THE IB EXTENDED ESSAY Problems of supervision and How to help the student
THE EXTENDED ESSAY What is it? How do I get started? Good and Bad Research Questions Some Common Problems
Basic Facts Personal research by the student On a question or hypothesis chosen by the student, not assigned by the teacher In a subject or discipline listed by the IB (e.g., NOT Linguistics, Sociology or Mathematical Economics) In the format of a formal research paper
Basic Facts Length 4,000 words not including appendices, illustrations, bibliography, footnotes or endnotes with an abstract within 300 words
Basic Facts Required for the IB Diploma Counts towards additional diploma points along with Theory of Knowledge Assessed according to published criteria
WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE EXTENDED ESSAY? The student The student’s supervisor EE Coordinator (librarian) The IB Coordinator The International Baccalaureate Organization
HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC Decide which subject interests you the most. Without personal curiosity and interest, it’s impossible to do research.
HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC In that subject, make a list of the topical areas in the subject that interest you the most.
Discuss this list with your teacher your friends your parents and/or anyone else who you think may be able to give you advice or be interested. HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC
Choose an area from this list, and read more in this area - if possible, with advice from your supervisor.
HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC While reading, try and list questions that you are curious about. THIS MUST BE DONE RIGHT THROUGH THE RESEARCH PROCESS, SO....
KEEP A RESEARCH DIARY! TOOLS http://researchstory.wikispaces.com/ Wikihttp://researchstory.wikispaces.com/ De.licio.us
Ask yourself what data you might need to answer these questions whether you will have access to the data whether you will need to find other sources of data See whether there has been any research by others in this area. HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC
Consult the librarian for help with tracking down research papers or writings, and read the abstracts.
HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC Ask what methods you will need to adopt to answer the questions you have in mind.
HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC Brainstorm Draw spider diagrams of questions and issues and connections between them.
HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC Narrow down the number and scope of your questions as you proceed.
HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC Consult your supervisor at each stage, and in case of difficulty.
HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC EXPECT TO CHANGE YOUR MIND SEVERAL TIMES BEFORE YOU FINALLY SETTLE ON A TOPIC.
One formulated by the student out of his/her own curiosity or interest Non-trivial (i.e., substantial, not speculative or too limited in scope, not self-evident) Sharply enough focused so that the student can answer it in 4,000 words. WHAT IS A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION?
EXAMPLE OF A BAD RESEARCH QUESTION HISTORY Why did the Emperor Claudius have a limp?
EXAMPLE OF A BAD RESEARCH QUESTION BIOLOGY What causes genetic disease?
EXAMPLE OF A BAD RESEARCH QUESTION MATHEMATICS Why is the duodecimal system important?
EXAMPLE OF A BAD RESEARCH QUESTION GEOGRAPHY Does Beijing have a central business district?
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION ECONOMICS Is there a connexion between international coffee prices and living standards in Uganda?
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION BIOLOGY The ecology of snails in the Koç School campus.
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION HISTORY The establishment of foreign schools in China in the 19 th century
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION GEOGRAPHY How has migration affected land use patterns in Van province?
COMMON PROBLEMS WITH EXTENDED ESSAYS Students discover too late that there is too little data, or data is inaccessible.
COMMON PROBLEMS WITH EXTENDED ESSAYS Bad pacing of the research and writing process
COMMON PROBLEMS WITH EXTENDED ESSAYS PLAGIARISM The use of the work of other authors (texts, data, creative productions, oral statements OR ideas) without proper acknowledgement, with the effect that it appears to be the plagiarist’s own work or idea.
COMMON PROBLEMS WITH EXTENDED ESSAYS Students discover too late that their knowledge of the subject is not deep enough.
COMMON PROBLEMS WITH EXTENDED ESSAYS Ethical issues regarding gathering of data or performing of experiments
COMMON PROBLEMS WITH EXTENDED ESSAYS No contribution by the student – the extended essay is a compilation of information from other sources.
EXTENDED ESSAY ADVISORY SESSION with STUDENTS Wednesday afternoon sessions
What do these sessions cover? Where you should be in the process now. What you need to do if you are not there. Possible problems at this stage, and what to do about them. Tips and pitfalls Discussion with subject teachers and librarian.
Where should you be in the EE process by end of school year? You should have: Assembled the material and bibliography for your research Performed experiments (where required) Recorded data or observations on which your research is based. Written up research notes Outlined your analysis Started writing the First DRAFT
What you need to do if you are not there Decide whether you still want the IB diploma. If you do… Show your supervisor what you have done Ask for advice. Spend more time on the EE research process to complete what needs to be done up to the first draft. Submit a first draft with what you have, and try and improve on it AFTER it is returned to you with your supervisor’s comments.
What you SHOULD NOT do if you are not there DON’T PANIC! Don’t give up. No extended essay means NO IB DIPLOMA. Don’t PROCRASTINATE and DELAY, or pretend that the problem will go away.
Possible Problems at this Stage 1 You have not focused your research question appropriately for the size of the essay or the discipline. The direction of your research may be contrary to the guidelines. You have not identified resources for answering your research question. You have not completed readings or experiments or the gathering of data for your research.
You find it difficult to organize, analyze or interpret the material or data required for your research. You find the material is insufficient or inconclusive for your research. You feel you don’t know enough in the discipline to be able to complete your research. Possible Problems at this Stage 2
If you have not focused your research question appropriately for the size of the essay or the discipline… Remember that your research question needs to be addressed in 4,000 words. Remember that the essay has to be firmly in one of the disciplines taught in the IB, e.g., English, History, Peace & Conflict Studies; but not Cultural Studies, Mathematical Economics, etc. Seek your supervisor’s guidance. Relate your essay to a specific thing, such as a novel, country, time, effect, law. The Ecology of Snails in the Koç School Campus is better than The Ecology of Turkey.
If the direction of your research is contrary to the guidelines… Check carefully from the Extended Essay Guide what the criteria for your essay are. Refocus the question and start again. (It may be too late to do this, so…) Complete the essay as you have started to the best of your ability, and hope for the best! Remember that NO ESSAY MEANS NO IB DIPLOMA.
If you have not identified all necessary resources… Tell your supervisor, and ask for advice. Seek help from the librarian to find various sources of information and/or ideas. Find people or institutions outside school that may be able to help you, and approach them.
If you have not completed readings or gathering data… Submit a first draft on the basis of what is available, and try to improve in the second draft. AND Complete the readings or data collection in time for your second draft.
If you find it difficult to organize, analyze or interpret the material or data required for your research… Seek your supervisor’s advice. Consider whether you need to re-word or re-think your research question. Look for theoretical frameworks or tools in your discipline that can help you analyze or interpret the material you have available.
If you find the material is inconclusive for your research… Speak to your supervisor. Re-examine the material and see whether you are missing something. Re-examine the theoretical “spectacles” with which you are viewing the material. Examine why it is inconclusive as part of the analysis and discussion in your essay.
If you feel you don’t know enough in the discipline to be able to complete your research… Seek help from your supervisor to find out what ideas, concepts, frameworks, tools or techniques will help you address the research question. Read more in the discipline in which you are doing the research. Seek help from professors or graduate students at universities to teach you what you need to know. (Your supervisor will probably not teach you, but may help you teach yourself. )
TIPS AND PITS Tips: Make sure your question is narrowly focused. It helps to exceed by about 20-30% the word limit in the first few drafts, and cut it back to the maximum of 4,000 for the final. Keep assessing each draft of your essay against the General and Subject Criteria in the Extended Essay Guide, or ask your supervisor to do so. Record ALL sources that you consult and use, and cite them carefully.
TIPS AND PITS More Tips: Keep a Research Diary or Journal or Notebook, especially a pocket-sized one that you can carry about and record any ideas that occur to you anywhere. Frequently draw spider diagrams to get the bigger picture, and make links that you know of, and look for other possible links that you may have missed. Make sure that you present, analyze and interpret data – not just present them! Use the technical vocabulary and concepts of the discipline in which you are working - don’t write like a journalist.
TIPS AND PITS STILL more tips: Remember that if you give up on the essay, you still need to hand in a Yearly Project, and you disqualify yourself from the IB Diploma. So… Complete the essay as best you can, even if you run into problems. That way you will have learnt something valuable! Write the Introduction LAST, so that you can give the reader a clear statement of the research question, and how you have addressed it (a “roadmap” of the essay).
TIPS AND PITS Pitfalls: Don’t neglect to refer to BOTH sections of your Extended Essay Guide FREQUENTLY. DON’T leave everything till the last. The deadlines for drafts are there to help you pace your work. They are not a monument to my alleged sadism! Do NOT rely entirely or mostly on web based resources because they often tend to be unreliable.
TIPS AND PITS Pitfalls: KEEP BACK-UPS (note the plural) OF ALL YOUR WORK. You will be surprised how well your computer knows when to crash. KEEP BACK-UPS (note the plural) OF ALL YOUR WORK. You will be surprised how well your computer knows when to crash. BEWARE OF PLAGIARISM (especially the unintentional kind)! The consequences are UNPLEASANT. BEWARE OF PLAGIARISM (especially the unintentional kind)! The consequences are UNPLEASANT.
HELPFUL WEBSITES There are several Online Writing Labs available with a wealth of information. Consider the following: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ Purdue Online Writing Lab http://owl.english.purdue.edu/ http://www.hamilton.edu/academic/Resource/WC/ind ex.html Hamilton college Writing Center http://www.hamilton.edu/academic/Resource/WC/ind ex.html http://web.mit.edu/writing/index.html MIT Online Writing and Communication Center http://web.mit.edu/writing/index.html http://webster.commnet.edu/mla/index.shtml A Guide for Writing Research Papers Based on Modern Language Association (MLA) Documentation http://webster.commnet.edu/mla/index.shtml
Due Dates These dates are expected to be met as well as other suggested due dates from the after-school sessions. 28 February: Introduction of Extended Essay 28 March: Submit possible topics and Subject with suggestions for supervisor 9-13 April: Meeting between student and supervisor 25 April: Narrowed research question/hypothesis/thesis 23 May: First draft completed 28 Aug: Post holiday conference/status 3-7 Sept: Presentation (oral) 26 Nov: Final Draft and bibliography 15 Jan: Final submission
Source Sen, Guatam. "Extended Essay Advisory Presentation." Online posting. 27 Nov. 2005. OCC Extended Essay Resources. 18 Mar. 2007.