'An Exploration of the Eradication of Cystic Fibrosis'
Agatha explored the potential eradication of cystic fibrosis in her EPQ, speaking to professionals in the medical field including CS consultant Dr Frank Edenborough, based at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield, to influence her own survey collecting data on how the disease is discussed, as well as researching how CS is talked about using reactions to real-life stories and situations published in the media. She remained focused on her project by researching the fascinating depth of scientific information available on the research and drugs that aim to cure the disease.
Why did you choose this topic?
I was interested in the impact of cystic fibrosis on people's lives. In my opinion, it is a disease that is relatively hidden; not many people know about it nor have seen it before. As it primarily affects the respiratory system and mucus within the body, symptoms are not always displayed for all to see. I was also interested in exploring how Cystic Fibrosis was displayed in the media, and whether media can change people's perceptions on the disease. I found it was often romanticised in order to contribute to an 'interesting' storyline.
What sources did you use for your research?
I knew it was important to contact professionals in the medical field, specifically those who work on respiratory wards and so experience patients diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis on a regular basis, to get a clear perspective on the disease and its effects both biologically and personally for those affected. I also collected primary data to understand how people around me feel about the disease and to help build my own opinions, by creating a survey to draw my own conclusions from and note any trends.
What did you enjoy?
To investigate the eradication of Cystic Fibrosis was very interesting and never once boring. I loved exploring the science behind the topic as well as how the disease affected lives of patients and their family. Interviewing medical professionals was another key part in my investigation that I enjoyed - the advice and other information that they were able to give me hugely benefited my project, as it allowed me to understand the experiences they have with the disease and how they believe it is developing.
What did you learn?
I believe the research and reference skills that I have gained will be beneficial to my future, as the process requires a lot of hard work, detail and perseverance. I have also learned how to work with and against the prospect of bias - something that ensured my facts were genuine and reliable.