped us make sure our syllabuses encourage students to master the key concepts in the
subject and develop the skills necessary for success in higher education.
Our mission is to provide educational benefit through provision of international programmes and qualifications for
school education and to be the world leader in this field. Together with schools, we develop Cambridge learners
who are confident, responsible, reflective, innovative and engaged – equipped for success in the modern world.
Every year, nearly a million Cambridge students from 10000 schools in 160 countries prepare for their future with
the Cambridge Pathway.
‘We think the Cambridge curriculum is superb preparation for university.’
Christoph Guttentag, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions, Duke University, USA
Quality management
Cambridge International is committed to providing exceptional quality. In line with this commitment, our
quality management system for the provision of international qualifications and education programmes for
students aged 5 to 19 is independently certified as meeting the internationally recognised standard,
ISO 9001:2015. Learn more at www.cambridgeinternational.org/ISO9001
Copyright © UCLES September 2018
Cambridge Assessment International Education is part of the Cambridge Assessment Group. Cambridge Assessment is the brand name of
the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES), which itself is a department of the University of Cambridge.
UCLES retains the copyright on all its publications. Registered centres are permitted to copy material from this booklet for their own
internal use. However, we cannot give permission to centres to photocopy any material that is acknowledged to a third party even for
internal use within a centre..
Contents
1 Why choose this syllabus? …………………………………………………………………………………………………2
2 Syllabus overview ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….5
Aims 5
A skills-based approach 5
Assessment overview 6
Assessment objectives 7
3 Approaches to teaching and learning ………………………………………………………………………………. 8
4 Details of the assessment ………………………………………………………………………………………………..12
Assessment criteria 14
5 What else you need to know ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 18
Before you start 18
Making entries 19
After the exam 20
How students, teachers and higher education can use the grades 20
Grade descriptions 20
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1 Why choose this syllabus?
We live in the digital era, an information-rich society in which
young people need the skills and dispositions to think critically
and creatively. Thinking critically will enable learners to identify,
analyse and evaluate situations, ideas and information. Thinking
creatively will enable learners to solve new problems and approach
new challenges.
The Cambridge International Project Qualification (Cambridge
IPQ) is a brand new standalone qualification, designed to provide
an opportunity for learners to develop these skills and dispositions
by carrying out research into a topic of their choice linked to
their AS or A Level studies. Through completing this qualification
young people will gain the confidence to successfully navigate the
opportunities and challenges of the digital era.
The qualification exemplifies our educational philosophy of learn,
discover, achieve. It challenges learners with an authentic assessment task that fosters deep learning, and seeks to
stretch and develop them as inquisitive learners.
Studying for the Cambridge IPQ allows learners to demonstrate engagement with their chosen topic beyond
preparation for an exam. Academic evidence suggests that this sort of deeper engagement will help develop their
ability to learn and foster the strategies to be lifelong learners.
This syllabus builds on the higher-order thinking skills of analysis, evaluation and synthesis but also focuses on
developing learners’ research, reflection and communication skills.
Learners are given the opportunity to cross academic boundaries and think in innovative ways. They will explore
different approaches to solve problems and issues they face during the research process. By constructing an
appropriate question, undertaking a literature review and designing and carrying out a research project, learners
will gain the confidence to take intellectual risks and will be better placed to make a successful transition to higher
education, employment and lifelong learning. They do this in consultation with their teacher who will support them
in:
• identifying a suitable research topic
• devising and developing an appropriate research question
• planning and carrying out the research, including undertaking a literature review
• identifying and using appropriate research methods
• writing a 5000 word report
• using appropriate academic conventions for presentation of the report
• keeping track of their progress through the use of a research log.
‘Cambridge students develop a deep understanding of subjects and independent thinking skills.’
Tony Hines, Principal, Rockledge High School, USA
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Recognition and progression
Our expertise in curriculum, teaching and learning, and assessment is the basis for the recognition of our
programmes and qualifications around the world. Every year thousands of students with Cambridge International
qualifications gain places at leading universities worldwide. They are valued by top universities around the world
including those in the UK, US (including Ivy League universities), Europe, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
The Cambridge IPQ will equip learners with a coherent theoretical and practical basis of transferable skills and key
knowledge suitable for a range of careers in any profession.
Depending on local university entrance requirements, the Cambridge IPQ may permit or assist progression directly
to university courses in a range of subjects.
We recommend learners check the Cambridge recognitions database and the university websites to find the most
up-to-date entry requirements for courses they wish to study.
Learn more at www.cambridgeinternational.org/recognition
‘Cambridge qualifications are excellent because they allow students to develop lots of
transferrable skills, things like independent learning skills and research skills and problem solving
skills – these things are really important for when you are studying at university.’
Roseanna Cross, Head of Undergraduate Admissions, University of Bristol
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Supporting teachers
We provide a wide range of practical resources, detailed guidance, and innovative training and professional
development so that you can give your learners the best possible preparation for Cambridge International
qualifications.
Exam preparation resources
• Question papers
• Mark schemes
• Example candidate responses to understand
what examiners are looking for at key grades
• Examiner reports to improve future teaching
Community
You can find useful information, as well as
share your ideas and experiences with other
teachers, on our social media channels and
community forums.
Find out more at
www.cambridgeinternational.org/social-media
Training
• Introductory – face-to-face or online
• Extension – face-to-face or online
• Enrichment – face-to-face or online
• Coursework – online
• Cambridge Professional Development
Qualifications
Find out more at
www.cambridgeinternational.org/profdev
Teaching resources
• School Support Hub
www.cambridgeinternational.org/support
• Syllabuses
• Schemes of work
• Learner guides
• Discussion forums
• Endorsed resources
Support for
Cambridge
International
Qualifications
‘Adopting these programmes reflects our strong belief that setting high academic standards and
developing our students as independent thinkers creates a greater opportunity of future success
in college and in their careers.’
Ann Clark, Superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, North Carolina, USA
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2 Syllabus overview
Aims
The aims describe the purposes of a course based on this syllabus.
The aims are to enable students to develop:
• a research project on a topic of their own choice, reflecting their academic interests
• an understanding of the research process and appropriate research skills
• a critical approach to sources of information
• a reflective approach to learning and research
• independence and confidence, preparing them for study in higher education and/or future career development
• improved skills of planning, research, reflection, analysis, evaluation and communication.
A skills-based approach
Learners build on their work in Cambridge International AS Level and A levels through carrying out research into an
academic topic of their choice.
This is a skills-based subject and the syllabus has no indicative content.
Learners begin from the point of a general awareness of the issues involved in setting up a research proposal,
identifying an appropriate question and undertaking a literature review. The syllabus enables learners to develop
and apply practical skills in research including the use of appropriate research methods, but it also seeks to develop
skills in critical thinking, reasoning and those needed to manage a research project over a sustained period of time.
Importantly, it seeks to deepen and broaden the academic experience by engaging learners in carrying out a piece
of research into a topic they themselves have chosen.
The Cambridge IPQ is based on the premise that developing skills of independent inquiry will help learners, both in
their current development and in their preparation for higher education, employment and lifelong learning.
‘What was most relevant to me as an educator was that I could see the value of doing this and
how helpful it would be for students when they start their further studies at university.’
Timothy Lam, 2nd in Science, Lead Teacher of Chemistry, Extended Project Coordinator, Dulwich International High School Suzhou, China
Support for Cambridge International Project Qualification
Our School Support Hub www.cambridgeinternational.org/support provides Cambridge schools with a secure
site for downloading specimen and past question papers, mark schemes, grade thresholds and other curriculum
resources specific to this syllabus. The School Support Hub community offers teachers the opportunity to
connect with each other and to ask questions related to the syllabus.
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Assessment overview
The Cambridge IPQ is a single component which is externally assessed.
Component Weighting
Research Project
Candidates complete a research project on a topic of their own choice. Candidates devise
and develop a research question and then conduct research to answer this question. They
record their progress in a research log and write a research report.
The research report must not exceed 5000 words.
80 marks
100%
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Assessment objectives
The assessment objectives (AOs) are:
AO1: Research, analysis and evaluation
• Develop and justify an appropriate research question.
• Design, plan and manage a research project.
• Select research methods that are appropriate for the project and justify their use.
• Maintain a research log to support the process of research.
• Analyse findings and/or sources in order to answer a research question.
• Draw appropriate conclusions based on the evidence presented
• Develop a clear answer in response to the research question.
• Discuss the strengths and limitations of research methods used
• Evaluate sources of information, considering the author, purpose, evidence and arguments presented.
AO2: Reflection
• Reflect on the strengths and limitations of a research project.
• Discuss how and why personal views on a topic have changed or developed as a result of conducting research.
AO3: Communication
• Communicate clearly, using subject-specific terminology, referencing and citation techniques.
• Structure a report effectively, communicating findings clearly and in an appropriate format.
Weighting for assessment objectives
The approximate weightings allocated to each of the assessment objectives are summarised below.
Assessment objective Weighting in Cambridge IPQ %
AO1: Research, analysis and evaluation 70
AO2: Reflection 15
AO3: Communication 15
Total 100
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3 Approaches to teaching and learning
The focus of this syllabus is on research and independent inquiry which should foster deep learning. Deep learning is
supported when learners can immerse themselves within the topic they are studying and when they are supported
in exploring and revisiting concepts over an extended period of time. Teachers have an important part to play in
this as they are integral to creating the learning conditions and cultures that support autonomous learning. The
most appropriate approaches to learning will be those which are inquiry based. However, there are some issues that
could be covered in taught lessons. These include:
• organisational skills
• self-management skills
• an overview of appropriate research methods
• accessing and using electronic-based sources
• research ethics
• referencing and citation techniques.
Teaching strategies such as collaborative group work and peer assessment are also likely to have value in this
syllabus.
In supporting learners throughout the research process, teachers should find the following information and advice
useful. For further information and ideas see our Teacher Guide.
Initial preparation
Learners are advised to choose a topic to research that engages them strongly and is of real importance to them.
This topic could be based on one subject or cut across different subject areas. The topic should be the main focus
of the research project and the final report. In order to sustain interest, motivation and engagement it is important
that the topic chosen genuinely engages the learner.
Research questions
The title of the report must take the form of a question. Formulating and justifying the research question forms
part of the research project and the assessment criteria. It takes time and careful consideration. It must be made
clear to the reader how and why the question was developed. The use of the research log is important in supporting
the process of how the research question was developed.
A research question will arise from the exploration of the topic. A research question should be specific and
answerable through the use of evidence (see below). It should offer the potential to explore of a range of evidence,
including different viewpoints. Descriptive research questions are unlikely to offer learners the potential for
development of the higher-order cognitive skills.
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Outline proposal forms
2020–2021
Cambridge International needs to approve research questions for the Cambridge IPQ which are submitted using an
outline proposal form. You should submit an outline proposal form for each candidate as this will help candidates
with their direction of study. Proposals should not be more than 600 words, giving the research question, proposed
area of study, scope of the research and a list of sources and/or research methods to be used. Download outline
proposal forms from the samples database at www.cambridgeinternational.org/samples. The database will ask
you for the syllabus code (i.e. 9980) and your centre number, after which it will take you to the correct forms.
Follow the instructions on the form itself to complete it. Further information about submitting outline proposal
forms can be found in the Cambridge Handbook.
Each candidate should submit only one outline proposal form. If the initial proposal is not approved by Cambridge
International, it is the responsibility of the centre to ensure that candidates respond to the feedback given and
adjust their proposal accordingly.
2022
Outline proposal forms are no longer in use for this syllabus for entries from 2022 series onwards. Instead,
each candidate must complete a project proposal form, and this must be reviewed internally. You should use
the form to give guidance and feedback to candidates on their project proposal and research question. To
download the project proposal form and for guidance on reviewing proposals go to our School Support Hub
www.cambridgeinternational.org/support
Research methods
Research methods are the specific techniques that are used to collect data for the research. Learners should select
and apply research methods appropriate to the discipline/s within which they are working and the nature of the
selected topic. It is expected that some, but not all, of these research methods will be used in reports:
• literature reviews (can also be used as the only research method if appropriate)
• qualitative research methods (e.g. ethnography, interviews, focus group)
• quantitative research methods (e.g. surveys, experiments)
• mixed methods.
Any use of research methods should be accompanied by a consideration of research ethics, including academic
honesty and informed consent.
The report must clearly explain any processes through which data were collected. Many successful reports will
use a literature review as method. Candidates must justify and evaluate the research they have conducted. For
a literature review, this will involve justifying why a literature review was chosen for the report and discussing
the strengths and weaknesses of this method in relation to their research topic, as well as evaluating the sources
consulted in the literature review.
Evidence
The research report must be evidence-based by which we mean it must be derived from or informed by some
objective evidence. Evidence is likely to come in two forms: primary evidence and secondary evidence. Primary
evidence originates at the time to which it relates and can come from a range of sources, such as interviews,
surveys, artifacts, letters and scientific experimenting. Secondary evidence includes material such as the arguments
and opinions of historians and scientists. Candidates should be aware of and explore the strengths and potential
weaknesses of all types of evidence.
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Research log
A research log must be maintained and used to support the research process. The purpose of the log is to help plan,
monitor and review progress and thinking throughout the research project. The log must be submitted as part of
the assessment but it will not constitute part of the 5000 word limit. The log must be submitted as a separate file
and not attached to the research report. It should be cross-referenced as necessary within the main body of the
report.
The log does not need to include details of all actions and thinking; it should be maintained and used in order to
support how the research, and in particular the research question developed over time. It could contain reflective
thoughts, a reminder of things to check, notes/commentary on the use of methods and methodology, comments
on how the research question may have changed as a result of feedback received. It must not be used as a means
of extending the 5000 word limit but rather as supporting how the research progressed in the way it did. Further
details on the research log are included in the Teacher Guide.
Presenting the report
The report needs to be structured so that the evidence is clearly communicated and there is a clear answer to
the research question. The report should contain an introduction, main body and conclusion. It should include
sub-headings and must include references (see below). The detailed structure of the report is left to the learner’s
discretion and creativity and should be aligned with academic conventions of relevant disciplines.
If any additional material is submitted as an appendix, e.g. a questionnaire or interview transcript, this must be
submitted as a separate file.
Work beyond the maximum 5000 words will not be included in the assessment.
Sources and references
Candidates must acknowledge where specific ideas and information come from. They should adopt an appropriate
referencing and citation system related to the academic discipline/s in which they are working. Many reports will
adopt the Harvard, Chicago or APA referencing systems. The actual system adopted is less important than using it
consistently.
It is the centre’s responsibility to make sure all assessed work is the candidate’s original work.
Teachers should not correct or edit draft coursework; candidates can draft and redraft work, but teachers should
only give brief summative comments on progress during this drafting phase.
Teachers should make candidates aware of the academic conventions governing quotation and reference to the
work of others, and teach candidates how to use them. Reference information should include full details of source
publications, including publication date, author and page number. If referencing a website, the website address and
the date the website was accessed should be included.
Cover sheets
A cover sheet must be completed by each candidate to confirm that the research report is their own work. Include
the cover sheets with the materials you send to Cambridge International. Download the cover sheet from the
samples database at www.cambridgeinternational.org/samples. The database will ask you for the syllabus code
(i.e. 9980) and your centre number, after which it will take you to the correct form. Follow the instructions on the
form itself to complete it.
Further guidance and support for candidates is available in the document A Learner’s Guide to the Cambridge
International Project Qualification.
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Explanation and justification of the research report
After the completed reports have been submitted, teachers are advised to hold a 10-minute interview/viva with
each learner. The teacher should have read the research report prior to the interview/viva and devised a line of
questioning which will provide candidates with an opportunity to explain and justify their work with reference to:
• the choice and use of research method
• justification of any conclusions arising from the research findings
• reflection on what has been learnt and achieved throughout the research process
• confirmation that the work submitted is that of the candidate working alone.
Although this interview is not formally assessed it is excellent practice for students at this stage of learning and
functions as a means of ensuring that the work is the candidate’s own.
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4 Details of the assessment
Research project
80 marks – internally set and externally marked. The mark weightings allocated to each of the assessment
objectives are summarised below.
AO1 – 56 marks AO2 – 12 marks AO3 – 12 marks
For the Cambridge IPQ, candidates complete a research project on a topic of their own choice. The project
comprises a 5000 word report, supported by a research log.
The report must be based around a single question that lends itself to in-depth research. The question must be
given as the title of the report.
Candidates will be assessed on their ability to:
• develop and justify an appropriate research question
• design and manage their own project, using appropriate research methods
• maintain a research log to support the process of research
• analyse findings and/or sources used in order to answer the research question
• evaluate the research methods and sources used
• reflect on the strengths and limitations of the project
• discuss how and why personal views on the topic have changed or developed as a result of the research
conducted
• communicate clearly throughout the report, using appropriate subject-specific terminology, referencing and
citation techniques.
• structure the report and communicate findings clearly and in an appropriate format.
The report must include a bibliography and full bibliographical references must be given for any quotations.
The precise format and referencing conventions used should be appropriate to the subject discipline/s. The
production of a bibliography is a requirement.
The report must not exceed 5000 words, excluding only the bibliography. A word count must be declared.
Any work beyond 5000 words will not be included in the assessment.
Candidates must use, maintain and submit a research log in support of the research process. For further guidance,
see the Teacher Guide.
Submitting candidates’ work
Please refer to the samples database at www.cambridgeinternational.org/samples for information, dates and
methods of submission of candidates’ work.
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The role of the teacher
The teacher’s role is to ensure an understanding of the task, monitor progress, and respond to requests for advice
on research and writing in general, but not to guide specific content.
The teacher will need to assist with determining the subject and scale of the report so that the topic selected
provides sufficient opportunities to meet the assessment criteria while being neither too large nor too complex. In
the initial stage when topics are being selected, teachers might arrange workshops for learners to discuss subjectspecific issues and approaches. As topics are refined and questions developed, workshops might also be used to
share ideas.
The teacher should support each learner throughout the research process, supporting them in particular to:
• identify an appropriate topic and develop the research question
• consider whether sufficient evidence exists in relation to the topic and question
• consider the use of research methods, ethics and conventions in relation to specific research questions
• consider the timescale and overall planning
• keep a research log.
In the production of the report, to:
• select research methods that are appropriate for the project
• use appropriate academic terms, referencing and citation techniques
• consider critically the research methods and sources used
• communicate effectively and clearly in an extended piece of writing.
It is expected that teachers will meet with their learners regularly. Use can be made of a subject-specific consultant
if learners are carrying out research into a topic area unfamiliar to their teacher.
Research must be the candidate’s own unaided work and findings must be the result of personal reflection and
judgement. The work may be supported by on-going workshops and classes. Teachers should monitor individual
progress by discussion of the research log. It is a teacher’s responsibility to verify that the work is that of the
candidate working alone.
Teachers/subject-specific consultants must not:
• teach specific topics or offer their own information sheets and views on topics
• undertake any research for a candidate
• correct any part of a candidate’s notes or drafts
• prepare any part of a candidate’s report.
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Assessment criteria
Research reports should be assessed using the criteria on the following pages.
Assessment criteria overview: Cambridge International Project Qualification
AO1 Research, Analysis and Evaluation
Research • Develop and justify an appropriate research question
• Design and manage own project, using appropriate research methods
• Maintain a research log to support the process of research
24 marks
Analysis • Analyse findings and/or sources used in order to answer the research
question
20 marks
Evaluation • Evaluate the research methods and sources used 12 marks
AO1 Total 56 marks
AO2 Reflection
Reflection • Reflect on the strengths and limitations of the project
• Discuss how and why personal views on the topic have changed or
developed as a result of the research conducted
12 marks
AO2 Total 12 marks
AO3 Communication
Communication • Communicate clearly throughout the report, using appropriate
subject-specific terminology, referencing and citation techniques
• Structure the report and communicate findings clearly and in an
appropriate format
12 marks
AO3 Total 12 marks
TOTAL 80 marks
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Assessment criteria: Cambridge International Project Qualification
AO1 Research, Analysis and Evaluation
AO1: Research
• Develop and justify an appropriate research question
• Design and manage own project, using appropriate research methods
• Maintain a research log to support the process of research
Level Mark Range Indicative Descriptors
4 19–24 • The question chosen has been thoughtfully justified.
• The question has clearly guided the research conducted and content of the report.
• The research methods and/or sources used are highly appropriate for the project
and clearly justified.
• The project is very well-designed and there is evidence of careful planning
throughout.
• The research log has been consistently maintained and there is evidence that it has
been used to support the research process throughout.
3 13–18 • The question chosen has been reasonably justified.
• The question has largely guided the research conducted and content of the report.
• The research methods and/or sources used are appropriate for the research project
and there is a reasonable justification for their selection.
• The project is well-designed and there is evidence of planning at times.
• The research log has been maintained throughout the project and there is evidence
that it has been used to support the research process at times.
2 7–12 • There is an attempt to justify the question chosen.
• The research conducted and content of the report are broadly related to the
question.
• The research methods and/or sources used are either appropriate for the project or
there is a reasonable attempt to justify their selection.
• The project is reasonably well-designed but there is little evidence of planning.
• The research log has been used to record information relating to some aspects of
the research process.
1 1–6 • A question has been chosen but there is no serious attempt to justify it.
• Much of the research conducted or content of the report is only vaguely related to
the question.
• At least one research method and/or a range of sources has been used but these are
not well suited to the project and there is little attempt to justify their selection.
• The research log is superficial and gives little evidence of the research process.
0 0 • A mark of zero should be awarded for no creditable content.
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AO1: Analysis
• Analyse findings and/or sources used in order to answer the research question
Level Mark Range Indicative Descriptors
4 16–20 • Excellent analysis of findings and/or sources used.
• The analysis is consistently focused on the research question.
• Conclusions drawn are clearly supported by the evidence presented.
• There is a clear answer in response to the research question which is reflective of the
evidence presented in the report.
3 11–15 • Good analysis of findings and/or sources used.
• The analysis is relevant to the research question.
• Conclusions drawn are supported by the evidence presented.
• There is an answer in response to the research question relevant to the evidence
presented in the report.
2 6–10 • Some analysis of findings and/or sources used.
• The analysis is partially relevant to the research question.
• Conclusions drawn are only partially supported by the evidence presented.
• There is an answer in response to the research question but this is only partially
relevant to the evidence presented in the report.
1 1–5 • Some limited analysis of findings and/or sources used.
• The analysis lacks relevance to the research question.
• Conclusions drawn are limited or not supported by the evidence presented.
• There is an answer in response to the research question but this is limited or not
relevant to the evidence presented in the report.
0 0 • A mark of zero should be awarded for no creditable content.
AO1: Evaluation
• Evaluate the research methods and sources used
Level Mark Range Indicative Descriptors
4 10–12 • Detailed and insightful discussion of the strengths and limitations of the research
method(s) used.
• Explicit and effective evaluation of a range of sources.
3 7–9 • Detailed discussion of the strengths and limitations of the research method(s) used.
• Explicit and effective evaluation of at least one source.
2 4–6 • Some discussion of the strengths and/or limitations of the research method(s) used.
• Some explicit evaluation of a range of sources.
1 1–3 • Some limited discussion of a strength or limitations of the research method(s) used.
• Some explicit evaluation of at least one source.
0 0 • A mark of zero should be awarded for no creditable content.
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AO2 Reflection
AO2: Reflection
• Reflect on the strengths and limitations of the project
• Discuss how and why personal views on the topic have changed or developed as a result of the research
conducted
Level Mark Range Indicative Descriptors
4 10–12 • Detailed and insightful reflection on the strengths and limitations of the project.
• A thoughtful discussion of how and why personal views on the topic have changed
or developed, which is clearly and directly related to the research conducted.
3 7–9 • Detailed reflection on the strengths and limitations of the project.
• A clear discussion of how and why personal views on the topic have changed or
developed, with direct reference to the research conducted.
2 4–6 • Some reflection on the strengths and/or limitations of the project.
• Some discussion of how personal views on the topic have changed or developed,
with some reference to the research conducted.
1 1–3 • Some limited reflection on a strength or limitation of the project.
• Some discussion of personal views on the topic.
0 0 • A mark of zero should be awarded for no creditable content.
AO3 Communication
AO3: Communication
• Communicate clearly throughout the report, using appropriate subject-specific terminology, referencing and
citation techniques
• Structure the report and communicate findings clearly and in an appropriate format
Level Mark Range Indicative Descriptors
4 10–12 • The report is well-structured and very clear to follow.
• A range of subject-specific terminology is used consistently and accurately
throughout the report.
• Research findings are communicated clearly and in a highly appropriate format.
• Citation and referencing of sources are complete, consistent and in an appropriate
format.
3 7–9 • The report is well-structured and clear to follow.
• A range of mostly accurate subject-specific terminology is used throughout the
report.
• Research findings are communicated clearly and in an appropriate format.
• Citation and referencing of sources are mostly complete and consistent and in an
appropriate format.
2 4–6 • The report is mostly well-structured and fairly clear to follow.
• Some accurate subject-specific terminology is used.
• Research findings are communicated with some clarity.
• Citation and referencing of sources are mostly complete and consistent.
1 1–3 • The report is not well-structured, making it difficult to follow.
• Some subject-specific terminology is used.
• Research findings are included.
• Citation and referencing of sources is attempted but incomplete.
0 0 • A mark of zero should be awarded for no creditable content.
Cambridge International Project Qualification 9980 syllabus for 2020, 2021 and 2022.
18 www.cambridgeinternational.org/ Back to contents page
5 What else you need to know
This section is an overview of other information you need to know about this syllabus. It will help to share the
administrative information with your exams officer so they know when you will need their support. Find more
information about our administrative processes at www.cambridgeinternational.org/examsofficers
Before you start
Previous study
The Cambridge IPQ builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills typically gained by candidates taking
Level 2 qualifications. We recommend that learners who are beginning this course have attained communication
and literacy skills at a level equivalent to IGCSE™/GCSE Grade C in English.
Guided learning hours
Guided learning hours give an indication of the amount of contact time teachers need to have with learners to
deliver a particular course. The syllabus is designed around 120 guided learning hours.
This figure is for guidance only. The number of hours needed to gain the qualification may vary depending on local
practice and the learners’ previous experience.
Availability
You can enter candidates in the June and November exam series. If your school is in India, you can enter
your candidates in the March exam series. You can view the timetable for your administrative zone at
www.cambridgeinternational.org/timetables
Private candidates cannot enter for this syllabus.
Combining with other syllabuses
Candidates can take this syllabus alongside other Cambridge International syllabuses in a single exam series. The
only exceptions are:
• Cambridge International Global Perspectives and Research AS & A Level (9239)
• syllabuses with the same title at the same level.
Work submitted for the Cambridge IPQ may not be submitted for assessment for other syllabuses.
Group awards: Cambridge AICE
Cambridge AICE (Advanced International Certificate of Education) is a group award for Cambridge International
AS & A Level. It allows schools to offer a broad and balanced curriculum by recognising the achievements of
learners who pass examinations in a range of different subjects.
This qualification is not part of the AICE award.
Cambridge International Project Qualification 9980 syllabus for 2020, 2021 and 2022. What else you need to know
Back to contents page www.cambridgeinternational.org/ 19
Making entries
Exams officers are responsible for submitting entries to Cambridge International. We encourage them to work
closely with you to make sure they enter the right number of candidates for the right combination of syllabus
components. Entry option codes and instructions for submitting entries are in the Cambridge Guide to Making
Entries. Your exams officer has a copy of this guide.
Exam administration
To keep our exams secure, we produce question papers for different areas of the world, known as administrative
zones. We allocate all Cambridge schools to one administrative zone determined by their location. Each zone has
a specific timetable. Some of our syllabuses offer candidates different assessment options. An entry option code
is used to identify the components the candidate will take relevant to the administrative zone and the available
assessment options.
Support for exams officers
We know how important exams officers are to the successful running of exams. We provide them with the support
they need to make your entries on time. Your exams officer will find this support, and guidance for all other phases
of the Cambridge Exams Cycle, at www.cambridgeinternational.org/examsofficers
Retakes
Candidates can retake the Cambridge IPQ as many times as they want to but they must present
new work each time they enter. Information on retake entries is in the Cambridge Handbook at
www.cambridgeinternational.org/examsofficers
Equality and inclusion
We have taken great care to avoid bias of any kind in the preparation of this syllabus and related assessment
materials. In compliance with the UK Equality Act (2010) we have designed this qualification to avoid any direct
and indirect discrimination.
The standard assessment arrangements may present unnecessary barriers for candidates with disabilities or learning
difficulties. We can put arrangements in place for these candidates to enable them to access the assessments and
receive recognition of their attainment. We do not agree access arrangements if they give candidates an unfair
advantage over others or if they compromise the standards being assessed.
Candidates who cannot access the assessment of any component may be able to receive an award based on the
parts of the assessment they have completed.
Information on access arrangements is in the Cambridge Handbook at
www.cambridgeinternational.org/examsofficers
Language
This syllabus and the related assessment materials are available in English only.
Cambridge International Project Qualification 9980 syllabus for 2020, 2021 and 2022. What else you need to know
20 www.cambridgeinternational.org/ Back to contents page
After the exam
Grades A*, A, B, C, D or E indicate the standard a candidate achieved at Cambridge International Project
Qualification.
A* is the highest and E is the lowest grade.
‘Ungraded’ means that the candidate’s performance did not meet the standard required for the lowest grade
(E). ‘Ungraded’ is reported on the statement of results but not on the certificate. In specific circumstances your
candidates may see one of the following letters on their statement of results:
• Q (pending)
• X (no result)
• Y (to be issued).
These letters do not appear on the certificate.
How students, teachers and higher education can use the grades
Cambridge International Qualifications
Assessment at Cambridge International Qualifications has two purposes:
• to measure learning and achievement
The assessment:
– confirms achievement and performance in relation to the knowledge, understanding and skills specified in
the syllabus, to the levels described in the grade descriptions.
• to show likely future success
The outcomes:
– help predict which students are well prepared for a particular course or career and/or which students are
more likely to be successful
– help students choose the most suitable course or career.
Grade descriptions
Grade descriptions are provided to give an indication of the standards of achievement candidates awarded
particular grades are likely to show. Weakness in one aspect of the examination may be balanced by a better
performance in some other aspect.
Grade descriptions for Cambridge International Project Qualification will be published after the first assessment of
the qualification in 2020. Find more information at www.cambridgeinternational.org
Cambridge International Project Qualification 9980 syllabus for 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Back to contents page www.cambridgeinternational.org/ 21
Changes to this syllabus for 2020, 2021 and 2023
The syllabus has been updated. This is version 3, published November 2020.
The subject content remains the same except for two additions, as outlined below.
You are strongly advised to read the whole syllabus before planning your teaching programme.
Changes to version 3, published November 2020
Changes to syllabus
content
• The outline proposal form arrangements have been updated on page 9 of the
syllabus.
Changes to version 2, published February 2020
Other changes • The text on page 10 has been amended to make it clear that the research log
must be submitted as a separate file.
Significant changes to the syllabus are indicated by black vertical lines either side of the text.
Cambridge Assessment International Education
The Triangle Building, Shaftesbury Road, Cambridge CB2 8EA
Tel: +44 (0)1223 553554 Fax: +44 (0)1223 553558
Email: info@cambridgeinternational.org www.cambridgeinternational.org
Copyright © UCLES September 2018
This document was initially designed for print and as such does not reach accessibility standard WCAG 2.1 in various ways
including missing text alternatives and missing document structure. If you need this document in a different format contact us at
info@cambridgeinternational.org (with the subject heading: Digital accessibility) and we will respond within 15 working days.

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