Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Focus Questions: Chemistry

Chemistry

Example #1- Research Inquiry

Claim: Plastics are bad for the environment.

Research question: What effect do catalysts have on the chemical recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) by glycolysis?

Developing the research question:

Steps

Details

1. Identify the key (important) terms in the claim

 

a. ‘plastics’

b. ‘bad’

c. ‘environment’

2. Propose refining questions that need to be addressed to refine key terms and narrow the focus of the claim.

a. Which plastic will I investigate?

b. Why did I choose this plastic?

c. What do I mean by ‘bad’ for the environment in chemical terms?

 

3. Provide an example of how one of the claims could be developed into a research question. Conduct research to gather information to address the refining questions.

a. The plastic that will be investigated is PET.

b. PET’s structural and chemical properties make it a high-demand plastic that is not biodegradable. Therefore, it is an environment problem if not recycled.

c. PET can be recycled by a chemical process called glycolysis, which requires a catalyst. d. Products from chemically recycling PET can be used as feedstock (raw materials) for other products.

 

4. Draft the research question to address the claim.

a. How does chemically recycling PET help the environment?

 

5. Refine and focus the research question.

a. How does chemically recycling PET by glycolysis help the environment?

b. What factors affect the chemical recycling of PET by glycolysis?

 

6. Present the research question to the teacher for approval.

a. What effect do catalysts have on the chemical recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) by glycolysis?

 

Source

https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/downloads/senior-qce/sciences/snr_chemistry_19_ia3_smple_ass_inst.pdf

 

 

Chemistry

Example #2- Research Inquiry

Claim: Biofuels are more efficient and have less environmental impact than fossil fuels.

Research question: Is the combustion of biodiesel more efficient than petroleum-based diesel in terms of energy output (enthalpy) and CO2 emissions?

Developing the research question:

Steps

Details

1. Identify the key (important) terms in the claim.

a. biofuels

b. more efficient

c. fossil fuels

2. Propose questions that need to be addressed to refine key terms and narrow the focus of the claim.

a. What are biofuels?

b. Which biofuels and fossil fuels will be investigated?

c. What does ‘more efficient’ mean in relation to energy output and greenhouse gas emissions?

d. How do energy output and greenhouse gas emissions link to the chemistry of fuels, exothermic reactions and enthalpy?

3. Conduct research to gather information to address the questions.

a. How will energy output be compared/evaluated?

b. Which greenhouse gases are produced as a by-product of combustion of biofuels and fossil fuels?

c. How will greenhouse gases be compared/evaluated?

d. What data will be collected for energy output and greenhouse gas emissions?

e. What is the chemistry related to energy production and greenhouse gases produced from the combustion of biofuels and fossil fuels?

4. Draft the research question to address the claim.

a. Do biofuels produce fewer greenhouse gases and more energy than fossils fuels?

5. Refine and focus the research question.

a. Focus on products of combustion: energy output (enthalpy) and CO2 produced.

b. Focus on biodiesel and petroleum-based diesel.

c. Define efficiency in terms of higher energy output and lower CO2 emissions.

6. Present the research question to the teacher for approval.

a. Is the combustion of biodiesel more efficient than petroleum-based diesel in terms of energy output (enthalpy) and CO2 emissions?

 

Source

https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/downloads/senior-qce/sciences/snr_chemistry_19_unit1_unit2_smple_ass_inst_invest_essay.pdf

 

Chemistry

Example #1- Practical Investigation

Practical that will be modified: Electrolysis of water (simulation).

Research question: How does changing the concentration of the electrolyte (KOH) affect the time to produce 25 mL of hydrogen gas by electrolysis?

Developing the research question:

Steps

Details

1. Identify the independent variable to be investigated.

 

Concentration of KOH (electrolyte).

2. Identify the dependent variable.

Time to produce 25 mL hydrogen gas.

 

3. Identify the methodology to be used.

Electrolysis.

 

4. Draft research questions.

a. How can the concentration change the amount of hydrogen gas produced?

b. How can the addition of an acid or base act as an electrolyte to make hydrogen?

 

5. Refine and focus the research question.

Can a change in concentration of a basic electrolyte affect the time to make hydrogen gas?

 

6. Present research question to teacher for approval.

How does changing the concentration of the electrolyte (KOH) affect the time to produce 25 mL of hydrogen gas by electrolysis?

 

Source

https://www.qcaa.qld.edu.au/downloads/senior-qce/sciences/snr_chemistry_19_ia2_smple_ass_inst.pdf