2015 – 2020 Area of Study: Discovery

Updated 15 June 2014:

I’ve previously tutored Discovery as a preliminary Area of Study, but now it’s actually come around to be the upcoming Area of Study for 2015 to 2020 HSC years!

What is Discovery?

1. the act, process, or an instance of discovering
2. a person, place, or thing that has been discovered
Synonyms for discovery are:
  • finding out, news, announcement, revelation, disclosure, realization
  • invention, launch, institution, introduction, pioneering, innovation, initiation, inauguration, induction, coinage, origination
  • breakthrough, find, finding, development, advance, leap, coup, invention, step forward, godsend, quantum leap
  • finding, turning up, locating, revelation, uncovering, disclosure, detection, unearthing, espial
  • self discovery, rediscovery

Concepts about Discovery?

What can we discover?

Discoveries can be physical, emotional and intellectual. They can be personal and societal. They may be about something that was previously unknown, forgotten or lost.

How do we make discoveries?

Curiosity, amongst other things, can be a catalyst for discovery. In those cases, discoveries are sought by the discoverer. In other cases, discoveries may be unintentional. We may stumble across them and inadvertently make the discovery without meaning to.

In the process of discovery, we may have to take risks, venture into the unknown, conquer our fears and make sacrifices.

What is the significance of discoveries?

Discoveries are often very powerful and result in the discoverer changing/transforming in some way. Their perception and attitude towards themselves, others or things can be altered by what they discover. Unfortunately, discoveries can also result in disappointments. What we discover may shatter our ideals about someone or something, resulting in a loss of hope or innocence. In this way, discoveries are integral to an individual’s development and maturation in life – they result in new knowledge, awareness and understanding.

What does the audience discover through the text?

An additional way to analyse a text in terms of discovery is to look at what the audience, who is taken along with the characters in their story, discover about human society and themselves.

Discovery quotes:

A discovery is said to be an accident meeting a prepared mind. – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893 – 1986)

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought. – Albert Szent-Gyorgyi (1893 – 1986), in Irving Good, The Scientist Speculates (1962)

One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time. – Andre Gide (1869 – 1951)

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance – it is the illusion of knowledge. – Daniel J. Boorstin (1914 – )

There is a theory which states that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened. – Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001)

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. – Galileo Galilei (1564 – 1642)

Mistakes are the portals of discovery. – James Joyce (1882 – 1941)

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes, in seeing the universe with the eyes of another, of hundreds of others, in seeing the hundreds of universes that each of them sees. – Marcel Proust

There is no harm in doubt and skepticism, for it is through these that new discoveries are made. – Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988), Letter to Armando Garcia J, December 11, 1985

He who never made a mistake never made a discovery. – Samuel Smiles

We have what we seek. It is there all the time, and if we give it time it will make itself known to us. – Thomas Merton

What is there that confers the noblest delight? What is that which swells a man’s breast with pride above that which any other experience can bring to him? Discovery! To know that you are walking where none others have walked; that you are beholding what human eye has not seen before; that you are breathing a virgin atmosphere. To give birth to an idea, to discover a great thought — an intellectual nugget, right under the dust of a field that many a brain-plough had gone over before. To find a new planet, to invent a new hinge, to find a way to make the lightning carry your messages. To be the first — that is the idea. – Mark Twain

It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between. – Diane Ackerman

We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time. – TS Eliot

Related texts:


  • Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
  • So Much To Tell You by John Marsden
  • Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta
  • Memoir of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  • The Boy In The Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Gullivers Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte
  • Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
  • 1984 by George Orwell

Short Story

  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • Big World by Tim Winton


  • Son of Man by Phil Collins
  • Easy Does It by Bruce Dawe
  • Discovery by Wislawa Szymborska
  • At Seventeen by Janis Ian

TV Shows

  • LOST by JJ Abrams


  • The Matrix
  • Avatar
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • A Simple Plan
  • White Oleander

6 comments for “2015 – 2020 Area of Study: Discovery

  1. February 4, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    No students in Yr 11 this year should be studying Discovery as it is the HSC Area of Study for 2015. It is completely breaking Board of Studies rules to study the HSC area of Study in the Yr 11 course. I suggest you report the school to the Board of Studies !

    • Lyn
      September 20, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      “Previously tutored” and “but now it’s actually come around” both imply “in the past” before the prescriptions were released. Careful reading is an important skill for English teachers. Thanks for these thoughts on discovery!

  2. June 1, 2014 at 10:06 am

    brilliant post. i will be using this to prepare myself for 2015. Ignore the other commenter!

  3. Lola
    July 10, 2014 at 8:21 am

    Thank you for sharing this.

  4. isabel
    November 7, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    Very useful for my year 12 course
    Thanks so much!

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