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 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 The IB Coordinator The International Baccalaureate Organization
How to choose a research topic? In your subject, make a list of the topical areas 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.
Contd.. Choose an area from this list, and read more in this area - if possible, with advice from your supervisor. While reading, try and list questions that you are curious about. THIS MUST BE DONE RIGHT THROUGH THE RESEARCH PROCESS, SO....
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
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 What causes cancer?
EXAMPLE OF A GOOD RESEARCH QUESTION BIOLOGY The ecology of snails in the Koç School campus.
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 of they often tend to be unreliable.
TIPS AND PITS MORE 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.
Common Problems with Extended Essays Students discover too late that there is too little data, or data is inaccessible. Over-reliance on web-based sources Students discover too late that their knowledge of the subject is not deep enough. Ethical issues regarding gathering of data or performing of experiments
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.