THE EXTENDED ESSAY What is it? How do I get started? Good and Bad Research Questions Some Common Problems
Basic Facts about the Extended Essay Requirement for the IB Diploma
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 Assessed according to published criteria Counts towards additional diploma points along with Theory of Knowledge
WHO IS INVOLVED IN THE EXTENDED ESSAY? The student The student’s supervisor The EE Coordinator The International Baccalaureate Organization
HOW TO CHOOSE A RESEARCH TOPIC 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 and 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.
WHAT IS A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION? 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.
Unsuccessful topics A topic that is too broad One that requires no personal research and relies only on secondary sources A topic with which the student has little or no personal engagement
EXAMPLE OF A BAD RESEARCH QUESTION ECONOMICS: Does globalization affect Sweden?
EXAMPLE OF A BAD RESEARCH QUESTION BIOLOGY: What causes cancer?
EXAMPLE OF A BAD RESEARCH QUESTION HISTORY: What would have happened to Turkey if the last Sultans had been more powerful?
EXAMPLE OF A BAD RESEARCH QUESTION GEOGRAPHY: Does Istanbul have a central business district? (variant of an example in The Extended Essay, IBO, 1998)
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION ECONOMICS: Is there a connection between international coffee prices and living standards in Uganda?
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION BIOLOGY: The ecology of snails in the Maria Park area.
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION HISTORY: The establishment of foreign schools in Turkey in the 19 th century
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION GEOGRAPHY: How has migration affected land use patterns in XXX 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.
WHERE TO GET HELP Ask your supervisor. Heed his or her advice
How your supervisor can help you Discuss the choice of topic - help you to formulate a well-focused research question and ensure that the research question is appropriate to the subject. Give advice on:Relevant resources (e.g. laboratory, library, Internet, people)Techniques on how to gather and analyse information, data and evidence
GOLDEN RULES Don’t be too ambitious, you are not going to find a cure for cancer Don’t be trivial. Be focussed Keep within the discipline of the subject – it is an academic essay.
KEY POINT Criteria A,; 1.”clearly and precisely stated, 2.sharply focussed and 3.effective treatment” Do point 1, and 2 and 3 follow naturally, and the essay will be of better quality. THE TITLE IS CRUCIAL
The Supervisor Will Not: Get you started and tell you what to do Give you a research question Give you the resources Edit your work Remind you of the deadlines Chase you to be able to read a draft and offer advice
Where to find more information? EE Blog 50 Excellent Extended Essays – a CD produced by the IB- Library 50 Excellent Extended Essays Subject Course Companion and Subject Study Guide both contain chapters on Extended Essays. The Study Guide also contains a check-list. Subject Course Companion Subject Study Guide
What to do now ? Read entire extended essay handbook and subject specific guide. Meet with faculty supervisor to agree on the topic Submit signed contract form to EE coordinator
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