Extended essay guide

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By P. Myers


Table of Contents
SECTION 1 -- Schedule and Assignments (not paginated)

SECTION 2 -- Basic Information from the I.B.O.

Extended Essay Basics 1

Student’s Responsibilities 2

Recommended: Things to Do/Things to Avoid 3

Advisor’s Responsibilities 4

The Research Process 6

SECTION 3 -- Assessment of Extended Essays

Assessment of Extended Essays 7

SECTION 4 – Guidelines and Subject Overview

Overview of Extended Essay Subjects 13

Extended Essay Guidelines 15

SECTION 5 – Research Guide

List Keywords 20

Find Sources 21

Search Online Databases 22

Question 24

Evaluate Sources 25

Cite and Write Right 26

Take Notes 29

Write a Thesis Statement 31

SECTION 6 – Appendix

Resources to Help You with the Research Process 32

Examples of APA Citation Style 33

Examples of MLA Citation Style 34

Examples of Turabian Citation Style 35

How to Use MLA Source Cards 36

How to Use MLA Source Cards and Note Cards Together 37

Chicago-Area Libraries 38

Suggested Website for Research 40

Website Evaluation Worksheet 41

CPS Database Passwords 42


Michele Clark High School 2009-2010
June 1) June 29: Submit topic selection (to SJWaryjas@cps.edu)

Workshops with Ms. Myers June 22-25 and June 29-July 2

Learn about scholarly sources and Questia


September 2) Sept. 21: Submit proposals (to Mr. Waryjas)


3) By Oct. 12: Bring 5 scholarly sources/summaries (to Ms. Myers)

4) By Oct. 26: 1st meeting with advisor to discuss research

question and plan (submit advisor meeting slip to Mr. Waryjas)

November 5) Nov. 2: Outlines due (to T.O.K.; revise, then submit to advisor)

6) By Nov. 16: 2nd meeting with advisor to get feedback on outline

(submit advisor meeting slip to Mr. Waryjas)

7) Nov. 30: First Draft due (submit to advisor)

December 8) By Dec. 21: 3rd meeting with advisor to get feedback on first draft

(submit advisor meeting slip to Mr. Waryjas)

January 9) Jan. 11: 2nd Draft due (submit to advisor)

10) Consult the schedule: Citation checks with Ms. Myers

February 11) By Feb. 15: Meet with advisor to get feedback for final paper

(submit advisor meeting slip to Mr. Waryjas)

March 12) Mar. 1: Final extended essay paper due to Mr. Waryjas

13) By Mar. 22: Viva Voce (Final Interviews with advisors)

Due Date: Monday, June 8

1) From the list below, circle the two subjects that most interest you. You must have background knowledge about the subject.

  • Geography

  • History

  • Language A (English)

  • Language B (Spanish)

  • Mathematics

  • Music

  • Peace and Conflict Studies

  • Philosophy

  • Politics

  • Psychology

  • Social Anthropology

  • Visual Arts

  • World Religions

2) Write your circled subjects below. Then brainstorm topic ideas in each of these subject areas. (At this stage, you may list broad or narrow topic ideas.)

Try http://www.lib.odu.edu/libassist/idea/index.php for a list of broad topics to help you get started. To help you think of ideas, look at books, magazines, and newspapers that discuss your chosen subjects.
You may wish to consult the following websites to see some specific topics students have chosen for extended essays in the past. Of course, you cannot re-use these ideas, but they might give you a better sense of what is expected:


A) Subject:________________________________

Topic Ideas: a) ________________________________________________________

b) ________________________________________________________

c) ________________________________________________________

B) Subject:________________________________

Topic Ideas: a) ________________________________________________________

b) ________________________________________________________

c) ________________________________________________________

3) Choose at least one topic idea from the previous page and begin to read widely in this area. This reading will help you think of ideas for your extended essay.

Topic Idea 1 (Required):__________________________________________________
Your questions about this specific topic:


Topic Idea 2 (Optional):___________________________________________________
Your questions about this specific topic:


Topic Idea 3 (Optional):___________________________________________________
Your questions about this specific topic:


Due Date: Monday, Sept. 21
You must complete a proposal for your extended essay which includes the following parts:
A. The subject of your essay – for example, English, math, biology, history, etc.
B. The FOCUSED topic of your essay. This topic should be narrow and limited in

scope. Examples of focused topics:

The effect of religious imagery in Wuthering Heights

The effects of sugar-free chewing gum on the mouth’s pH after eating

Prime numbers in cryptography
C. A paragraph explaining why your topic is significant and worthy of study. Also discuss what you intend to investigate.
D. A paragraph explaining why you are interested in your topic.
E. IF you have a possible research question and/or thesis, include that as well.

Your TYPED proposal is due on Mon., Sept. 28.

Email Ms. Myers if you have questions: prmyers@cps.edu
Due Date: Monday, Oct. 12
You must complete summaries for five scholarly sources. A scholarly source is one that is written by experts in a particular field of study. For additional criteria to help you identify scholarly sources, please consult the following websites:


These summaries must include the origin, purpose, value, and limitation of the source.

Meet with your advisor by: Monday, Oct. 26
Purpose: Brief discussion of research question and essay game plan
This paper will serve to verify that you have met with your advisor. Have your advisor sign this form during your meeting and return it to Mr. Waryjas by the end of the day on Monday, October 26.
Student’s Name:
Date/Time of Meeting:
Advisor’s Signature:
Due Date: Monday, Nov. 2
In order to ensure that your extended essay is written in an organized, logical, structured, and systematic manner, you are required to complete an outline for your extended essay. By this time you have had sufficient time to develop your research question and should have found and started reading your sources. Follow the directions below carefully when you complete the assignment.
This assignment is due on Monday, Nov. 2.

    1. Bring your completed outline to TOK on Monday, Nov. 2.

    2. You also need to bring the outline to your advisor meeting (you must meet with your advisor by Nov. 16).

The outline must be divided into sections. It should be 3-4 pages typed, single-spaced. For each section you must incorporate answering the following questions into your outline. Use proper outline notation.

I. Introduction

  • What is your research question?

  • Why is the research question significant and worthy of study?

  • What is your thesis?

  • What is your game plan for the rest of the essay?

II. Body

  • What background information is needed in order to understand your research question and thesis?

  • What are the distinct elements of your thesis? How can the thesis be divided and broken down into parts?

  • What are the central arguments you will make to defend your thesis?

  • What are the topical subsections of your body? Outline each subsection of the body.

  • How does each subsection build upon the previous subsection and lead up to the next? How does each subsection contribute to the defense of your thesis?

  • What evidence will you present to support your arguments and thesis?

  • What are the key sources? How will you integrate the evaluation of your sources into the body?

  • How will you integrate critical analysis into your body?

III. Conclusion

  • How have you sufficiently answered the research question and defended your thesis?

  • What are the major strengths of your thesis and your analysis and defense of it in your essay?

  • What could you have done better in this essay? Evaluate your work critically.

  • What are the new questions and unresolved questions which have arisen from your research and analysis?

IV. Bibliography




Please use the following rubric when assessing the students’ outlines. Return this sheet along with the outlines to Mr. Waryjas.
Outline Section Comments Score

A. Introduction – Includes research question & thesis. Includes discussion of why topic is important for study & personally significant. Includes a game plan for rest of essay.


B. Body – Includes the central arguments that will be used to defend thesis. Includes the various subsections and how each will help to defend thesis. Includes evidence that will be used support thesis. Includes analysis of evidence.


C. Conclusion – Includes discussion of defense of thesis. Includes an evaluation of the work. Includes new or unresolved questions which arise from research. (Since it is early in the essay process, the conclusion may not be thoroughly developed.)


D. Bibliography – Includes at least 5 scholarly sources. Format is correct and appropriate to subject of essay. (Literature essays may have fewer than 5 sources.)


E. Overall Assessment – Fulfills length requirement of around 2500 words. Shows an appropriate level of analysis and critical thinking about topic. Shows an appropriate level of work and effort on the assignment.


TOTAL: /100

Meet with your advisor by: Monday, Nov. 16
Purpose: Discussion of student’s outline
This paper will serve to verify that you have met with your advisor. Have your advisor sign this form during your meeting and return it to Mr. Waryjas by the end of the day on Monday, Nov. 16.
Student’s Name:
Date/Time of Meeting:
Advisor’s Signature:
Due Date: Monday, Nov. 30
Your first draft should be substantial and should include all the main parts of the paper, except for the conclusion:

Must show extensive research and work in the introduction, including:

a) Research question

b) Thesis

c) Significance of research

Must link to your thesis and refer to cited sources throughout the body


Can be missing conclusion

Meet with your advisor by: Monday, Dec. 21
Purpose: Get feedback from advisor on first draft
This paper will serve to verify that you have met with your advisor. Have your advisor sign this form during your meeting and return it to Mr. Waryjas by the end of the day on Monday, Dec. 21.
Student’s Name:
Date/Time of Meeting:
Advisor’s Signature:
Due Date: Monday, Jan. 11
Your second draft should be a substantial revision of your first draft; your revisions should reflect your advisor’s comments. It should be polished and error-free, as though you were ready to submit it to I.B. today. This is the LAST revision of the paper that your advisor is allowed to view and discuss with you.

Must show extensive research in the introduction, including:

a) Research question

b) Thesis

c) Significance of research

Must link to your thesis and refer to cited sources throughout the body


Must be included, and should be complete


Footnotes and endnotes or in-text citations should be included in the paper

Bibliography or Works Cited page should be included

Due Date: Check the Citation Check Schedule
Meet with Ms. Myers during your scheduled time.

Find the time and date of your citation check on the Citation Check Schedule. If you miss your scheduled time, your citation check grade will be lowered.

Explanation of the purpose and process: All IB seniors must meet with Ms. Myers for an extended essay citation check. The purpose is to make sure you have not plagiarized and to ensure you are following proper citation format.
This is a graded assignment. You must be present at your scheduled time, and you must come fully prepared.
You must bring the following materials with you to the citation check:

  1. A complete copy of the most recent draft of your extended essay

  1. All of the sources you used to write your extended essay

  1. If you can not bring a particular source for any reason, you must bring photocopies of the following pages for that source: title page, publishing & copyright information, and the relevant pages in the source which you have cited or footnoted in your extended essay. You should bring the required photocopies for each source you are unable to bring to the citation check.

To prepare for the citation check you must do the following before your scheduled appointment:

  1. Read through your entire extended essay and make sure your citations are in the proper format and style. (History – Chicago Style; Literature – MLA; Science – AMA; Psychology – APA; Math – APA)

  1. Mark or identify in all of your sources the exact location of each passage you have cited in your essay. Use post-it notes or some other method to mark each of the relevant passages in your sources. For each footnote, endnote, or in-text citation in your essay, you should be able to quickly locate the exact passage in your source that each footnote, endnote, or in-text citation refers to.

  1. If you have photocopies of your sources you may underline or otherwise mark the relevant passage on the photocopied pages. Respect public property and do not write in or mark up a book you have checked out from the library.

  1. Come fully prepared to your citation check appointment. I have to meet with every IB senior, and I do not have time to waste on students who do not follow instructions and do not prepare ahead of time. During the citation check you should be able to quickly locate the corresponding passage in your sources for each and every footnote, endnote, or in-text citation. You will lose points if you do not come fully prepared.

Meet with your advisor by: Monday, Jan. 25
Purpose: Get feedback on second draft, to revise for final paper
This paper will serve to verify that you have met with your advisor. Have your advisor sign this form during your meeting and return it to Mr. Waryjas by the end of the day on Monday, Jan. 25.
Student’s Name:
Date/Time of Meeting:
Advisor’s Signature:
Due Date: Monday, Feb. 1
Your “finished paper” is the extended essay that you are submitting for I.B. evaluation. It should include everything that I.B. requires, as extensively outlined in your Extended Essay Research Guide.
The basic sections required for final submission are listed below:

  • Title page

  • Abstract

  • Contents page

  • Introduction

  • Body (development/methods/results)

  • Conclusion

  • References and bibliography

Remember, the upper limit is 4,000 words for all extended essays. This includes the introduction, the body, the conclusion and any quotations, but does not include:

  • Abstract

  • Acknowledgments

  • Contents page

  • Maps, charts, diagrams, annotated illustrations and tables

  • Equations, formulas and calculations

  • Citations/references (whether parenthetical or numbered)

  • Footnotes or endnotes

  • Bibliography

  • Appendices

Due Date: Check the Viva Voce Schedule

The Viva Voce is a short interview between the student and the advisor. It serves the following purposes:

  • A check on plagiarism and malpractice in general (some of this has already been accomplished via www.turnitin.com and during a citation check)

  • An opportunity to reflect on successes and difficulties in the research process.

  • An opportunity to reflect on what has been learned.

  • An aid to the advisor’s report

The Viva Voce should last between 10 and 15 minutes. This is included in the recommended amount of time the advisor should spend with the student. These are questions that can be asked, which should be adapted to the particular essay and student::

  • I am not clear what you mean on page X. Could you explain a little more about what this tells us?

  • What have been the high and the low points of the research and writing process?

  • What were the most interesting aspects of the process? Did you discover anything that surprised you?

  • What have you learned through writing this essay? Is there any advice you would want to pass on to someone just starting out on an extended essay?

  • Is there anything else that you would particularly like me to mention in my report?

In conducting the Viva Voce and writing the report, advisors should consider the following.

  • Examiners want to know that students understand any material (which must be properly referenced) that they have included in their essays. This is particularly important in subjects like mathematics. If the context that the material is used in the essay does not clearly establish this, the advisor can check the student’s understanding in the Viva Voce and report on it.

  • Minor slips in citation and referencing may lose the odd mark. But if there appear to be major shortcomings, the advisor should investigate thoroughly. No essay should be authenticated if the advisor believes in contains plagiarism.

  • In assessing criterion K (holistic judgment), examiners will take into account any information given in the report about unusual intellectual inventiveness or persistence in the face of unexpected difficulties.

  • The report should not attempt to do the examiner’s job. It should refer to things, largely process-related, that may not be obvious in the essay itself.

  • Unless there are particular problems, the Viva Voce should end positively. Completion of a major piece of work such as the extended essay is something for the students to feel good about.


The Extended Essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of approved Diploma Programme subjects—normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects for the IB diploma.

It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of an advisor (a teacher in the school). This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen.

The Extended Essay is:

  • Compulsory for all Diploma Programme students

  • Externally assessed and, in combination with the grade for Theory of Knowledge, contributes up to three points to the total score for the IB diploma

  • A piece of independent research/investigation on a topic chosen by the student in cooperation with an advisor in the school

  • Presented as a formal piece of scholarship containing no more than 4,000 words

  • The result of approximately 40 hours of work by the student

The aims of the Extended Essay are to provide students with the opportunity to:

  • Pursue independent research on a focused topic

  • Develop research and communication skills

  • Develop the skills of creative and critical thinking

  • Engage in a systematic process of research appropriate to the subject

  • Experience the excitement of intellectual discovery

In working on the Extended Essay, students are expected to:

1. Plan and pursue a research project with intellectual initiative and insight.

2. Formulate a precise research question.

3. Gather and interpret material from sources appropriate to the research question.

4. Structure a reasoned argument in response to the research question on the basis of the material gathered.

5. Present their Extended Essay in a format appropriate to the subject, acknowledging sources in one of the established academic ways.

6. Use the terminology and language appropriate to the subject with skill and understanding.

7. Apply analytical and evaluative skills appropriate to the subject, with an understanding of the implications and the context of their research.


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