We have been asked to conduct an analytic project for chemistry. It is important that the project conducted hold social implications and the conclusion achieved help inform people better. Several ideas have come to my mind for such projects, such as determining amount of phosphoric acid in cold drinks, acetic acid in fruits such as guava, amount of insecticides/pesticides in vegetables/fruits in the market. However, I am still yet to find an idea which is striking. I would like to do something unique. Any suggestions?

  • $\begingroup$ Amount of pesticides on fruits? That's really hard to find out! $\endgroup$ – M.A.R. Mar 26 '15 at 15:19
  • $\begingroup$ @MARamezani I realized that after I came up with the idea. But at least estimating it would be viable? $\endgroup$ – Gummy bears Mar 26 '15 at 15:21
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    $\begingroup$ I've replace the new tags with one already used here: everyday-chemistry. I hope you're fine with that. $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Mar 26 '15 at 15:51

As you might have guessed: It depends!

  1. What is the educational level of the study (High School, College, etc.)?
  2. What's the time frame - how many man-hours?
  3. What's the equipment of the lab?
  4. If equipment or material has to be bought: What is the budget?
  5. Is it a plain academic study or is it intended to go public with the results in order to change/improve consumer awareness?

"Something unique" might mean that

  • there are no reference data
  • it is too "academic" to have social implications (or at least that it will be difficult to explain to the public that it actually has)

What about something as "boring" as sugar content in local soft drink brands as compared to similar products on the international market? I'm sure you'll find lots of references, such as this.

Go for something that is relevant for the average Joe Bloggs. Go for something that can be bought thoughout the while time of the study, just in can you have to repeat measurements or need to cover seasonal variations. If it is a fresh, seasonal product, you might have to plan ahead and stockpile and deep-freeze material.

In the end, it is up to you to decide - planning and outlining the study is part of the project.

Speaking of relevance for the average consumer: Everybody needs excrete - but you do not want to examine that. Fortunately, everybody needs to eat too and seemingly, a lot of people tend to eat too much of the wrong stuff. The recent report of the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee might give some directions what to look for.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm currently studying in 12th grade. We have approximately 6 months to fully conduct the project, but we have to submit the idea in 1 week. Equipment should not be an issue. It is not required to actually go to the public, but during writing the report, I need to mention how the conclusion of my experiment helps to increase consumer awareness. I will have to do something "boring" if nothing else comes to mind. $\endgroup$ – Gummy bears Mar 26 '15 at 15:27
  • $\begingroup$ @Gummybears Don't worry about the "boring", as long it is carefully conducted, related to known data and well presented. Most of the work is 5% inspiration and 95% transpiration ;) $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Mar 26 '15 at 15:53
  • $\begingroup$ That's the difficult part. I wanted to turn those figures around xD $\endgroup$ – Gummy bears Mar 26 '15 at 15:56
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    $\begingroup$ @Gummybears Rumour has that everybody wants to achieve more with less. Experience tells that days and nights in the lab can be very long and frustrating ;) $\endgroup$ – Klaus-Dieter Warzecha Mar 26 '15 at 15:59

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