Pros and Pitfalls of Using Internet-Sourced EE Topics

Choosing a topic for a high-grade extended essay (EE) can be both exhilarating and daunting. As a seasoned IB writer, I’ve seen my fair share of students struggle with this crucial decision. These days, the Internet is a goldmine of resources, and many students turn to Internet-sourced EE topics. However, this approach comes with its own set of pros and cons.

Understanding Internet-Sourced Extended Essay Topics

Internet-sourced EE topics are those ideas or themes students unearth through online research. These topics, found across various websites, blogs, academic journals, and forums, are characterized by their wealth of readily available information. In my extensive experience guiding students, I’ve noticed that these topics hold significant appeal due to their easy accessibility. They provide a gateway for students to access a plethora of information without the limitations of physical libraries or geographic boundaries.

Moreover, these topics are often broad and diverse, covering a range of subjects and disciplines. This breadth allows students to explore areas not covered in traditional curriculums or textbooks, offering a unique opportunity to dig into less conventional or more niche subjects. For example, students might stumble upon a fascinating topic related to emerging technologies or contemporary issues in social sciences that are not extensively covered in their school materials.

What makes Internet-sourced topics particularly intriguing is their dynamic nature. Unlike textbooks, which may take years to update, online content constantly evolves, offering students the most current insights and research. This dynamism is particularly advantageous for extended essays, as it enables students to incorporate the latest findings and discussions into their work, making their essays more relevant and engaging.

So, choosing Internet-sourced EE topics opens a world of possibilities for students, providing them with easy access to various subjects and the most up-to-date information. This access enriches their research and broadens their academic horizons far from the syllabus.

Pros of Using Internet-Sourced EE Topics

As an IB tutor with extensive experience guiding students through their extended essay writing, I’ve observed numerous advantages to choosing extended essay topics from the Internet. These benefits facilitate a more engaging research process and boost the EE’s educational value. Below, I’ll outline these advantages, drawing from my personal experience and the general IB criteria that govern the extended essay.

1. Accessibility of Diverse Information

In my experience, the most significant advantage of internet-sourced EE topics is the unparalleled accessibility of diverse information. Students can easily access many resources, from scholarly articles to real-world case studies, all from their digital devices. This ease of access is particularly beneficial for students in remote or resource-limited areas, where traditional libraries may not provide extensive materials. According to general IB criteria, a well-researched essay should display a breadth of understanding, and internet sources make this achievable for all students.

2. Up-to-Date and Current Content

Another key advantage, as I know, is the up-to-date nature of internet content. Academic disciplines constantly evolve, and the internet provides the latest research, theories, and discussions. It’s crucial for sciences or social studies, where new findings and perspectives emerge regularly. Using the most current information for an extended essay reflects students’ engagement with their topic and commitment to presenting a well-informed argument.

3. Inspiration for Unique and Creative Topics

From my perspective, the internet is an incredible source of inspiration for unique and creative EE topics. The sheer variety of online content encourages students to think outside the box and explore unconventional or niche subjects. It makes the research process more enjoyable and allows students to pursue their genuine interests, leading to more passionate and personalized essays. According to general IB criteria, originality and personal engagement are highly valued in an extended essay, and internet-sourced topics often provide the perfect foundation for these elements.

4. Easy Access to Global Perspectives

Lastly, internet-sourced topics provide easy access to global perspectives, which is invaluable in crafting a well-rounded extended essay. Understanding different cultural, social, and economic viewpoints is crucial in our interconnected world. Online resources enable students to incorporate these diverse perspectives into their essays, enriching their analysis and promoting a more holistic understanding of their chosen topic.

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Risks of Using Internet-Sourced EE Topics

While internet-sourced EE topics offer tremendous benefits, I’ve come to recognize that they pose specific challenges and risks. Students must be aware of these potential pitfalls to dodge them effectively.

1. Questionable Credibility and Accuracy

One of the most significant challenges, in my opinion, is the questionable credibility and accuracy of some internet sources. The Internet is vast, and not all information online is reliable or accurate. Students must exercise critical thinking and discernment in evaluating their sources. According to general IB criteria, an extended essay must be grounded in credible and scholarly research. Therefore, reliance on dubious internet sources could undermine the academic integrity and quality of the essay.

2. Overwhelming Information and Potential for Distraction

As I know from experience, another challenge is the overwhelming amount of online information, which can sometimes lead to distraction. Students might find themselves lost in a sea of data, struggling to distinguish what’s relevant to their topic. This overabundance can make maintaining a focused and coherent argument in the extended essay difficult. Students must stay on track and not deviate too far from their central thesis or research question.

3. Risk of Plagiarism and Lack of Originality

From my experience, a critical risk associated with Internet-sourced topics is the heightened potential for plagiarism and lack of extended essay originality. With so much content easily accessible, there’s a temptation to borrow ideas or even specific phrases without proper attribution. It violates IB’s strict policies on academic honesty and detracts from the student’s opportunity to express their unique voice and perspective. As general IB EE grading criteria dictate, ensuring originality in thought and writing is paramount.

4. Difficulty in Establishing Personal Connection

Finally, establishing a personal engagement and connection with Internet-sourced topics can be challenging. While the Internet offers a breadth of themes, it may lack the depth or personal resonance that comes from more traditional methods of topic selection, like personal experiences or academic interests. According to general IB criteria, a successful extended essay should reflect a student’s engagement with the subject matter, which can take more work to achieve with a topic chosen purely for its online availability.

Overcoming Pitfalls of Using Internet-Sourced EE Topics

The Internet, while a rich source of information, can lead students down a path fraught with challenges. However, these problems are manageable. From my experience, there are strategic ways to overcome these pitfalls effectively.

First and foremost, it’s essential to develop a keen sense of discernment when evaluating online sources. This skill is vital for the extended essay and a crucial competency in our increasingly digital world. As per general IB criteria, sources’ credibility and academic suitability are non-negotiable aspects of any research project.

To effectively overcome these pitfalls, consider the following checklist:

  • Evaluate Source Credibility. Look for information from reputable, peer-reviewed journals or established scholarly databases.
  • Cross-Check Information. Verify facts and data across multiple sources to ensure accuracy and reliability.
  • Avoid Overreliance on One Source. Diversify your primary and secondary sources to avoid bias and to provide a well-rounded perspective on your topic.
  • Be Mindful of Plagiarism. Always cite your sources correctly and use plagiarism checkers to ensure the originality of your work.
  • Seek Guidance When Needed. For advice on source reliability, feel free to consult with teachers, librarians, or subject experts.

In my opinion, one key aspect of overcoming these challenges is the willingness to invest time and effort into thorough research. Internet resources should be a starting point rather than your research. Combining online sources with books, academic journals, and interviews can enrich your essay and provide a depth of understanding that internet-sourced material alone cannot.

Additionally, maintaining a critical and questioning mindset is crucial. As I often tell my students, question the purpose and the context of the information you find online. Who is the author? What is the intended audience? What perspective or bias might the source have? Answering these questions will help you to use Internet resources judiciously and effectively.

Many educators agree that Internet-sourced topics can be beneficial if approached correctly. They stress the importance of critical thinking and proper citation practices. From their perspective, the Internet should supplement, not replace, traditional research methods.

In my years as an IB writer, I’ve seen students successfully use Internet resources to create unique and insightful essays. Conversely, I’ve also seen students struggle with overly generic or poorly researched Internet topics. These EE case studies underscore the importance of a balanced approach.


In conclusion, while Internet-sourced EE topics offer numerous advantages like accessibility and inspiration, they also come with risks like credibility issues and plagiarism. From my experience, the key is to strike a balance β€” use the Internet as a starting point but add your personal touch and rigorous research. Remember, your extended essay is researching a topic you are passionate about. Make it count! Also, contact our IB EE Writing Service experts if you need help with topic choices or extended essay writing.

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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Pros and Pitfalls of Using Internet-Sourced EE Topics

In the ever-evolving landscape of academic research, the Internet has emerged as a significant resource for students undertaking the challenging task of the IB Extended Essay (EE). As an experienced IB writer, I’ve observed the transformative impact of Internet-sourced EE topics. This article aims to highlight both the benefits and challenges of this modern approach to research.