Anthropology IB Extended Essay Topics

Welcome to the fascinating world of the IB Extended Essay in Anthropology. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive understanding of this unique academic endeavor. As you embark on your journey, you will delve into the diverse realms of human culture, society, and behavior. Through this exploration, you will develop critical thinking skills, hone your research abilities, and gain valuable insights into the complexity of human existence.

The Extended Essay is an opportunity for you to engage in independent research and showcase your intellectual curiosity. It is a chance to deeply explore anthropological concepts, theories, and methodologies that interest you the most. This essay not only builds upon your knowledge but also challenges you to think critically and present your findings in a clear and coherent manner.

The study of anthropology offers a rich tapestry of subfields and areas of focus. From cultural anthropology, which examines the customs, beliefs, and practices of different societies to physical anthropology, which explores human evolution and variation, there is much to discover in this diverse discipline. By choosing anthropology as the topic for your extended essay, you have the opportunity to venture into any of these branches and discover your passion within the subject.

As you navigate through the process of creating your extended essay, ethical considerations play a crucial role. Anthropology emphasizes respecting the rights and wellbeing of the individuals and communities being studied. It is essential to ensure that your research methods are ethical and adhere to the principles of informed consent, confidentiality, and respect for cultural practices.

This guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions for formulating a compelling research question in anthropology and selecting appropriate research methods and data sources. You will also learn how to analyze and interpret the data collected, allowing you to derive meaningful conclusions that contribute to anthropological knowledge.

Building a solid structure for your essay is paramount. We will guide you in creating an outline that effectively organizes your thoughts and arguments, ensuring a cohesive and well-structured essay. Furthermore, we will examine examples of successful anthropology extended essays to provide you with inspiration and a deeper understanding of the requirements for this academic pursuit.

Throughout your journey, effective writing, editing, and proofreading skills are crucial. We will offer valuable tips to help you refine your writing style, communicate your ideas clearly, and ensure accuracy in your final essay. These skills will not only benefit your extended essay but also serve you well in your future academic endeavors.

As you reach the conclusion of your anthropology extended essay journey, take a moment to reflect on the invaluable skills you have acquired and the newfound knowledge about humanity that you have attained. This intellectual exploration has not only deepened your understanding but has also shaped you into a critical thinker and an aspiring anthropologist.

Anthropology IB Extended Essay Topics

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  • The Role of Traditional Healing Practices in Modern Day Medicine: An Analysis of Native American Health Rituals
  • The Impact of Globalization on Isolated Cultures: A Case Study of the Sentinelese Tribe
  • Food and Identity: An Anthropological Study of Culinary Traditions in Italy
  • Acculturation and Identity in Immigrant Communities: An Examination of Second-Generation Indian Americans
  • The Influence of Technology on Cultural Development: A Comparative Study of Developing vs Developed Countries
  • Gender Roles in Non-Western Cultures: A Detailed Analysis of the Mosuo Society in China
  • The Role of Myth and Folklore in Understanding Ancient Civilizations: An In-depth Study of Ancient Greece
  • Adaptation to Extreme Environments: An Anthropological Study of the Inuit Lifestyle
  • Kinship and Social Structure: A Comparative Study between Matrilineal and Patrilineal Societies
  • The Intersection of Anthropology and Linguistics: How Language Evolves in Isolated Communities
  • Rituals and Taboos: An Analysis of the Symbolic Practices in Australian Aboriginal Culture
  • The Anthropology of Music: Cultural Expression through Traditional Japanese Music
  • Economic Anthropology: The Role of Cattle as a Form of Currency in Maasai Society
  • The Evolution of Human Migration Patterns: A Study Based on Genomic Data
  • Impact of Climate Change on Indigenous Livelihoods: A Case Study of Pacific Island Communities
  • Examining the Shift from Polytheism to Monotheism in Early Civilizations
  • Funeral Practices across Cultures: An Anthropological Examination of Death Rituals
  • The Influence of Colonization on Language Diversity: An Anthropological Perspective on the Americas
  • Cultural Evolution and Religion: How Zoroastrianism Shaped Persian Culture
  • Exploring the Biological and Cultural Factors Behind Left-Handedness across Different Societies

Understanding the Importance of Choosing a Good Research Question in Anthropology

In anthropology, selecting a good research question is paramount to conducting a successful extended essay. A research question serves as the foundation for your study and guides all subsequent research and analysis. It helps focus your investigation, provides significance to your work, and ensures that you explore an area of interest you are passionate about.

A good research question should be specific, concise, and thought-provoking. It should be narrow enough to allow for in-depth analysis but broad enough to gather sufficient data. The question should also stimulate curiosity and encourage critical thinking.

Choosing the right research question in anthropology is essential because it determines the direction and scope of your extended essay. It sets the stage for your investigation by focusing on a particular issue or phenomenon, allowing you to delve into it and unearth valuable insights.

By selecting a good research question, you open doors to various opportunities. It enables you to gain a deeper understanding of human behavior, cultural practices, social interactions, and the complexity of societies. Furthermore, it allows you to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in anthropology by addressing gaps, challenging preconceived notions, or proposing alternative perspectives.

A strong research question aids in structuring your essay and facilitates the development of a logical argument. It guides your selection of appropriate research methods and data sources, enabling you to collect relevant and reliable information. Additionally, a well-chosen research question helps you analyze and interpret your findings effectively, leading to valid conclusions substantiated with credible evidence.

Moreover, selecting a compelling research question enhances your engagement with the topic, making the extended essay writing process more enjoyable. It encourages personal investment and motivates you to explore different viewpoints, connect theories and concepts, and critically evaluate various arguments.

Ultimately, a good research question in anthropology allows you to embark on an intellectual journey that nurtures your curiosity, expands your knowledge, and hones your research skills. It is the driving force behind your extended essay, creating a purposeful and meaningful academic experience.

Exploring various subfields and areas of focus in Anthropology for the extended essay

Anthropology is a broad and diverse field that encompasses various subfields and areas of focus. When embarking on your extended essay in anthropology, it is important to explore these different domains to find a topic that aligns with your interests and passions. Here are some key subfields and areas of focus within anthropology:

  • Cultural Anthropology: This subfield examines the beliefs, practices, and social structures of different cultures. You can explore topics related to cultural traditions, rituals, kinship systems, or the impact of globalization on indigenous communities.
  • Physical Anthropology: Also known as biological anthropology, this subfield focuses on human evolution, human variation, and primatology. You can research topics such as the origins of Homo sapiens, DNA analysis of ancient populations, or the behavior of primates.
  • Linguistic Anthropology: This subfield examines language as a form of communication and its impact on cultural identity. Topics can include language preservation efforts, bilingualism, or the influence of language on thought processes.
  • Archaeology: Archaeological anthropology involves the study of past cultures through excavation and analysis of material remains. You can explore topics such as ancient civilizations, archaeological methods, or the interpretation of archaeological data.
  • Applied Anthropology: This subfield applies anthropological principles and methods to real-world problems and issues. Topics can include medical anthropology, environmental anthropology, or the role of anthropologists in community development.

Exploring these various subfields and areas of focus will provide you with a solid foundation for choosing an extended essay topic in anthropology. It is essential to choose a topic that resonates with you personally and allows you to engage deeply with the subject matter. As you explore these subfields, consider your own interests and strengths, as well as the resources available to you for conducting research.

Remember, anthropology is an interdisciplinary field, and you can also consider integrating concepts and methods from other disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, or history, into your extended essay. This interdisciplinary approach can provide a unique and holistic perspective on your research question.

By considering the various subfields and areas of focus within anthropology, you are sure to find an extended essay topic that not only interests you but also allows for in-depth exploration and analysis. Remember to consult with your supervisor or mentor throughout the process to ensure you stay on track and produce a high-quality extended essay that showcases your knowledge and understanding of anthropology.

The role of ethics in conducting anthropological research for the IB Extended Essay

When conducting anthropological research for your IB Extended Essay in Anthropology, it is crucial to consider the role of ethics. Anthropologists have a responsibility to approach their research with a strong ethical framework, ensuring respect, consent, and protection for the individuals and communities they work with.


1. Respect and Cultural Sensitivity: Anthropologists must recognize and respect the cultural practices, beliefs, and values of the community they are studying. It is important to approach the research with an open mind and avoid any judgment or bias.


2. Informed Consent: Prior to conducting any research involving human subjects, anthropologists must obtain informed consent. This means that individuals participating in the research should be fully aware of the purpose, methods, and potential impact of the study. Additionally, special consideration must be given to vulnerable populations, such as minors or marginalized communities, with additional measures taken to ensure their rights are protected.


3. Confidentiality: Anthropologists must guarantee the privacy and confidentiality of the participants in their research. Any gathered data should be anonymized, ensuring that individuals cannot be identified. It is essential to handle and store data securely, respecting the privacy rights of the participants.


4. Intellectual Property: Researchers must respect the ownership of indigenous and local knowledge. This means seeking permission from the community before utilizing specific cultural information or traditional practices in their essay. Proper acknowledgment and citation of sources are essential.


5. Minimizing Harm: Anthropologists should take all necessary measures to minimize physical, emotional, or psychological harm to the participants of the study. This includes identifying potential risks, obtaining appropriate approval from relevant authorities, and providing support and resources when needed.


By adhering to ethical guidelines, anthropologists contribute to the field in a responsible and respectful manner, upholding the rights and dignity of those involved. Ethical considerations ensure that the research process remains ethical, transparent, and relevant.

Step-by-step guide to formulating a research question in Anthropology

Formulating a research question is a crucial step in your anthropology extended essay. It is the foundation upon which you will build your essay, so it’s important to put some thought into it. Consider following these steps to develop a meaningful and focused research question:

    • Step 1: Choose a broad topic

Start by selecting a general area of interest within anthropology. This could be anything from cultural anthropology to biological anthropology or archaeology. Identify a broad topic that piques your curiosity and aligns with your passions.

    • Step 2: Narrow down your focus

Once you have chosen a broad topic, it’s time to narrow down your focus. Ask yourself specific questions related to your area of interest. Consider the gaps in current research or debates within the field. This will help you zoom in on a more specific aspect of anthropology.

    • Step 3: Conduct preliminary research

Before finalizing your research question, conduct some preliminary research. Look for scholarly articles, books, and other reliable sources that discuss similar topics. This will give you a better understanding of what has already been studied and allow you to refine your research question accordingly.

    • Step 4: Brainstorm possible research questions

Now it’s time to brainstorm potential research questions. Consider the scope of your essay, the available resources, and your own interests. Aim for a question that is specific, feasible, and has the potential for meaningful analysis.

    • Step 5: Check the feasibility

Once you have a list of potential research questions, assess their feasibility. Make sure your chosen question can be addressed within the time and word limit of your extended essay. Also, ensure that you have access to the necessary resources and data to answer your research question.

    • Step 6: Refine and articulate the research question

Based on the feedback and feasibility assessment, refine and articulate your research question. Ensure that it is clear, concise, and can be accurately understood by others. Your research question should reflect the main focus of your essay and guide your exploration within anthropology.

    • Step 7: Consider the significance and implications

Lastly, consider the significance and implications of your research question. Think about how your findings could contribute to the field of anthropology or address real-world issues. This will add depth and purpose to your extended essay.

It’s important to remember that your research question may evolve as you delve deeper into your research. Stay open-minded and be willing to adapt your question if necessary. By following these steps and investing time to formulate a strong research question, you’ll lay a solid foundation for your anthropology extended essay.

Guidelines for selecting appropriate research methods and data sources in Anthropology

In order to conduct a thorough and successful anthropology extended essay, it is crucial to carefully select the appropriate research methods and data sources. This ensures that the essay is based on reliable information and provides valuable insights into the chosen topic.

Research Methods:

  • Start by determining the specific research methods you will use, such as participant observation, interviews, surveys, or archival research. Consider the nature of your research question and the kind of data you need to collect.
  • Make sure to familiarize yourself with the ethical considerations of each method and ensure you can meet any requirements or considerations required for your research.
  • Consider the strengths and limitations of each method and select the ones that are most appropriate for your research goals. For example, participant observation allows for direct immersion in the studied culture, but it may be more time-consuming compared to interviews.

Data Sources:

  • Determine the types of data sources you will utilize, such as primary sources (e.g., field notes, interviews, photographs) or secondary sources (e.g., books, scholarly articles, documentaries).
  • For primary sources, consider how to obtain accurate and credible data through rigorous observation, focused interviews, or documented experiences. Maintain methodological consistency throughout your research process.
  • When utilizing secondary sources, evaluate their reliability, authenticity, and relevance to your research question. Prefer reputable and peer-reviewed sources over biased or outdated materials.
  • Incorporate diverse sources that provide a well-rounded perspective on your topic, including academic publications, ethnographies, historical documents, and cultural artifacts.

While selecting research methods and data sources, strive for a balanced approach that utilizes a combination of methods and sources to enhance the reliability and validity of your findings.

Easy to Understand Structure:

1. Research Methods

  • Definition
  • Ethical considerations
  • Strengths and limitations

2. Data Sources

  • Primary sources
  • Secondary sources
  • Evaluating reliability and relevance
  • Incorporating diverse sources

By carefully selecting appropriate research methods and data sources, you will ensure the foundation of your anthropology extended essay is robust and capable of providing valuable insights into the chosen topic.

Analyzing and interpreting collected data in an anthropological extended essay

Once you have gathered all the necessary data for your anthropology extended essay, it’s time to start analyzing and interpreting it. This process is crucial as it allows you to draw meaningful conclusions and make insightful observations about your research question.

To begin with, carefully examine the data you have collected. This could include interviews, surveys, observations, or any other primary sources. Look for patterns, themes, and significant findings within the data. Take note of any recurring ideas or trends that emerge.

Next, organize your data in a logical and systematic manner. Use charts, graphs, or tables to visually represent your findings. This will make it easier to identify connections and relationships between different variables.

Once your data is organized, it’s time to interpret the results. Consider the broader theoretical concepts and frameworks of anthropology that may be relevant to your research question. Analyze your data in light of these theories to gain a deeper understanding of your topic.

Identify any inconsistencies or outliers in your data. Explore the possible explanations for these anomalies, and speculate on how they might challenge or enhance your overall argument.

Be sure to consider the limitations of your data as well. Acknowledge any potential biases or shortcomings in your research methods. This will add credibility to your analysis and demonstrate a thoughtful approach to your study.

Finally, draw conclusions based on your analysis. What do your findings suggest about your research question? Are there any broader implications or applications of your work? Make connections between your research and the larger field of anthropology, demonstrating the significance of your study.

Remember that analyzing and interpreting data is an ongoing process. It’s normal to revise your interpretations as you continue to engage with your material. Embrace the iterative nature of research, and be open to reevaluating your conclusions as new insights emerge.

By analyzing and interpreting your collected data, you will not only strengthen your argument but also contribute to the existing body of knowledge within anthropology. Your insights and findings have the potential to shape future research and deepen our understanding of human societies and cultures.

Building a solid structure and creating an outline for your extended essay in Anthropology

Once you have chosen your research question and gathered relevant materials, it is important to build a solid structure and create an outline for your extended essay in Anthropology. Having a clear structure will help you effectively organize your thoughts and ensure that your essay flows logically and coherently.

Here is a step-by-step guide to help you build the structure and create an outline:

  • Introduction: Start with a captivating opening that introduces your topic and provides background information. Clearly state your research question and provide a brief explanation of why it is significant in the field of anthropology.
  • Literature Review: Summarize and evaluate relevant theories, concepts, and previous research related to your research question. This section will help provide context and demonstrate your understanding of existing anthropological knowledge.
  • Methodology: Outline the research methods and data sources you used to collect information for your extended essay. Describe the procedures and techniques employed, ensuring transparency and reliability in your research process.
  • Findings: Present and analyze the data you collected during your research. Use appropriate anthropological concepts and theories to interpret your findings. Include relevant examples, illustrations, or statistics to support your analysis.
  • Discussion: Engage in a critical discussion of your findings and explore their implications. Evaluate your research within the broader anthropological context and address any limitations or weaknesses. Consider alternative perspectives and present arguments that support/counter your conclusions.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the main findings of your extended essay and evaluate how well your research question was answered. Reflect on the significance of your findings and suggest avenues for future research in anthropology regarding your topic.
  • References: Provide a comprehensive list of all sources cited in your extended essay. Follow the appropriate citation style (e.g., APA, MLA) to ensure accuracy and consistency.

Creating an outline: Before you start writing, it’s helpful to create a detailed outline that includes subsections and key points for each section. This will serve as a roadmap, guiding you through the writing process and ensuring you cover all necessary components of your essay. You can rearrange sections or adjust the flow of your argument based on your outline, enhancing the coherence and readability of your essay.

Remember, the structure and outline of your extended essay provide a framework for organizing your ideas and presenting your research in a clear and concise manner. As such, pay attention to transitions between sections and ensure that each paragraph contributes to the overall development of your argument. By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to building a stellar extended essay in Anthropology.

In-depth exploration of potential anthropology extended essay topics

Now that you have a clear understanding of the IB Extended Essay in Anthropology, let’s dive into the exciting part – selecting a topic! Choosing a compelling topic can make all the difference in the success of your extended essay.

Firstly, it’s essential to select a topic that you are genuinely passionate about. Think about the aspects of anthropology that intrigue you the most – whether it’s cultural, biological, linguistic, or archaeological anthropology. By focusing on a topic you’re deeply interested in, you’ll be more motivated and engaged throughout your research.

Here are a few potential anthropology extended essay topics to spark your inspiration:

  • The impact of globalization on indigenous cultures
  • An analysis of cultural practices surrounding death and mourning in different societies
  • The role of gender and sexuality in shaping social hierarchies
  • An examination of the impact of colonialism on indigenous communities
  • A comparative study of food rituals across different cultures
  • The manifestation of power dynamics within religious ceremonies
  • An exploration of the psychological effects of migration on individuals and communities
  • The interplay between language and identity formation
  • The representation of indigenous peoples in contemporary media

Remember, these topics are just starting points. Feel free to modify or combine them to create something unique to your interests. It’s important to consider the feasibility of your research topic, ensuring that you have access to the necessary resources and data.

Additionally, anthropology is an interdisciplinary field, so you can integrate methodologies or theories from other disciplines to enhance your research. For example, if you’re interested in the impact of social media on cultural practices, you can incorporate insights from sociology or communication studies.

Lastly, be aware of potential ethical considerations when selecting your topic. Ensure that your research respects the rights and dignity of individuals and communities you study.

By carefully choosing a captivating anthropology extended essay topic, you’ll embark on an enriching intellectual journey and produce a top-notch essay that showcases your curiosity and critical thinking skills.

Examining Successful Examples of Anthropology IB Extended Essays

In order to gain a better understanding of what makes a successful anthropology IB extended essay, it is helpful to examine examples of essays that have achieved high marks in the past. These examples can provide inspiration and guidance for your own research and writing.

One example of a successful anthropology extended essay explored the impact of cultural immersion programs on the formation of personal identity. The student conducted fieldwork by participating in a cross-cultural exchange program and interviewing participants about their experiences. Through careful analysis of the collected data, the essay demonstrated how such programs can shape identity and foster cultural sensitivity.

Another notable example focused on the cultural significance of body modification practices. The student compared and contrasted various instances of body modification across different cultures, using social and historical context to analyze the reasons behind these practices. This essay not only provided a comprehensive overview of body modification rituals, but also shed light on the complex intersections of culture, identity, and self-expression.

A third successful anthropology extended essay investigated the impacts of globalization on traditional Indigenous knowledge systems. The student traveled to a remote community and conducted interviews with community members, documenting their concerns, adaptations, and efforts to preserve their culture in the face of encroaching globalization. The essay emphasized the importance of valuing and supporting local knowledge in order to promote sustainable development and cultural diversity

These examples showcase the diverse range of topics and research methods that can be employed in an anthropology extended essay. By examining these successful essays, you can gain valuable insights into how to formulate research questions, collect and analyze data, and present your findings in a clear and compelling manner.

Remember, however, that it is important to avoid simply replicating or copying these examples. Your extended essay should be a unique piece of scholarly work that reflects your individual interests and strengths as an anthropology student. Use these examples as inspiration and as references to help you navigate the process, ensuring that your own extended essay reflects your unique perspective and voice.

Tips for Effective Writing, Editing, and Proofreading in Anthropology Extended Essays

Writing an extended essay in anthropology requires attention to detail, effective organization, and a clear understanding of the subject matter. Here are some tips to help you write, edit, and proofread your anthropology extended essay effectively:

  • Understand the formatting requirements: Familiarize yourself with the specific formatting guidelines provided by the International Baccalaureate program. Pay attention to details such as font size, citation style, and word count.
  • Create a clear thesis statement: Begin your essay with a strong and concise thesis statement that presents the main argument or research question. This sets the tone for the entire essay and helps guide your writing.
  • Organize your ideas logically: Create a logical structure for your essay by grouping related ideas together. Use paragraphs and subheadings to clearly organize your thoughts and make your essay easier to read and understand.
  • Provide evidence to support your claims: Anthropology is a field that relies heavily on evidence-based research. Back up your arguments and claims with relevant data, examples, and scholarly sources to strengthen your essay’s credibility.
  • Use proper referencing and citation: Accurately cite all the sources you have used in your essay using the appropriate citation style (such as APA or MLA). This not only avoids plagiarism but also gives credibility to your work.
  • Edit and revise for clarity: After completing the first draft of your essay, take the time to carefully review and edit it for clarity and coherence. Check for grammatical errors, awkward sentence structures, and unclear phrasing. Consider seeking feedback from mentors or peers to ensure your arguments are clear and well-developed.
  • Proofread for errors: Before submitting your final draft, carefully proofread your essay to catch any spelling or punctuation errors. Read it aloud to identify any awkward phrasing or unclear sentences. Double-check your formatting and make sure all citations are accurate and complete.
  • Seek feedback and revise: It’s important to seek feedback from your teachers, supervisors, or classmates during the writing process. Use their insights and suggestions to refine and improve your essay. Revise as necessary to ensure a polished final product.

By following these tips and strategies, you can enhance the quality of your writing in your anthropology extended essay. Remember to stay focused, consistently refer back to your research question, and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the topic. With careful attention to detail and effective writing techniques, you can produce an exceptional anthropology extended essay.

Valerie Green

Valerie Green

Valerie Green is a dedicated educator who spends her time helping high school and college students succeed. She writes articles and guides for various online education projects, providing students with the tools they need to excel in their studies. Friendly and approachable, she is committed to making a difference in the lives of students.

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