It’s just a paper
The myth is worse than the reality
You will spend more time worrying and whining than working
Just do it
It’s like baking a cake – follow the recipe
We will cover today...
the basic definition of what an EE is
the available subjects
how to find a good topic
steps to take to finish EE and their deadlines
It is NOT a review of the literature
It is NOT a book report or plot summary
It is NOT everything you ever learned about
It is NOT your opinion, your thoughts, or
a mandatory part of the IB diploma
a grade on your transcript
with TOK, it can contribute up to 3 bonus
points to your IB diploma
independent research supervised by a
teacher on a topic YOU choose from one
of the IB subject areas you are taking at
presented in 4000 words
in accordance with IB requirements
preparation for independent research
expected by universities
written in a scholarly voice
What is it not?What is it?
Getting to the Research Question
■ Choose a SUBJECT Start first with the list of IB-approved Subjects. So first think
“English,” or “History,” etc. Then, consulting with your supervisor, determine a Research Question that targets a specific and
limited Topic within that subject. Finally: You cannot use IB-required work from other courses as your IA – e.g., your
Historical Investigation, IOP’s, etc.
■ Choose a TOPIC within that subject
■ Choose a narrow RESEARCH
QUESTION that will focus your
research and argument.
You can write an EE in any of the following IB subject you are enrolled:
Group 1: Language A: English Literature
Group 3: Individuals & Societies: History, Global Politics
Group 6: Visual Arts, Theater, Film
For Group 2 (Language B: English, German, French), Group 4 (Sciences-Chemistry, Physics, Biology,
Environmental Systems & Societies) Group 5 (Mathematics) or World Studies you need pre approval from a
Subject Advisor and EE Coordinator. You cannot write an EE in Anthropology.
A few Subjects that we do not offer that can be managed pretty well in Extended Essays and that students
have had success in: World Religions and Philosophy. However, you must examine the official Subject Guides
for those courses and get approval from a subject advisor and the EE Coordinator.
Choosing a Subject
■ Step 1:Know thyself
■ Step 2: Review the Guidelines and
■ Step 3: Read Sample EE’s
Choosing a Topic
■ If you’re not confused, you haven’t
spent enough time on it yet.
■ Keep reading.
■ If you haven’t changed your mind,
you haven’t spent enough time on it
■ Read some more.
The Research Question
■ The MOST important part of the
essay. There are NO good essays
with BAD research questions.
■ Think of the RQ as the map for the
essay – don’t create a map to
Advice to Students: Do NOT…
■ …forget to analyze/answer the question
■ …ignore the EE rubric
■ …waste time collecting data irrelevant to your
■ …surf the Internet aimlessly, repeatedly, with
■ …show lack of discipline in citing sources
■ …describe or report other information
■ …cite sources that aren’t used in paper
■ Use knowledge in subject area to provide
advice and guidance to students
■ Helps define research question
■ Aids in the research process
■ Reads and comments on rough draft
■ Submits a predicted grade to the IBO
■ Conducts the viva voce with student
■ Reports plagiarism, if suspected
Total marks available: 34
Criterion A: focus and
Criterion B: knowledge and
Criterion C: critical
Marks Marks Marks Marks Marks
6 6 12 4 6
Total marks available: 34
Know the Criteria!
The topic is communicated accurately and effectively.
Identification and explanation of the research topic is effectively communicated; the purpose and focus
of the research is clear and appropriate.
The research question is clearly stated and focused.
The research question is clear and addresses an issue of research that is appropriately connected to the
discussion in the essay.
Methodology of the research is complete.
An appropriate range of relevant source(s) and/or method(s) have been applied in relation to the topic
and research question.
There is evidence of effective and informed selection of sources and/or methods.
Criterion A: Focus and method
This criterion focuses on the topic, the research question and the methodology. It assesses the explanation of the focus of the
research (this includes the topic and the research question), how the research will be undertaken, and how the focus is
maintained throughout the essay.
Criterion B: Knowledge and understanding
This criterion assesses the extent to which the research relates to the subject area/discipline used to explore the research question,
or in the case of the world studies extended essay, the issue addressed and the two disciplinary perspectives applied, and
additionally the way in which this knowledge and understanding is demonstrated through the use of appropriate terminology and
Knowledge and understanding is excellent.
● The selection of source materials is clearly relevant and appropriate to the research question.
● Knowledge of the topic/discipline(s)/issue is clear and coherent and sources are used effectively and with
Use of terminology and concepts is good.
● The use of subject-specific terminology and concepts is accurate and consistent, demonstrating effective knowledge
Criterion C: Critical thinking
This criterion assesses the extent to which critical-thinking skills have been used to analyse and evaluate the research
The research is excellent.
The research is appropriate to the research question and its application is consistently relevant.
Analysis is excellent.
The research is analysed effectively and clearly focused on the research question; the inclusion of less relevant
research does not significantly detract from the quality of the overall analysis.
Conclusions to individual points of analysis are effectively supported by the evidence.
Discussion/evaluation is excellent.
An effective and focused reasoned argument is developed from the research with a conclusion reflective of the evidence
This reasoned argument is well structured and coherent; any minor inconsistencies do not hinder the strength of the
overall argument or the final or summative conclusion.
The research has been critically evaluated.
Criterion D: Presentation
This criterion assesses the extent to which the presentation follows the standard format expected for academic writing and the
extent to which this aids effective communication.
Presentation is good.
● The structure of the essay clearly is appropriate in terms of the expected conventions for the topic, the argument and
subject in which the essay is registered.
● Layout considerations are present and applied correctly (title page, table of contents, page numbers, section
headings (where appropriate), effective inclusion of quotations, bibliography and correct MLA referencing).
● The structure and layout support the reading, understanding and evaluation of the extended essay.
Criterion E: Engagement
This criterion assesses the student’s engagement with their research focus and the research process. It will be applied by the
examiner at the end of the assessment of the essay, after considering the student’s Reflections on planning and progress form.
Engagement is excellent.
● Reflections on decision-making and planning are evaluative and include reference to the student’s capacity to consider
actions and ideas in response to setbacks experienced in the research process.
● These reflections communicate a high degree of intellectual and personal engagement with the research focus and
process of research, demonstrating authenticity, intellectual initiative and/or creative approach in the student voice.
Engagement with the process: the student has engaged in discussions with their supervisor in the planning and progress of
their research; the student is able to reflect on and refine the research process, and react to insights gained through the
exploration of their research question; the student is able to evaluate decisions made throughout the research process and
suggest improvements for their own working practices.
Engagement with their research focus: an insight into the student’s thinking, intellectual initiative and creative approach
through reflections on the thought and research process; the extent to which the student voice is present rather than that of the
supervisor and academics; is the student’s engagement reflected?
It’s all about analysis
■ Use EVIDENCE, DATA not
description, chronological lists.
■ This is not a ‘report.”
■ It’s an argument with supporting
■ This is NOT a review of the
literature—your voice must come
through loud and clear.
It’s about the rules!
■ Read the Guidelines
■ Make sure your RQ is in the right
Subject – your essay will be submitted
to an examiner in YOUR subject
■ Follow Directions!
It’s about the sources!
■ Do not rely uncritically on Internet sources
■ Analyze your sources IN your essay
■ Primary sources over secondary sources
■ No encyclopedia-like sources
■ No City textbooks
■ No Wikipedia!!
■ Range and balance of sources
● due dates
● subject guides/rubrics, etc.
● how to access databases
● research guides
Libguide: Everything You Need to Know
Process and Deadlines (on handout)
The Planning Phase to be completed by 11/1, First Quarter Grade will reflect completion.
• Make sure you are familiar with the Criteria of Assessment • Read through other extended essays in your
subject that have had a good score. • Read the extended essay subject reports. • Gain background knowledge
• Ensure that you have sufficient material for your research • Pick your topic and research question
The Research Phase to be completed by 1/17, Second Quarter Grade will reflect completion.
Annotated Bibliography/Outline/Discovery Draft
The Writing Phase to be completed by 3/20, Third Quarter Grade will reflect full Draft grade.
The Polishing Phase to be completed by 6/9, Fourth Quarter Grade will reflect final Extended Essay grade.
To get started on picking a topic, consider following prompts:
■ PROMPT 1: Think about the classes that you have here at I.B. Which is your favorite class
(English, Spanish, History, Math, Visual Arts)? What do you enjoy about this class? Which is
your second favorite class? Why?
■ PROMPT 2: What are your real strengths in these classes: Are you an avid and perceptive
reader? Do you excel at close-text analysis? Are you fascinated by wars and conflicts in
history? Do you have a gift for evaluating the positions of different historians and analyzing
primary sources? Are you a concrete problem solver? Are you more of a visual learner? Do art
and artistic technique speak to you in ways that words and numbers cannot?
■ PROMPT 3: What aspects of the disciplines interest you the most? Think about units or
subjects that you have studied, and look for offshoots of these. You cannot compose an
extended essay on a topic that regurgitates a unit you study in class, but you can pick a topic
with some overlap. For example, you can pursue an author, an artist, a style, or an historic
event.. What are some topics that you would like to know more about? What would you like to