Chemistry Depth Study Ideas and Topics

Looking for ideas and topics for your Chemistry depth study assessment? Check out our comprehensive list of depth study topics and examples.

Looking for Chemistry depth study ideas and topics?

The most important part of your depth study assessment is deciding on the idea and topic. This is especially challenging if you are given a depth study at the start of Year 12 since you haven’t been exposed to the concept and topics covered in the HSC Chemistry syllabus.

In this article, we discuss ideas and topics for:


Ideas and Topics for Chemistry Depth Study

For each Chemistry depth study type, we’ve outlined topics under each module. You might be interested in exploring these for your assessment.

Remember there are five different depth study types:

  1. Practical investigation
  2. Secondary-sourced investigation
  3. Creating
  4. Data analysis
  5. Field work

To understand the different types, read the article Chemistry depth study | Comprehensive Guide.


Ideas and topics for depth study type: Practical investigation

There are 3 different ideas suggested by NESA for the ‘Practical Investigation’ depth study type:

  1. Design and conduct experiments
  2. Test a device
  3. Test a claim


Examples of some practical investigations are listed below.

Equilibrium and Acid ReactionsDesign and conduct experimentsSolution Equilibria: Conduct a set of experiments manipulating solubility equilibria to determine the optimal conditions for crystallisation.
Acid / Base ReactionsDesign and conduct experiments

Test a device

Buffers: Design and conduct an experiment to validate the Henderson-Hasselbalch equation.

Quantitative Analysis: Assess the accuracy and limitations of pH meters in determining the concentration of hydronium ions in solution.

Organic ChemistryTest a claimEnergy Production from Alcohols: Validate the claim that oxygenated organic compounds are more prone to undergoing complete combustion.
Applying Chemical IdeasDesign and conduct experimentsAnalysis of Inorganic Substances: Design and conduct a gravimetric analysis to assess the accuracy of a colourimeter.


Ideas and topics for depth study type: Secondary-sourced investigation

There are 9 different ideas suggested for the depth study type ‘Secondary-sourced Investigation’ by NESA:

  1. Make a documentary or media report
  2. Conduct a literature review
  3. Develop an evidence-based argument
  4. Write a journal article
  5. Write an essay – historical or theoretical
  6. Develop an environmental management plan
  7. Analyse a work of fiction or film for scientific relevance
  8. Create a visual presentation
  9. Investigate emerging technologies.


Examples of some secondary-sourced investigations are listed below.

Equilibrium and Acid ReactionsMake a documentary or media reportEquilibria in Industry: Create a documentary or media report to discuss the global impact of the development of the Haber Process.
Acid / Base reactionsWrite an essayProperties of Acids and Bases: Write a detailed theoretical essay to investigate the anomaly in the trend of acid strength of hydrogen halides (HF, HCl, HBr, HI).

Theories of Acids and Bases: Write a historical essay which discusses the evidence which led to the evolution of the definition of acids and bases.

Organic ChemistryDevelop an evidence-based argument


Write a journal article

Organic reactions: Research organic reaction mechanisms and write a detailed explanation of Markovnikov’s rule and relative the rate of reactions of primary, secondary and tertiary alcohols.

Isomerism in Organic Chemistry: Write a journal article which explores the importance of optical isomerism in medicinal applications.

Applying Chemical IdeasCreate a visual presentation



Conduct a literature review

Investigate emerging technologies

Analysis of Organic Substances: Create a poster or video to present the components and processes of different analytical instruments such as mass spectrometry, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.

Mass Spectrometry: Conduct a literature review to determine the current applications of mass spectrometry in forensics.

Spectroscopy: Research innovative analytical techniques such as Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES).


Ideas and topics for depth study type: Creating

There are 3 different ideas suggested for the depth study type ‘Creating’ by NESA:

  1. Design and invent
  2. Create a working model
  3. Create a portfolio


Examples of some Creating are listed below.

Equilibrium and Acid ReactionsCreate a working modelDynamic Equilibrium: Create a physical, visual or computer model of a dynamic equilibrium which can effectively showcase Le Chatelier’s principle in action.
Acid / Base ReactionsDesign and inventAcid/Base Indicators: Invent a universal indicator which can detect small incremental changes in pH. For example, create an indicator which changes colour every two pH units starting from pH = 0 and up to pH = 14.
Organic ChemistryDesign and inventBiofuels: Design a small scale biogas digester which can be implemented in small farms and backyards.
Applying Chemical IdeasDesign and inventChemical Synthesis and Design: Design an optimised production process to synthesise a compound of interest. Consider raw materials, energy, waste management, cost, safety and operating conditions.


Ideas and topics for depth study type: Data Analysis

There are 3 different ideas suggested for the depth study type ‘Data Analysis’ by NESA:

  1. Construction and analysis of graphs/tables
  2. Data analysis from a variety of sources
  3. Research analysis, eg of longitudinal data, resource management data


Examples of some data analysis are listed below.

Equilibrium and Acid ReactionsData analysis from a variety of sourcesFactors that Affect Equilibrium: Analyse a series of data and graphs to determine the most influential factor which affects the position of a chosen chemical equilibrium.
Acid / Base ReactionsData analysis from a variety of sourcesBuffers: Collect and analyse data to investigate the connection between global warming, increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations and ocean acidification.
Organic ChemistryResearch analysis, eg of longitudinal data, resource management dataBiofuels: Research and analyse data from various industries to determine the carbon footprint for the production and use of bioethanol as a fuel source.
Applying Chemical IdeasConstruction and analysis of graphs/tablesAnalysis of Inorganic Substances: Construct and analyse tables and graphs to determine the impact of CFCs on the global ozone levels. Hence justify the importance of chemical monitoring and management.



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Written by Hee-Chan Jang

Hee-Chan is the author of Chemistry resources on Learnable. He loves teaching and helping students to "learn smarter", using his multidisciplinary knowledge of science and engineering. He is also currently completing his doctoral degree in mineral processing at The University of Sydney.

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