Big Questions, Little Questions

Critical thinking skills for sixth form students, from the University of Oxford


Activity Type: In-school workshops and at-University student conference / online resource

Aim: To increase students’ confidence in their capacity to progress to Higher Education by developing and enhancing academic skills in critical thinking

Year Group: Year 12

Gatsby Benchmarks: 7

Description: BQLQ is a programme of activities to develop academic capacity in sixth form students, improving their confidence and resilience to transition to university. It covers developing an independent research question, developing critical skills, and demonstrating critical thinking in assessment.

Our Big Questions Little Questions in-school workshops are delivered by research students at the University of Oxford. These in-school workshops either support the development of students’ critical thinking skills and/or students starting the Extended Project Qualification.

Our conference at the University is supported by undergraduate and research students, academic staff, and other professionals. It helps students develop a systematic and critical approach to research and their study skills, including:

  • Developing a research question
  • Academic reading
  • Note-taking (lectures and written materials)
  • Critical thinking for writing
  • Designing a questionnaire
  • Presentation skills (visual and verbal)

Our supporting online resources (coming soon) feature undergraduate and postgraduates. While in-person visits are currently under review due to COVID-19, we encourage you to use this alternative provision.

This free programme is developed and delivered by the University of Oxford for Study Higher. Provision for 2020-21 is currently under review.

NEW! Free online Big Questions Little Questions Resources

We’ve converted two of our Big Questions Little Questions workshops into free, online open access resources. Led our student hosts guide you through how to develop your critical thinking approaches and how to formulate good research questions for independent study (particularly good for EPQs).


If you are a member of school staff who would like to find out more about Study Higher opportunities from the University of Oxford, please pop us an email.

Eligibility criteria may apply to access our programmes.

Our Study Higher programmes

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