Thursday, 30 May 2013

IELTS Scientific Research Essay

This is an IELTS scientific research essay.
For this essay, you need to discuss whether the funding and controlling of scientific research should be the responsibility of the government or private organizations.

This is a fairly complex topic so you may want to do an internet search and do some reading about it before you attempt to write a practice answer.
The model answer below puts forward two ideas against private organizations holding such responsibility.
However, there are further arguments around the topic in opposition to this, but with 40 minutes to plan and write your answer you will need to choose carefully which ideas you want to present.
Another way to approach this scientific research essay would be to present ideas for and ideas against.



You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Write about the following topic:
Governments should be responsible for funding and controlling scientific research rather than private organizations.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own experience or knowledge.
You should write at least 250 words.

  Scientific Research Essay - Model Answer

Undertaking scientific research is imperative if countries want to progress and compete in a globalized world. However, the funding and controlling of this research remains a contentious issue. In my opinion, the government should have the predominant responsibility for this.

One of the first issues is the knowledge that we gain from research. If governments are responsible then they are driven by the need to make advances in knowledge in order to improve people’s lives. This is because they are accountable to the public and the research is paid for by taxes. On the other hand, private organizations are driven by profit. This may mean that some research that could be valuable to society may not begin because there is no monetary gain.

Another disadvantage related to this is the research process. When the funding for research comes from the same organization that can be expected to gain from a favorable outcome, there is a strong potential for biased results. Taking drugs companies as an example, governments usually require rigorous trials for new drugs that can take many years. The companies have large amounts of money invested in such research and the need for positive results is paramount. It is difficult for a scientist to remain impartial in these circumstances. However, if this is controlled and funded by governments, their accountability means that such conflicts of interest are less likely to occur.

On balance, I would argue that although it is not realistic to remove all opportunities for privately funded research, governments should have the main responsibility for the monitoring and controlling of this. Strong checks and balances need to be in place to ensure future research is ethical and productive.
(281 Words)


The essay is well organized. The opinion is clearly presented in the introduction and this opinion is then supported in the body paragraphs and summarized again in the conclusion.
There are topic sentences which state clearly what each paragraph is about:
One of the first issues is the knowledge that we gain from research.
Another disadvantage related to this is the research process.
The body paragraphs then go on to develop each idea giving reasons and examples. There is no repetition of ideas.
There is some good use of high level vocabulary, phrases and collocations such as "imperative", "contentious", "accountable", "monetary gain", "favourable outcome", "rigorous", "paramount", and "remain impartial".
There is also a good mix of complex sentences with examples of adverbial clauses, relative clauses and noun clauses.

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