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Fatimah Ahmed


Advice to EPQ Students


Skills Developed


Successes and Challenges


Methodology II



Why I chose this topic


Summary of Macbeth




Use of Resources


Objectives of Report


Use of Resources II


Main Findings



Tracking Progress

Changes if I re did the process

Why I chose this topic

  • I loved studying English Literature previously, and EPQ was the perfect opportunity for me to continue this passion at a higher level
  • Picking a Shakespearean play meant I could find more sources for my report as there are so many types of journals, books etc. focused on the analysis of these works
  • The downfall of Macbeth is the main plot of the play, and there are many factors and themes that influence this, therefore this title would allow me to be evaluative by assessing which factor was the most significant

Summary of the play, Macbeth

Macbeth is a Shakespearean tragedy, written in 1606, about the downfall of the Scottish Noble Macbeth. He is influenced by three main factors: the manipulation of his wife, Lady Macbeth; the prophecies of the Three Witches and his own self, to murder the King of Scotland. In doing so, his life rapidly deteriorates and his downfall is commenced. He becomes paranoid of losing his position on the throne, and murders his loyal friend Banquo in envy and fear. He abandons his humanity and morals further in killing the innocent family of Macduff. He is haunted by his actions, and becomes psycologically disturbed. Eventually he is overthrown by the Lords of Scotland and their armies, and beheaded.

I limited the number of my objectives to prevent myself from exceeding the word count too far (as literature can be very content heavy) but ensured my report was still well structured and specific by adding sub sections.

Conclusion: To evaluate which factor was the main cause of Macbeth's downfall

3. Objectives


The aim of my report was to evaluate how significant each factor out of Lady Macbeth, the Witches, and Macbeth himself was in causing Macbeth's downfall, and which was the main cause.

Objective 1: To evaluate the significance of Lady Macbeth in Macbeth's downfall

Objective 2: To evaluate the significance of the WItches in Macbeth's downfall

Objective 3: To evaluate the significance of Macbeth in causing his downfall

4. Methodology


At the beginning of the course, I outlined my main points and counter points into a detailed plan.I split each of my objectives into 2-4 sub sections which made my report well structured and more developed.I used the PEEEL (Point, Evidence, Explain, Evaluate, Link) method to structure each of my points. In the evaluate part I would include a counter argument(s) to the original point where opposing theories/factors would be presented as having more influence to Macbeth's downfall.This allowed me to balance my analysis of the text and theories with evaluaion of the factors and how they caused Macbeth's downfall keeping me focused on the title.


I used a project management calendar, and assigned 3-4 weeks to each objective.This kept me focused and consistent in writing my report, and gave me enough time to proof read each objective before continuing.I created a checklist from the markscheme to ensure the quality of my report was in the highest bands.Furthermore, my activity log allowed me to track my progress, keep me motivated as I completed tasks and made it easier to complete my production log

Checklist created from markscheme

11. Figures and Tables

Project Management Calendar

Project Management Calendar

Final plan - 2nd sub section for Obj 2

Activity Log

6. Using Resources

Using Resources

I created a word document in which I put the reference and link to every source I found prior to writing/ whilst writing my report.I then added the section/ summary of the content of the source. This meant when I could efficiently navigate through my document by searching for 'keywords' linked to objectives, rather than opening the full document again.Furthermore, I colour coded content found for each of my objectives to help with this process as many of the journals I found were complex and verbose.

Using Resources

Most of the resources I used were journals and books - I avoided websites as the points made were not academic and too simplified for the level of detail I needed in my report.I utilised my research log to further help with ensuring my sources were valid and credible through CRAAP analysis.

Examples of evaluation in research log
Research Log
Source from colour coded source list

8. Development

Aimed to make weekly entries to my activity and research log

Created a checklist using the markscheme which I used to ensure every aspect of my project was completed to a high standard

After finishing my final objective, I began the editing process before writing my conclusion. This refreshed my perspective on previous objectives and allowed me to link, compare and evaluate factors in conjuction better

My most major change was to my first objective, originally explaining the events of Macbeth's fall. However, this wasted words not answering my topic title therefore I removed it and began my report with the first factor causing Macbeth's downfall which was Lady Macbeth in my final plan.

Regularly updated the project management calendar with weekly aims

8. Tracking Progress

9. Conclusions

Out of the three objectives chosen, Macbeth was the main cause of his downfall. Specifically, it is the fact he decieves himself in order to carry out his ambitions, and murder because of them, which causes him to continuously act against his better judgement. This is called akrasia, and these aspects combined lead his to his downfall.

Lady Macbeth is a major instigator in the murder of Duncan, which commences Macbeth's downfall but cannot be the main cause. She catalyses the murder of Duncan by quickly changing Macbeth's vacillating mind, but ultimately he makes the decision to abandon his moral and logical reasonings and give in to the evil action that his ambition inclines him too.

The WItches are the weakest out of the three factors as ideas they 'plant the seed of Macbeth's ambitions' are mostly counter argued with the fact Macbeth's ambitions to be King, or have a 'higher status' were already present within him. Lady Macbeth more actively participates in the event that commences his downfall, whereas the witches are less involved.Ideas that they control Macbeth's fate or actions are weak as his agency is proven when he murders innocent families with no basis from the witches' prophecies.


Skills I have developed

Researching and Referencing

Learnt how to research academic sources using Google Scholar and JSTOR etc. Learnt how to evaluate the sources too using the CRAAP modelLearnt how to use footnotes, cite in word and create a bibliograpghy

Importance of Planning Effectively

At the beginning of the process I found it difficult to begin writing I had to create a detailed plan with all the points and some references I would include to ensure that I had a structure to support my writing Planning was essential to the success of my project, in terms of logs, plans and the report itself

Developed decision making skills

Throughout the process I had to make multiple continual changes. Whether these were minor or major, I learnt how to approach my work critically and make quick but effective decision on how to improve.

Met deadlines - used the project management calendar successfully, and ensured I was always a few days ahead of schedule.Structure of each objectives - using sub sections and the PEEEL format Finding/using sources - I effectively found many journals and books linked directly to certain points I made. I was able to navigate through these quickly to find the infomation I needed to prevent wasting time.Evaluating between factors - I linked theories and compared opinions of different critics

10. Successes and Challenges



Word count - I had to cut down some of the content, particularly my first objective. In hindsight, this made my report less descriptive and more concise.I fell behind with my logs and had to complete later entries at the end of my project - this was a tiring process particularly for my activity log.The use of data, statistics and figures etc, did not apply to my report which I felt could reduce its quality. However, I used quotes from the play as evidence to support my points and applying the points and analysis of literary critics. This way I could still fulfil the criteria for the top band of AO2.

13. Development

What I would change if I did EPQ again

Made a detailed plan from the onset of the project as I had to spend extra time to make my second plan alot more detailed than the firstSpent less time looking for sources as I did not use around 1/3 of the sources I had found Written little but consistent amounts in my logs, particularly my activity log. Many of the entries I had to retrospectively complete which took longer than if I had added in changes/progress as I was making themConsidered choosing a topic more closely related to my career in scientific research. However, EPQ has taught me valuable transferable skills that can be applied to any career such as decision making, critical thinking and report writing.

Prevents a huge workload when the final deadline approaches - and allows you to pace yourself well enough so there is time at the end of the project to proof read and make final changes

This helps to quickly find sources related to points you are making

  • Keep track of the content/ useful points in your sources

12. Advice

Recommendations/ Advice for EPQ students

  • Set deadlines and stick to them
  • Pick a topic that you are interested in and one that is also related to your future career/course

Always have a plan - whether it is rough or detailed, on the basic structure of your report. This will save a lot of time when writing the report, and allow you to easily make changes to different objectives, which can also be recorded in your logs.

  • Planning is just as important as writing the report.
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The visual content is a transversal, universal language, like music. We are able to understand images from thousands of years ago, even from other cultures. We don't like boring. We don't want to be repetitive. Communicating in the same way is boring and doesn't engage. We do it differently. We sabotage boredom. We create what the brain likes to consume because it stimulates it.