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They examine a philosophical issue from any of the key areas, choosing the issue in negotiation with their teacher.

Students consider the following questions:
  • Why is it a philosophical issue?
  • What positions do various philosophers hold?
  • What are the philosophers’ reasons for holding these positions?
  • What objections or counter examples are relevant to these positions?
  • What is the student’s own position, and why?

The issues study is to be presented in written form, but it does not need to be in an essay format and could include dialogue or any other written form.
The study should be a maximum of 2000 words.
This task is EXTERNALLY ASSESSED, and you will need to be monitored with a Verification Form throughout the study.

Here are the Chief Assessor's comments from last year regarding the Issue Study.

Assessment Type 3: Issues Study
The majority of students satisfy the requirements of this assessment type with considerable success, but there are still a few students who need to consider the most appropriate ways to provide evidence of their achievement.
Of particular concern is providing evidence for specific feature RA1, which can be easily overlooked. Perhaps the best approach is to include a direct reference to the philosophical nature of the issue in the early part of the issues study, rather than hoping that evidence can be inferred from the investigation.
There are also a few students who do not provide evidence for specific feature RA3 because they analyse the positions of a number of philosophers without formulating and defending their own position.
Students need to keep in mind that rhetorical questions within the body of the investigation are not of use unless the student goes on to either answer the questions or clarify their significance. In addition, as pointed out in previous reports, personal or biographical details of philosophers are generally unnecessary.
Students should be reminded that there is a 2000-word limit on the issues study.

HERE are the comments from 2013

Assessment Type 3: Issues StudyThe acknowledgement of sources is important in this assessment type and it is noteworthy that teachers obviously emphasised the importance of this
acknowledgement in supporting ethical research practices.
It was noted that most students now frame their topics in the form of a question. (my italics) However, questions still need to relate to one of the key areas listed in the subject outline. The question also needs to allow students to demonstrate the specific features under Knowledge and Understanding by supporting an in-depth consideration of a wide range of philosophical positions. Students should be able to
demonstrate Critical Analysis through an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of arguments for and against philosophical positions. Students are also expected to demonstrate evidence against specific features 2 and 3 of Reasoning and Understanding by proposing a conclusion about the issue through formation and defence of the position adopted by the student.
A few studies did not follow this formula, thereby limiting students’ ability to demonstrate higher levels of achievement. For example, simply comparing two philosophers is not an issues study. In this case, the student needs to compare philosophers’ positions on a particular issue, citing the positions of other philosophers, and to develop a personal position in the process. Some students limit their ability to achieve highly in the KU2 specific feature by
referring only to philosophical positions without mentioning actual philosophers."

Exemplar Tasks from previous years

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A LIST OF POWERPOINTS THAT I HAVE THAT MIGHT BE USEFUL. It also makes for some ideas if you are struggling for a topic.
Let me know if you'd like a particular one.