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The Dalton Academy Independent Research Program provides another of the core experiences of a Dalton education. During each of the Senior 2 and Senior 3 years all students are required to complete an Independent Research Project (IRP) with the support of a faculty research supervisor and in-class equipping in fundamental research and academic writing skills.

Due to each student determining the subject of his or her own research study or project, along with gaining skills necessary for future learning in university and life, the IRP provides a rich opportunity for students to explore interests or possible disciplines for future study, demonstrate college readiness, and address any problems of personal concern.


In this information age, young scholars require the ability to think critically and creatively, as well as the confidence to act independently. The research project is an effective tool for students to develop these important skills and dispositions. Research projects allow students to explore in greater depth areas of personal academic interest and to demonstrate their dedication to pursuing knowledge for the sake of learning. Research promotes critical and creative thinking as well as the willingness and ability to act independently.

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The IRP TOP 10 Awards recognize the most outstanding student projects that account for the top 10% of each class. Prospective recipients of this award are recommended by their respective supervisors before being evaluated by an award selection committee consisting of high-profile faculty of Dalton. The recognition ceremony for IRP3 Best Projects is traditionally held at the end of the Spring semester, while the IRP2 ceremony is normally held in September of the following academic year. 


Selection of the award should follow 3 criteria: 

1. Rigorous research design, implementation, and analysis process 

2. Meaningful research topic that have social or personal significance

3. High quality academic writing


Students who receive the award will receive a certificate with a special gift from the IRP department. The awarded projects will also have opportunities to be published through Dalton’s student journal after a rigorous editorial process.


Choose a topic based on personal interests.

Determine and refine research questions.


Conduct a systematic survey of academic literature or artifacts relevant to their topic.

Select a suitable faculty advisor to supervise their research.


Design a research strategy to investigate the problem/question


or develop a plan to produce a product related to their topic.

Conduct their research or create a product. 


Present their findings in an academic paper and presentation or present their product along with an academic paper and presentation.

IRP Kicks Off the Dalton Rock Talk Series

"The intention is that we can have this as an open platform for people to speak for students to share the things that excite you, to share that with your community and others so that you can inspire your colleagues, inspire your teachers even."  

- IRP Director Wendi Cui

November 2021, Wang Runjing who was an IRP Top 10 Award recipient, keynoted the inaugural Dalton Rock Talk. The event involved a high level of coordination between Deputy Head of School Dr. Zeng Yao, Director of the IRP Program Ms. Wendi Cui and P.R. & Communications Strategist Ms. Hongshan Ma. The event was a smashing success. Since the inaugural event their have been three Dalton Rock talks which have provided students a platform to present on topics related to Research Openness Creativity and Knowledge (ROCK).

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