Extended Investigation Studies


The VCE Extended Investigation allows students to carry out an independent research project on a topic of their choosing. In this subject, students develop critical thinking and research skills in order to undertake a research project. The chosen topic can relate to students other VCE subjects or another area of interest. Students will be supported through this subject by both a teacher and also a University mentor.

Unit 3: Designing an Extended Investigation

In this unit, students develop skills in question construction and design, explore the nature and purpose of research, and identify a specific research question. Students use their Extended Investigation Journal to record the progressive refinement of a selected area of interest distilled into an individual research question.

Unit 4: Presenting an Extended Investigation

This unit is comprised of two parts that together constitute the student’s completion of their Extended Investigation. The results of the Extended Investigation are presented in a final written report and in an oral presentation to a non-specialist panel. The final written report is submitted and includes the student’s evaluation of the research methods and findings, and provides their response to the research question. Students also present their investigation as an oral presentation to a non-specialist panel and defend their findings, responding to questions and challenges from the panel.

Assessment activities:

  • School-assessed coursework (30 per cent of score)
  • Critical Thinking Test (10 per cent of score)
  • Externally-assessed task (60 per cent of score consisting of an oral presentation to a non-specialist panel and a 4000 word written report)


Common Student Questions and Answers

What sort of topics can I choose from?

There are a broad range of topics that are suitable, in most cases topics will come from disciplines such as Science, Humanities, and Information Technology. However, students are not limited to these areas. The project must culminate in a written report and oral presentation.

What if I don’t have a question I want to investigate?

It is very normal at this stage to not have a clear question.  Part of the course will be to help develop students’ ideas further. All that is required is an area of interest, a passion or a subject area that students enjoy or are good at.

Are there prerequisites or a Unit 1 and 2 sequences?

No, VCE Extended Investigation is offered in Unit 3 and 4 only. However, you are required to complete extensive reading and writing activities throughout the subject.

Where and when will classes take place?

VCE Extended Investigation will be offered on a Thursday afternoon based at the Earth Ed Centre. Classes will operate outside of the normal school day and students should be prepared for this. Because classes will only be once a week it is important that they self-manage their time and communication during the week with their teacher and mentor.

Links to further pathways:

VCE Extended Investigation provides an excellent foundation for any future tertiary study or occupations that require 21st century skills, such as critical and analytical thinking.

Related Subjects

Units 1-4


This subject focuses on the procedures of accounting and finance and the way in which these may be used.