How to write IB Extended Essay? Tips and Tricks

Choose an intriguing topic

When it comes to writing your IB Extended Essay, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is selecting a topic. This is your opportunity to delve deep into a subject area that truly interests you, ensuring it aligns with the available categories within the IB curriculum.

So, how do you choose an intriguing topic? Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Reflect on your passions and interests: Think about the subjects or areas of study that spark curiosity in you. Is it literature, history, science, or perhaps visual arts? By choosing a topic that aligns with your interests, you’ll be more motivated to explore it in depth.
  • Browse through the IB guidelines: Familiarize yourself with the available categories within the IB curriculum. These include subjects like mathematics, biology, business management, and many more. Look for areas within these categories that catch your attention.
  • Consider the available resources: Think about the resources, materials, and expertise that you can access to support your research. Are there libraries, online databases, or individuals knowledgeable in your chosen subject area?
How to write IB Extended Essay? Tips and Tricks

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While it’s important to choose a topic that excites you, it’s also essential to ensure it fits within the IB guidelines. So, take some time to research the requirements and expectations for your extended essay.

Remember, your chosen topic needs to be researchable, feasible, and not too broad. Narrowing down your focus will allow you to explore the topic in greater depth. Speaking with your supervisor or teachers can also be a helpful step in honing your research question and ensuring your chosen topic will meet the criteria set by the IB.

By selecting an intriguing and suitable topic, you’ll set yourself up for a more engaging and enjoyable writing process. So, put some thought into your choice and find a subject that truly captivates your interest!

Narrow down your research question: Develop a focused and specific research question that will drive your investigation throughout the essay.

One of the most crucial steps in writing an IB Extended Essay is narrowing down a research question that is focused and specific. Your research question will serve as the foundation for your entire essay, providing the direction and purpose for your investigation. By developing a well-crafted research question, you will be able to delve into your chosen topic with clarity and precision.

To create an effective research question:

  • Begin by brainstorming broad interests or subject areas that captivate your curiosity within the framework of the IB curriculum. Think about topics that engage you and have the potential for deeper exploration.
  • Narrow down your options by considering the available categories provided by the IB curriculum. Identify which category aligns best with your interests and aligns with your chosen subject area.
  • Once you have selected a specific subject area, conduct preliminary research to identify gaps or areas within the topic that have room for further investigation. This will help you develop a research question that addresses a unique angle or aspect of the subject.
  • Be sure to make your research question clear, concise, and directly related to the subject area you have chosen. Avoid vague or overly broad questions that may be difficult to address thoroughly in your essay.
  • Create a question that encourages analysis, evaluation, and critical thinking. Use language that prompts you to interpret data, make connections, or analyze different perspectives on your chosen topic.

A well-thought-out research question will not only guide your research efforts but also determine the boundaries and scope of your essay. It should be specific enough to focus your investigation, while still allowing for independent thought and analysis. Remember that your research question needs to align with the academic requirements and expectations outlined by the IB.

Take the time to refine and revise your research question as you begin your research. Consult with your teacher or advisor for feedback to ensure that your question is robust and suitable for an extended essay.

In conclusion, developing a focused and specific research question is essential for writing a successful IB Extended Essay. It provides direction, purpose, and clarity to your investigation, allowing you to delve deep into your chosen topic. By following these steps, you will be able to create a research question that is well-defined and aligns with the academic expectations set by the IB.

Plan your research approach

Once you have chosen an intriguing topic for your IB Extended Essay, it’s time to plan your research approach. This step is crucial in ensuring that you gather reliable and academic information that will support your investigation.

In order to determine the sources and methods you will use, start by identifying what type of information you need to gather. This will depend on your research question and the scope of your essay. Consider whether you require primary sources (first-hand accounts, original data) or secondary sources (books, academic articles), or a combination of both.

1. Primary Sources: If your research question necessitates primary sources, think about the best way to obtain them. This could include conducting interviews, surveys, or experiments. Perhaps you need to analyze historical documents or gather data through fieldwork. Determine the most suitable method to acquire this information, and make sure it aligns with your question and the resources available to you.

2. Secondary Sources: Secondary sources can provide valuable insights from expert scholars and researchers in your chosen field. Ensure that the books, articles, and publications you use are reputable and academically recognized. Look for academic databases and libraries that specialize in your subject area. These resources often offer access to peer-reviewed journals and other scholarly works that may strengthen your research.

Applying critical judgment is essential when evaluating the reliability of your sources. Consider the author’s credibility, publication date, and potential biases. The more reliable and well-supported your sources are, the stronger your essay will be.

3. Data Collection Methods: Besides sources, consider the methods you can use for data collection. This may involve qualitative techniques such as interviews or focus groups, or quantitative methods such as surveys or numerical analysis. Determine which methods are most appropriate for your research objectives, ensuring they provide valid and accurate data.

In summary, planning your research approach requires evaluating which sources and methods are best suited to answer your research question. By ensuring that your sources are reliable and academic in nature, you can strengthen the credibility and validity of your IB Extended Essay.

Create a Clear and Logical Structure

When writing your IB Extended Essay, having a clear and logical structure is essential for presenting your research effectively. By organizing your essay into sections, you provide a framework that allows your reader to navigate through your ideas and arguments seamlessly.

The Introduction

In the introduction, you should provide background context to introduce your topic to the reader. Clearly state your research question, and outline the objectives of your essay. A well-written introduction should grab the reader’s attention and establish the importance of your research.

The Main Body

The main body of your essay is where you present your arguments and analysis to answer your research question. It is crucial to organize your main points into coherent paragraphs. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the main idea. Then, provide evidence and examples to support your claims. Remember to include references to academic sources to strengthen your argument.

Additionally, if your research covers multiple subtopics or different aspects of your chosen subject, consider using subheadings. Subheadings allow you to further divide your main body and make it easier for the reader to navigate and understand your essay’s structure. Use clear and descriptive subheadings that reflect the content they cover.

The Conclusion

In the conclusion, summarize the main points presented in your essay. Restate your thesis statement and explain how your findings contribute to existing knowledge within your chosen field. You can also offer final thoughts or recommendations based on your research. However, be cautious not to introduce new information or arguments in the conclusion.

Incorporating Subheadings to Aid Understanding

Using subheadings is especially helpful when your essay covers complex or extensive research. They act as signposts, guiding the reader through your essay and making it easier for them to find specific information. Furthermore, subheadings allow you to create a more organized structure, enhancing readability and comprehension.

When utilizing subheadings, choose descriptive and concise titles that accurately represent the content of each section. This clarity enables your reader to anticipate what they’ll encounter in the upcoming paragraphs. It’s important, however, not to use an excessive number of subheadings as it may overwhelm the reader.

  • Example:
  • Introduction
  • Background context
  • Research question and objectives
  • Main Body
  • Argument 1: [Title]
  • Sub-argument 1: [Title]
  • Evidence and examples
  • Argument 2: [Title]
  • Sub-argument 1: [Title]
  • Evidence and examples
  • Argument 3: [Title]
  • Sub-argument 1: [Title]
  • Evidence and examples
  • Conclusion
  • Summary of main points
  • Restatement of thesis statement
  • Final thoughts or recommendations

By following a clear and logical structure, your IB Extended Essay becomes more reader-friendly and allows the reader to engage with your ideas and arguments effectively. Remember to check the guidelines provided by your IB curriculum to ensure your structure aligns with their requirements.

Craft a captivating introduction

The first few lines of your essay are crucial for capturing the reader’s attention and setting the tone for your entire work. A well-written introduction invites the reader to delve into your research and makes them eager to learn more. To craft a captivating introduction, follow these key steps:

  • Provide background context: Begin by offering some background information related to your topic. This can include historical context, current trends, or any relevant facts that help situate your research area in a broader context.
  • Outline the research question: Clearly state your research question in a concise and precise manner. This will help the reader understand the focus of your investigation right from the start. Make sure your question is specific enough to guide your research, but broad enough to allow for meaningful exploration.
  • Engage the reader: Grab the reader’s attention with an interesting anecdote, thought-provoking statistic, or engaging question related to your topic. By creating this initial connection, you increase the chances of the reader staying invested in your essay.

A captivating introduction should not only provide the necessary information but also create a sense of anticipation and curiosity. By outlining the background, research question, and engaging the reader right from the beginning, you set up a strong foundation for the rest of your essay.

Remember to maintain a simple and easy-to-understand language throughout your introduction, aimed at a reading grade eight level. This allows for maximum accessibility and ensures that readers from various backgrounds can engage with your essay easily.

Incorporate appropriate formatting tags, such as <h2></h2> for headings and <p></p> for paragraphs, to enhance the readability and structure of your guide.

Provide a Comprehensive Literature Review

In order to write a successful IB Extended Essay, it is crucial to conduct a comprehensive literature review. This involves evaluating and analyzing relevant sources to demonstrate a deep understanding of existing knowledge on your chosen topic. By thoroughly reviewing the literature, you can build a solid foundation for your own research and ensure that your essay contributes to the broader academic conversation.

To begin, start by selecting high-quality scholarly sources that provide reliable and relevant information. This may include academic journals, books, and reputable websites. Be sure to search for sources that are up-to-date and directly related to your research question.

Next, carefully read and critically evaluate each source. Pay attention to the main arguments, key findings, and methodologies used in the research. Take notes as you go along, highlighting important ideas and concepts that align with your own investigation.

Aim to identify any gaps or limitations in the existing literature. This will allow you to position your research within the context of previous studies and provide valuable insights into your essay. By showing awareness of the limitations and complexities of the topic, you can demonstrate a mature and nuanced understanding.

When analyzing the literature, consider organizing your findings thematically or chronologically. This will help you identify patterns and connections within the existing knowledge, making it easier to synthesize and present your own arguments.

Remember, your goal is not to regurgitate information from your sources but to demonstrate your ability to critically analyze and evaluate the literature. Therefore, be selective in choosing the most relevant information to include in your essay.

Incorporate proper citations throughout your literature review to acknowledge the original authors and give credit where it is due. This demonstrates academic integrity and helps to avoid plagiarism, which is of utmost importance in academic writing.

Overall, a comprehensive literature review is essential to the success of your IB Extended Essay. It shows that you have taken the time to familiarize yourself with the existing knowledge on your topic, and it allows you to situate your own research within the broader academic landscape. By carefully evaluating and analyzing relevant sources, you can present a well-informed essay that makes a valuable contribution to your chosen field of study.

Conduct thorough data collection and analysis

Now that you have developed your research plan, it’s time to gather the necessary data to support your investigation. To ensure the validity and reliability of your findings, consider using a variety of methods and sources.

1. Primary and secondary sources: Start by identifying both primary and secondary sources that are relevant to your research question. Primary sources include original data collected firsthand, such as surveys or interviews, while secondary sources refer to existing literature and research conducted by others.

2. Surveys and interviews: If applicable to your essay topic, consider designing and administering surveys or conducting interviews with experts in the field. Surveys can provide quantitative data and insights from a large number of respondents, while interviews offer the opportunity for in-depth qualitative information.

3. Literature review: Explore existing research papers, articles, books, and journals that align with your topic. A thorough literature review will demonstrate your ability to critically analyze existing knowledge and identify any gaps in the current understanding of your research question.

4. Observations and experiments: Depending on the nature of your topic, you may need to gather data through observations or experiments. These methods can provide firsthand evidence to support your claims and strengthen the credibility of your research.

5. Statistical analysis: Once you have collected the necessary data, apply appropriate analytical techniques to interpret your findings. Statistical analysis can help identify patterns, trends, and correlations in your data, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of your research question.

6. Data visualization: Presenting your data visually through graphs, charts, or tables can make it easier for your readers to comprehend and interpret. Consider using software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to create clear and visually appealing data visualizations.

Remember, when conducting data collection and analysis, accuracy and integrity are paramount. Ensure that your sources are reliable and reputable, and be transparent about any limitations or biases in your research methodology.

By implementing a thorough data collection and analysis process, you will be able to generate robust findings that contribute significantly to the knowledge in your chosen field.

Showcase Critical Thinking Skills

As you embark on your IB Extended Essay journey, it is crucial to showcase your critical thinking skills throughout your research. This involves reflecting on the implications and limitations of your research and discussing how it contributes to the knowledge in your chosen field.

When reflecting on the implications of your research, consider how your findings can have real-world applications or provide new insights into the topic. This could involve discussing how your research may challenge existing theories or open up new avenues for further investigation. Think about the potential impact of your work and its relevance to the broader academic community or even society as a whole.

Additionally, it is important to recognize the limitations of your research. This means acknowledging any constraints or weaknesses in your methodology, data collection, or analysis. By openly discussing these limitations, you demonstrate a sound understanding of the complexity of your research topic and why certain aspects may be open to interpretation or improvement.

Furthermore, you should discuss how your research contributes to the knowledge in your chosen field. This involves considering how your work adds to the existing body of literature, whether it confirms or challenges previous studies, and if it fills gaps in current scholarship. By highlighting the significance of your research, you show that you are actively engaging with the academic discourse in your area.

To effectively showcase your critical thinking skills, make sure to support your reflections with evidence and logical reasoning. Draw connections between your findings and the broader context of your field, demonstrating a deep understanding of the subject matter.

A strong and thoughtful reflection on the implications and limitations of your research not only adds credibility to your work, but also showcases your ability to analyze information critically and to draw meaningful conclusions. By actively engaging with these aspects of your research, you will elevate your essay to a higher level of academic scholarship.

Present a structured argument: Support your thesis statement using logical and evidence-based arguments throughout the main body of your essay.

Once you have identified a compelling topic for your IB Extended Essay, it is essential to present your arguments in a clear and structured manner. The main body of your essay is where you will provide evidence, analysis, and reasoning to support your thesis statement.

Start by introducing your main points or arguments, which should relate directly to your thesis statement. Each argument should be presented in its own paragraph, with a topic sentence that clearly states the main idea. This helps give structure to your essay and allows readers to follow your line of reasoning.

In each paragraph, provide supporting evidence to back up your argument. This could include data, facts, examples, or quotations from reputable sources. Be sure to properly cite all your sources in the required format stipulated by the IB.

After presenting your evidence, analyze and explain how it supports your thesis statement. Consider utilizing critical thinking skills to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of your argument and to show why your interpretation is valid. This will demonstrate not only your understanding of the topic but also your ability to form a coherent and persuasive argument.

It is important to maintain a logical flow throughout your essay. One way to achieve this is by using transition words and phrases to connect your ideas and make smooth transitions between paragraphs. Some examples of transition words include “similarly,” “additionally,” “however,” and “conversely.”

In addition to presenting your arguments, remember to anticipate counterarguments or alternate perspectives. This shows that you have considered multiple viewpoints and strengthens your own argument by addressing potential weaknesses. You can compare and contrast different perspectives or address objections raised by opponents.

By providing a structured argument supported by evidence, you not only demonstrate your research skills but also enhance the persuasiveness and credibility of your essay. Remember to refer back to your thesis statement throughout the main body of your essay to ensure that your discussion remains focused and on track.

In conclusion, presenting a structured argument with logical and evidence-based reasoning plays a crucial role in writing an effective IB Extended Essay. By organizing your main points, providing supporting evidence, and anticipating alternate perspectives, you can communicate your ideas clearly and persuasively, ultimately contributing to a stronger and more impactful essay.

Incorporate Counterarguments and Alternate Perspectives

When writing your IB Extended Essay, it is essential to acknowledge that differing opinions and alternative viewpoints exist on your topic. By incorporating these counterarguments, you can strengthen your own argument by addressing potential weaknesses and showcasing a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter.

1. Recognize and understand opposing viewpoints:

Start by thoroughly researching and familiarizing yourself with alternative perspectives and arguments related to your research question. This will demonstrate your commitment to unbiased analysis and showcase your ability to critically evaluate various viewpoints.

2. Address potential weaknesses:

Once you identify the counterarguments, be sure to address any potential weaknesses they may bring to your own argument. By doing so, you show careful consideration of different viewpoints and provide a balanced approach to your analysis. This strengthens your overall argument, leaving no room for assumptions or inaccuracies.

3. Provide counter-evidence and refute opposing claims:

Incorporate evidence from reliable and credible sources that disprove or challenge the opposing claims. Carefully analyze and showcase why the counter-evidence is stronger, addressing any possible flaws in the opposing perspective. This demonstrates your analytical skills and proficiency in constructing a sound argument.

4. Offer thoughtful rebuttals:

Constructing thought-provoking rebuttals not only supports your own thesis but also engages readers by encouraging them to critically think about the topic. By respectfully addressing opposing arguments and providing well-reasoned rebuttals, you show maturity and fairness in your analysis.

5. Emphasize the significance:

Your objective is to showcase a comprehensive understanding of the topic and its complexities. Incorporating counterarguments and alternative perspectives highlights the contrast between different viewpoints and enhances the importance of your argument compared to others. This demonstrates that you have performed a thorough evaluation instead of simply presenting a one-sided analysis.

Incorporating counterarguments and alternate perspectives not only strengthens your own argument but also highlights your ability to think critically and engage with diverse opinions. By acknowledging differing viewpoints, you create a more robust and comprehensive piece of writing that impresses your readers and evaluators.

Conclude effectively: Summarize your main points, restate your thesis statement, and offer final thoughts or recommendations based on the insights derived from your research.

Once you have presented all the necessary information and arguments to support your thesis statement throughout the main body of your IB Extended Essay, it’s time to bring everything together and conclude your essay effectively. The conclusion serves as the final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on your reader and convey the significance of your research.

In order to conclude your essay successfully, follow these important steps:

  • Summarize your main points: Start by briefly reviewing the main points you covered throughout your essay. Summarize each section in a concise manner, highlighting the key findings and insights from your research. This will help your reader recall the main arguments and evidence presented.
  • Restate your thesis statement: Remind your reader of your initial thesis statement and restate it in a succinct manner. Avoid introducing new information or ideas at this stage. Instead, focus on reinforcing the main argument you made in your essay and remind your reader of the purpose and scope of your research.
  • Offer final thoughts or recommendations: Use the conclusion as an opportunity to reflect on the significance of your research and discuss any potential implications or applications of your findings. Offer thoughtful insights and recommendations for future studies or practical actions that can be taken based on your research. This not only demonstrates the importance of your work but also allows you to contribute valuable ideas to your chosen field.

Remember to keep your conclusion concise and focused, ensuring that your main points, restated thesis statement, and final thoughts or recommendations are clear and coherent. Avoid introducing new information or going off on tangents that may confuse your reader.

In conclusion, the final section of your IB Extended Essay should act as a summary and synthesis of all the information presented in your essay. By effectively summarizing your main points, restating your thesis statement, and offering meaningful final thoughts or recommendations, you can leave a strong impression on your reader and highlight the value of your research.

Remember that word count doesn’t matter, what matters is meaningful content

When writing your IB Extended Essay, it’s important to keep in mind that the focus should be on delivering valuable information rather than reaching a certain word count. Quality over quantity is key.

The numbering plan provided above is simply a guide to help you organize your thoughts and ensure all aspects of the essay are covered. Take advantage of the suggestions and expand on each point to provide thorough and comprehensive insights.

Sometimes, students can get caught up in trying to reach a specific word count and end up including irrelevant or repetitive information. This not only decreases the overall quality of the essay but also disrupts the flow and makes it less engaging for the reader.

To create a well-rounded guide on writing an IB Extended Essay, prioritize delivering meaningful content by delving deeper into each point. Provide examples, tips, and real-life experiences if possible, to make the essay more relatable for the readers.

By using simple language and a clear structure, aimed at a reading grade eight level, you can ensure that your guide is accessible to a wide range of audiences. Avoid using jargon or convoluted sentences that could confuse or alienate readers who may not be familiar with academic writing.

Remember, the primary purpose of your guide is to provide assistance and support to individuals who are writing an IB Extended Essay for the first time. By utilizing HTML tags effectively, including


, and occasionally using
tags for lists, you can create visually appealing and easy-to-navigate sections.

Lastly, always remember that content is king. Each section of your guide should be rich in information and offer practical tips and tricks that can truly help students excel in their IB Extended Essays. With this in mind, go ahead and guide aspiring writers through this daunting process with confidence and clarity.

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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