beginning of content:

Important Updates

2021-22 AP Research Presentation Guidance
AP Capstone presentations can be delivered in a remote or in-person setting.  Learn more.

AP Classroom and AP Daily
AP Classroom and AP Daily Teachers and students can access short, searchable AP Daily videos in AP Classroom. These videos will cover every proficiency outlined in the CED, which you’ll see on your AP Classroom Course Resources page. Videos can be assigned as homework to encourage students to watch on their own, so you can use class time to focus discussions where students need more help, whether teaching online, in person, or both.

Sign In to AP Classroom

Note: The following information and resources are for AP Research teachers at participating AP Capstone™ schools. In order to offer AP Research, schools must apply through the AP Program to participate in AP Capstone, and they must first offer AP Seminar. In addition, teachers attend mandatory training. For more information, visit the AP Capstone Diploma program page.

Course Overview

AP Research, the second course in the AP Capstone experience, allows students to deeply explore an academic topic, problem, issue, or idea of individual interest. Students design, plan, and implement a yearlong investigation to address a research question. Through this inquiry, they further the skills they acquired in the AP Seminar course by learning research methodology, employing ethical research practices, and accessing, analyzing, and synthesizing information. Students reflect on their skill development, document their processes, and curate the artifacts of their scholarly work through a process and reflection portfolio. The course culminates in an academic paper of 4,000–5,000 words (accompanied by a performance, exhibit, or product where applicable) and a presentation with an oral defense.

Course Content

Based on the Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe) model, the curriculum framework is intended to provide a clear and detailed description of the course requirements necessary for student success. This conceptualization will guide the development and organization of learning outcomes from general to specific, resulting in focused statements about content knowledge and skills needed for success in the course.

The AP Research curriculum is made up of five big ideas. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

  • Big Idea 1: Question and Explore
  • Big Idea 2: Understand and Analyze 
  • Big Idea 3: Evaluate Multiple Perspectives
  • Big Idea 4: Synthesize Ideas
  • Big Idea 5: Team, Transform, and Transmit

Skill Categories

The AP Research framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills, called transferrable skills and proficiencies, that students should practice throughout the year.

Skill Proficiencies

Produce Scholarly Work

Establish Argument

Demonstrating the significance of one’s research by explaining the rationale behind the choices made in the research process and logically connecting the findings to one’s conclusions or new understandings

Select and Use Evidence

Evaluating the significance of the findings, results, or product to the purpose or goal of one’s inquiry and strategically choosing such evidence to effectively support claims

Employ Research Practices

Research Design

Narrowing a focus of inquiry and identifying an aligned, ethical, feasible approach or method to accomplish the purpose of the research question and/or project goal

Analyze Sources and Evidence

Understand and Analyze Argument

Analyzing evidence for what is known about one’s topic of inquiry to further focus and situate one’s research question or project goal

Evaluate Sources and Evidence

Evaluating the credibility, relevance, and significance of sources and evidence to the choices made in the inquiry process

Understand Context and Perspective

Understand and Analyze Context

Contextualizing the purpose and significance of one’s topic of inquiry within a broader field or discipline

Communicate (interpersonal and intrapersonal)

Engage Audience

Choosing and employing effective written and oral communication techniques, considering audience, context, and purpose to convey and defend conclusions or new understandings

Apply Conventions

Choosing and consistently applying an appropriate citation style and effective conventions of writing


Working constructively with others to accomplish a team goal or task


Identifying challenges, successes, and moments of insight throughout one’s inquiry, which transformed one’s own thinking and reasoning

AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education site features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

Meet the Development Committee for AP Research.