Ib extended essay

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  • Franklin High School
  • adapted from
  • Gresham High School
  • Extended Essay Guide

It’s just a paper

  • It’s just a paper
  • The myth is worse than the reality
  • You will spend more time worrying and whining than working
  • It’s like baking a cake – follow the recipe
  • THE EXTENDED ESSAY “A study in depth of a limited topic”
  • Independent research supervised by a teacher
  • In a topic YOU choose from one of the IB subject areas
  • On a question YOU develop
  • Presented in 4000 words
  • In accordance with IB requirements


  • Prepares you for independent research expected by universities
  • Format is a formal research paper – scholarly journal
  • Written in a scholarly voice
  • Essay is an analytical answer to a question YOU develop


  • 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 your subject
  • It is NOT your opinion, your thoughts, or your beliefs


  • A carefully constructed analytical answer to a very precise question
  • Based on DATA and EVIDENCE from your research
  • Data cited as to source

How do we support you?

  • Provide you with an EE supervisor based on your research question
  • Make appointments – don’t do drive by drop ins
  • Use email. Schedule summer contact

The EE Advisor

  • Must be a Franklin teacher
  • YOU are responsible for making appointments
  • Will advise and guide you through the research
  • Will complete a Supervisor’s Report at the completion of the essay
  • IB will not accept an essay w/o an Advisor.

The EE Advisor WILL NOT

  • Tell you what to do
  • Give you a RQ
  • Give you research resources
  • Edit your work
  • Remind you of the deadlines
  • Chase you down

Getting to the Research Question

  • S-T-Q
  • Subject….
  • Topic….
  • Question….

Getting to the Research Question

  • Choose a SUBJECT
  • Choose a TOPIC within that subject
  • Choose a narrow RESEARCH QUESTION that will focus your research and argument.

Choosing a Subject

  • Must be one of IB subjects
  • Choose a subject that is interesting and challenging to you and that you have taken an IB class in
  • Do background reading
  • Essays submitted in Group 2 must be written in that language

Choosing a Subject

  • Your essay must use scholarly language of the field so it must reflect your study of the field. It is not recommended that you do an essay in a subject you have not studied

Choosing a Topic

  • Limited in scope and sufficiently narrow to allow you to examine an issue in depth
  • But big enough so you may collect and/or generate data for analysis
  • Science topics are most successful when you conduct an experiment
  • Consult your advisor

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 nowhere.
  • Questions have “question marks”
  • No ??, no research question.

The Research Question It must be:

  • Narrow
  • Specific
  • Non-trivial
  • Answerable in 4000 words
  • Researchable, not speculative

BAD Research Questions

  • Does globalization affect Turkey?
  • ENGLISH, Group 1:
  • What symbols are employed by F. Scott Fitzgerald?

BAD Research Questions

  • What causes cancer?
  • What was the impact of the civil rights movement?
  • The History of _______________

GOOD Research Questions

  • How does the portrayal of Joan of Arc by Shaw, Anouilh, and Schiller differ?
  • BIOLOGY: An experimental study to determine if Vitamin C levels in orange differ in supermarket vs restaurants

GOOD Research Questions

  • What is the impact of international coffee prices on the standard of living in Guatemala

IB Prohibitions

  • Cannot recycle topics/papers you have written for IB classes.
  • Ethical considerations in design of experiments – no experiments that cause pain or stress to living organisms.

IB Prohibitions

  • The RQ MUST be yours. Beware of off-campus interning projects.
  • One student per Research Question – this YOUR question

Know the Criteria!

  • A. Research Question (0-2)
  • B. Introduction (0-2)
  • C. Investigation (0-4)
  • D. Knowledge of topic (0-4)
  • E. Reason argument (0-4)
  • F. Application of Analytical skills (0-4)
  • G. Use of appropriate language (0-4)

Know the Criteria (con’t)!

  • H. Conclusion (0-2)
  • I. Formal presentation (0-4)
  • J. Abstract (0-2)
  • K Holistic Judgment (0-4)
  • TOTAL possible points: 36

Mark Bands

  • 29 – 36 Excellent A
  • 23-28 Good B
  • 16-22 Satisfactory C
  • 8-15 Mediocre D
  • 0-7 Elementary E

Diploma Points Matrix

  • TOK/A
  • TOK/B
  • TOK/C
  • TOK/D
  • TOK/E
  • EE/A
  • 3
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 1*
  • EE/B
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • 0*
  • EE/C
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0*
  • EE/D
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0*
  • EE/E
  • 1*
  • 0*
  • 0*
  • 0*
  • Failing

Failing Condition for the Diploma

  • If you fail to submit an EE
  • If you write an EE but fail to meet with your advisor
  • If you fail BOTH the TOK paper AND the EE
  • If you fail the EE or TOK, you must earn at least 28 points on the exams to earn the Diploma (instead of 24)*

It’s all about analysis

  • Use EVIDENCE, DATA not description, chronological lists.
  • This is not a ‘report.”
  • It’s an argument with supporting information.
  • This is NOT a review of the literature—your voice must come through loud and clear.

It’s about being a scholar

  • Use a scholarly, professional style
  • No “I” statements (“I think”)
  • Use the language and vocabulary of your field
  • Keep a Research Diary/Portfolio

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 Franklin textbooks
  • No Wikipedia!!
  • Range and balance of sources

Let’s talk plagiarism

  • EACH fact, idea, quote, chart, graph, picture, number not your own must be sourced (with page number)
  • The direct or indirect use of the words of another person MUST be sourced.
  • Restating someone’s ideas EVEN IF not copied is plagiarism!
  • The solution: CITATIONS
  • Be consistent in citation style
  • Manage sources as you do your research: research notebook

What do you do now?

  • Review this with family and sign the Extended Essay contract
  • Get into the IB Guidelines
  • Read some Extended Essays
  • Toy with ideas, talk to teachers
  • Explore!

Pitfalls: The Research

  • Plan for science experiments to go awry – they always do
  • Data may be unavailable for your topic
  • RQ may be too broad
  • You may not have enough background to complete the research
  • Be flexible and willing to change directions in the beginning

APPENDIX: The Presentation How to put it all together

  • Title page (Title is NOT the RQ)
  • Abstract of 300 words
  • Table of contents with subheads
  • Body of essay with subheads
  • Bibliography (ONLY works cited and in alphabetical order)
  • Page numbers
  • Candidate number on every page

Pitfalls: Word Count

  • Word count must be on title page
  • 4000 words max for paper
  • This does not include acknowledgements, table of contents charts and tables, annotated illustrations, bibliography or any appendices.


          • The Impact of Bicycle Paths on
          • Land Use in Portland, Oregon
          • Susie Q. Student
          • Candidate 0517-123
          • Environmental Systems and Societies
          • Word Count: 3922
          • December 16, 2010


  • Abstract of 300 words. Abstract is NOT an introduction.
  • Write this LAST.
  • Abstract should state:
    • Research question being investigated
    • The scope of the investigation
    • The conclusion/s of the essay


  • Place AFTER the abstract
  • All pages must be numbered
  • Body of essay must have subheadings that are reflected in the TOC
  • Index is not required


  • Each work cited in the essay must be listed in the bibliography
  • Examiners match the citations to the bibliography
  • Over reliance on limited sources will lose points


  • Not viewed as essential and examiners are not required to read
  • Unless considered essential, complete lists of raw data should not be included

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