The extended essay is changing! There are some significant changes to the EE syllabus that from this year onwards you have to bear in mind. In this blog I’m going to break down those changes, and give you some helpful hints for EE success.
Out with the old, in with the new?
While I began by talking about the changes, it’s important to note that the bare bones of the extended essay are still the same. It is still a 4000 word (max) essay on a topic of your choosing and still counts towards your core points.
But, as I said, there are some key things that are different now about the extended essay. Essentially, if you have your brother/sister/cousin/friend’s EE hanging around from a few years ago, using that as a model might not be the most fruitful thing to do.
So, what’s changed?
This doesn’t directly relate to your extended essay, but as it’s how your final core points are added up, it’s good to remember.
As you can see above, essentially you now need to get a least a D in your EE. An E, no matter what you got in TOK, means you fail. I wouldn’t fret about this though, as long as you put the work in, you’ll be fine!
Abstract and Appendices
There is no longer an abstract- so don’t waste any precious words on writing one! It is much better to lay out your argument clearly in your introduction.
The IB has also stated that is does not want students relying excessively on appendices or footnotes. This means that you shouldn’t in you essay be referring to something not actually in your essay as an examiner doesn’t have to look it up or check your appendix. Instead, it’s much better to have everything embedded. If you have a diagram, for example, put it in the main body of your essay. This is especially true for any text sources, as the IBO is pretty firm that it doesn’t want you using referencing systems to get around the word count.
This is a new addition to the EE. Previously you had meetings with your supervisor, but now it is a more formalised ‘reflection’ process. Essentially, you have 3 main meetings with your supervisor:
- First reflection
- Interim reflection
- Final reflection
As their names suggests they happen at different stages in the extended essay process. One when you are just getting started, one when you are progressing with your essay, and one when you have finished your EE.
After all your meetings with your supervisor, you then have to formally fill out a ‘reflection’. Your reflection write-up is actually submitted and marked with your EE, and counts towards your final grade, so it’s important to do it well!
One simple way of making sure your reflections are tip-top is to make use of a Researcher’s Reflection Space. This may sound familiar to those of you who have taken the MYP! Essentially it’s a research diary where you write down any thoughts you’ve had on your research, anything useful you’ve read or any conversations you had that have influenced your ideas.
One of the things I like about the new system is that it encourages you to reflect upon your research from the start, making you think of how best to construct your evidence and argument. I also think it makes the process of writing your extended essay seem a bit more structured. You can set yourself clear targets for each reflection. So while on the surface it may seem extra work, I definitely think it’s worth it!
I won’t bore you with all the ins and outs of the marking system. Instead, I definitely recommend looking at your specific subject’s mark scheme. These are invaluable when it comes to writing your extended essay.
However, one of the key changes (and a really good one I think), is that the mark scheme now only has 5 sections as opposed to 11 in previous years. 4 of these refer to your actual essay. I like this change because it means you essay is marked more a a whole. The entire craftsmanship of your EE is therefore considered, not just individual sections of it.
Another change to note, it that now your title actually needs to be a question. So, it needs to end with a question mark! This is to make sure your work is actually focuses on the topic you are writing on, and help you create an argument.
Overall, I think the new EE looks pretty great. There’s a bit more structure, and also a chance to properly reflect on your own work. Definitely check out the IBO’s website for more details but why not also join Lanterna this summer to get your EE in check? Our summer courses are a perfect opportunity to fit in study and also have a really great time! Our bespoke EE workshop is definitely not something to be missed.
EXTENDED ESSAY GUIDELINES
Mr. Crown's Advice Concerning Your Extended Essay
IN ORDER TO DO WELL ON THIS ASSIGNMENT YOU MUST READ THE EXTENDED ESSAY BOOKLET CAREFULLY. YOU ARE EXPECTED TO KNOW ALL OF THE IB GUIDELINES AND ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR YOUR ESSAY DETAILED IN THIS BOOKLET. IN PARTICULAR, EVERYONE MUST CAREFULLY READ PAGES 10-23 (GENERAL GUIDELINES AND GENERAL ASSESSMENT CRITERIA) AS WELL AS THE SUBJECT GUIDELINES AND ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR ESSAYS IN YOUR SPECIFIC SUBJECT AREA. FOLLOW THE BOOKLET CAREFULLY WHEN YOU WRITE YOUR ESSAY BECAUSE YOUR ADVISOR AND THE IB WILL REFER TO THE ASSESSMENT CRITERIA WHEN YOUR ESSAY IS GRADED.
Also, read and follow the guidelines below.
Title Page - Place the title ¼ of the way down from the top of the page. Remember that the title is not the same thing as your research question or topic. Think of an informative title which conveys the essence of your essay. In the bottom right corner of your paper include the following:
Extended Essay Final Draft
Advisor: Mr. or Ms.________
Word Count: ______________
Abstract - The abstract should be no more than 300 words. It must be written in 3rd person. The
abstract is a formal synopsis of your essay which explains the scope of your investigation and states the research question and conclusion. Include a word count for the abstract at the bottom of the page. The abstract comes directly after the table of contents.
Page Numbers – Page numbers must be included on each page except the title page. Use the “Insert” menu on Microsoft Word.
Table of Contents - The table of contents identifies each section of the paper (Abstract, Introduction, Body, Conclusion, Bibliography, Endnotes, Appendix, Illustrations, etc.) as well as topical subsections. Page numbers in the table of contents and the essay must match. Include section and subsection headings labeled in bold throughout the essay to guide the reader and identify the different sections of the essay.
Introduction - Introduce the topic and provide enough information about your topic in order to enable the reader to comprehend the significance of your research question. Each extended essay must have a research question. The research question is the central question you are trying to answer through your research and writing of the extended essay. This question, if properly composed, will enable you to maintain your focus on a topic of narrow and limited scope while also help you to maintain the purpose and orientation of your entire investigation. The research question must be clearly and precisely stated in the early part of your extended essay. It must be sharply focused so that it is susceptible to effective treatment within the 4000 word limit. Your extended essay will be assessed in part according to the extent to which the essay appropriately addresses and develops the specific research question. The reader will also evaluate your success in collecting information relevant to the research question. Include the research question in the introduction stated precisely and focused in such a way that it is susceptible to effective treatment within the 4000 word limit. Establish the significance of the research question and explain why it is worthy of study. You may also briefly discuss why your topic is of significance to you personally. At the end of the introduction state your thesis (or hypothesis for science). Clearly identify the research question and thesis as such. Briefly and concisely preview your body by providing a “game plan” for the rest of the paper. The game plan briefly explains how you intend to answer the research question and support the thesis, that is, how you propose to proceed in the body.
Thesis – This belongs in the introduction, preferably at the end. You must take a position, construct an argument based on evidence, and defend your thesis. The entire essay must be a response to your research question and a coherent, organized, structured, logical, critical, in-depth examination and defense of your thesis.
Body (Methods and Results for science) - The body will differ depending on your subject. However for all essays the body be evaluated based on 1) your approach to the research question, 2) your analysis and interpretation of evidence, including critical analysis and evaluation of sources, and 3) your own argument and evaluation of this argument. SEE PAGES 19-20 of the Extended Essay Booklet and the Assessment Criteria for details. You must convincingly answer the research question and argue for your thesis, presenting evidence to support your arguments. You must evaluate your sources and demonstrate an ability to think and write critically and analytically. You need to plan this section carefully so that you are able to present your arguments in an organized, structured, convincing body which is constructed upon evidence. Evidence includes historical evidence derived from primary and secondary historical sources, textual evidence from a work of literature, and scientific data and the results of experiments and research.
Conclusion - The conclusion must be clearly stated and relevant to the research question. It must also be consistent with the thesis and its explanation and development presented in the essay. Where appropriate the conclusion indicates unresolved questions and new questions that have emerged from your research. This is more than a summary. Review how you have demonstrably and convincingly supported your thesis and answered the research question. Concisely restate your key points and discuss the broader implications of the thesis. How have you satisfactorily answered the research question?
Illustrations, data, charts, graphs, etc. - If you plan to include these make sure they are labeled and listed in the table of contents, and make sure you discuss their significance and relevance in the text of the essay.
Appendix - Please note that IB readers are not required to read the appendix thoroughly, so all essential information must be in the body of your essay.
Documentation - You must include footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations. You also must include a bibliography. Documentation must be completed with meticulous concern for accuracy. Use your Guide to Writing Research Papers or the online Chicago Style Guide and make sure everything is in the correct style and format. Avoid accusations of plagiarism by treating documentation with the seriousness it deserves. In the bibliography include only sources you have cited in the essay. You need at least 15 sources, five of which must be articles from scholarly journals. The bibliography must be alphabetical by the author’s last name. Literature essays need six sources and may use in-text citations. Good history essays will have 30 to 40 footnotes and 15 sources. All history essay footnotes must follow the Chicago Style Guide.
This draft must be typed double spaced in 12 pt. Font and be as close to 4000 words as possible without going over the limit. The 4000 words includes the Introduction, Body, Conclusion, and any quotations. It does not include the Abstract, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, Illustrations, Bibliography, Footnotes, Endnotes, or Appendices. Use Times New Roman or Courier font or a similar font; nothing fancy, flashy, or difficult for the eyes. Use black ink.
The essay must look neat and not sloppy. Do not use run-on sentences and paragraphs that are too long and attempt to treat too many topics. Do not allow careless grammatical and spelling errors to lower your grade. Paragraphs must be topical, readable, and of reasonable length. The essay must be structured and organized logically with all arguments and analysis presented and developed in a systematic fashion and order. Use smooth transitions between paragraphs to link the paragraphs, arguments, and sections of your paper. Use a spelling checker and make sure several competent people proofread your essay.
Your extended essay must address each of the following questions.
What is your research question?
Why is the research question significant and worthy of study?
Why is the research question significant to you personally?
What is your thesis?
What is your game plan for the rest of the essay?
What is the background information 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 your defense of your thesis?
What evidence will you present to support your arguments and thesis?
What are your key sources? How will you integrate the evaluation of your sources in the Body?
How will you integrate critical analysis into your Body?
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 the essay? Evaluate your own work critically.
What are the new questions and unresolved questions which have arisen from your research and analysis?
Include only those sources you have cited in the essay.