Extended Essay Breakdown Express

August 30, 2017     Introductory Meeting during Junior Seminar / Research Skills Lab class

  • Introduction to the Extended Essay and Senior Project

Fall, 2017     Junior Seminar/Research Skills Lab class time devoted to:

  • Introduction to WSA Library EE Guide, and IB documents:
    • IB Assessment Criteria for the EE
    • Relevant EE Subject Guide(s), including the World Studies Guide
    • IB's ethical guidelines related to academic honesty, citing and referencing, and (if applicable to your subject and topic) research and fieldwork, and use of animals)
  • Introduction to EE assessment criteria
  • Research methods, referencing skills, literature review skills
  • Generating research questions

October 2-6, 2017     Individual check-in meetings with EE Coordinator

  • Scheduled during Junior Seminar class
  • Be prepared to answer these questions:
    • Have you chosen an IB subject area of research, or do you know the two subjects your would choose for a World Studies Extended Essay?   
    • What IB subject area do you see this research fitting in to?
    • What sparked your interest in this subject area?
    • What background reading have you done so far?
    • How are you planning on organizing your research, notes, ideas, etc. so that you'll be able to access them when you're ready to write?
    • Do you have a provisional research question that will fit in with your chosen subject?
    • What are the next steps in conducting your research?

November 28, 2017

DUE:  By 8:20 AM on 11/28/2017 to Susan Trower 

'Student Undertaking Contract' signed by both student and parent

DUE:  'Proposed Subject and Topic Form' signed by student; Include one or two proposals, each with:

EE subject, or WSEE theme and two IB subjects

Specific topic area or research question

Rationale for choosing this topic area

DUE:  Feasibility and Viability Report - one report for each EE proposal - each with:

5 - 10 sources

Correctly referenced in chosen citation style

Five of the sources must have at least two notes each; notes must include:

Summary of key points, bullet points of themes, ideas, research, etc.

Quotes as appropriate, page numbers, new references, paths of investigation, etc.

Headings with any information from the source that relates to the EE topic / research question

Summary of key points, bullet points of themes, ideas, research, etc.

Notes may be submitted using the Notecards feature in NoodleTools

Goal is to prove viability of proposed research question

December 14, 2017     Extended Essay supervisors assigned

January 16 - 25, 2018

Schedule appointment with supervisor and meet for first time (Initial Reflection Session)

As preparation for their first advisory session, students should be prepared to discuss the following:

  1. Criteria:  you should go over the subject-specific assessment criteria 
  2. Research question: work with your supervisor to narrow your topic/question down to a manageable scope (capable of being covered in 4,000 words); investigate the viability of your topic; if you have a wildly interesting but impractical question:  be prepared to heed the advice of your supervisor; know that it's up to you, and your supervisor will not prescribe or create a research question for you
  3. Exemplars:  ask for exemplars in your chosen subject from the EE coordinator or your supervisor.
  4. Library:  Be sure to check with the WSA Librarian for help in getting access to publications or online journals that would apply to your topic.
  5. Structure: Work with your supervisor to devise a plan as t how your research question could be structured or go to the session with a proposed structure you have in mind for review (chapter headings, for instance.)  MindMap® of ideas, flow charts, and other models could prove useful here to help you visualize your structure at this early stage.
  6. Time Management: If you are finding it difficult to plan your time due to other assessment pressures or extra-curricular demands, then it may be useful to speak to your supervisor with regards to creating a structured research timeline or more specific timetable to help you to see exactly what is required and when.

January 29, 2018

DUE:   'Research Readiness Form' to Susan Trower, signed by both student and supervisor

  • Turned in by 3:30 PM on 1/29/2018
  • Worth 50 points towards Spring Semester EE grade
  • Late form = 0 points

DUE:   First reflection (150-175 words) to Susan Trower via email

  • Emailed reflection must arrive by 3:30 PM on 1/29/2018
  • Worth 50 points towards Spring Semester EE grade
  • Late reflection = 0 points

February - March, 2018     Meet with supervisor at least two more times (10-20 minute sessions)

  • Things to be prepared to discuss with your supervisor:
    • Passivity - If you haven't done as much as you had hoped for since your first meeting, discuss the reasons and causes for this with your supervisor and ways to overcome or avoid this in future sessions.
    • Reading - Discuss your reading and/or research.  What have you found out?  Any surprises? Any useful lines of thought or approaches to the question?
    • Notes - Do you have a workable note-taking system in place?
    • Essay plan - Go over how to best structure your essay.
    • Exemplars - Try marking up a pre-existing essay with the assessment criteria, then go over this with your supervisor.  This will allow you to write with the assessment criteria firmly in mind.
    • Time-management - Be prepared to adjust your normal routines to accommodate any delays or issues with your EE so far. Sticking to deadlines will ensure you get this done!
    • Writing - Commit to getting started on your writing!
    • Research question - Tweaking  at this point is OK, but not big changes to your topic area or question.
  • Continue to use your RRS (Researcher's reflection space) to record reflections on what you are reading, writing and thinking

April 9-13, 2018   Meet with supervisor to discuss:

  • Completion of planned reading and/or research (Is further reading and/or research needed?)
  • Challenges encountered in EE process
  • EE presentation to Supervisors and Class of 2020 on May 1

April 16, 2018

DUE:   'Writing Readiness Form' to Susan Trower, signed by both student and supervisor, by 3:30 PM on 4/16/2018

  • Worth 50 points towards Spring Semester EE grade
  • Late form = 0 points

May 1, 2018

Extended Essay Presentations to Supervisors and Class of 2020

  • PowerPoint presentation, 8-10 slides, 5 minutes
  • Presentation of your most up-to-date findings and research
  • Scheduled during Advocacy and All School meeting time in two groups; one in the Conference Room and one in Parke 2
  • Includes:
    • Subject and research question
    • Background (what your EE is about)
    • Research conducted so far
    • Planned research for the summer
    • Working outline of the final contents page
    • Detailed summary of one or two chapters or sections
    • Problems encountered / solutions found
    • Bibliography, accurately referenced with chosen citation style
  • Worth 100 points towards Spring Semester EE grade
  • No presentation = 0 points

May 1, 2018

DUE: Student brings signed 'Extended Essay Progress Check Form' to be completed by supervisor after the presentation.

  • Worth 50 points towards Spring Semester EE grade
  • Late form = 0 points

June 1, 2018

DUE: 5 pages of writing due to Supervisor and Susan Trower

  • Emailed document must arrive by 3:30 PM on 6/01/2018
  • Worth 100 points towards Spring Semester EE grade
  • Late paper = 0 points
  • Options:
    • 5 pages of 'Body' of paper, based on the essay outline presented to EE Supervisors and the Class of 2020 on May 1, OR
    • 5 pages of writing total, comprised of paragraphs analyzing the information from at least 5 of the primary and/or secondary sources to be used for the paper.  For this approach, Eric Bright's worksheets for analysis of historical primary and secondary sources can be used to help with deciding how to structure the writing.

June 4 - 7, 2018     Meet with Supervisor to discuss:

  • Quality of preliminary writing submitted on June 1
  • EE assessment criteria (Students would benefit from reading Chapter 7. Assessment [maximizing marks], in Oxford Extended Essay Course Companion, by Kosta Lekanides, ISBN 9780198377764, before this meeting)
  • Summer plans for completing writing on the EE

June - August, 2018     Students write first draft of their Extended Essay

Summer Break

September 4, 2018

DUE: First 10 pages of draft due to Supervisor and Susan Trower

  • Emailed document must arrive by 3:30 PM on 9/4/2018
  • Worth 100 points towards Fall Semester EE grade
  • Late paper = 0 points

September 10-14, 2018


Meeting with Supervisor regarding quality of preliminary draft (no editing)

As preparation for the interim reflection session, students should have:

  1. attempted to refine a focused and appropriate research question
  2. significantly deepened their research and recorded pertinent evidence, information or data in the Researcher’s reflection space
  3. reviewed and consolidated the methodologies they are using
  4. formulated arguments based on the evidence that they have collected
  5. added to the working bibliography for their research.

September 17, 2018

DUE:   Interim reflection (150-175 words) due to Susan Trower via email

  • Emailed reflection must arrive by 3:30 PM on 9/17/2018
  • Worth 50 points towards Fall Semester EE grade
  • Late reflection = 0 points

October 22, 2018

DUE: Complete draft due to Susan Trower by 3:30 PM

  • Two (2) printed copies and an emailed digital copy required by 3:30 PM on 10/22/2018
  • Draft must conform to IB Formal Presentation Guidelines as provided to Candidate
    • Required components: Title Page, Table of Contents, Introduction, Body of Paper, Conclusion, Works Cited (NOTE: do NOT include an Abstract)
    • Required Format: Arial font, 12 point font size, double-spaced text, numbered pages, indented paragraphs, appropriate margins (1" on all sides is acceptable)
    • Acceptable file type: DOC or DOCX
  • Worth 100 points towards Fall Semester EE grade
  • Late paper = 0 points

Week of October 29 - November 2, 2018

Mandatory draft (revision) conference with supervisor

  • Scheduled by student in advance at discretion of Supervisor     
  • Set aside minimum of one hour for meeting

December 3, 2018

FINAL COPY DUE to Susan Trower by 3:30 PM

  • Emailed digital copy required by 3:30 PM on 12/3/2018
  • Final copy must conform to IB Formal Presentation Guidelines as provided to Candidate (see note above)
  • Worth 100 points towards Fall Semester EE grade
  • Late paper = 0 points

December 3-7, 2018


Final session with supervisor, scheduled by student in advance at discretion of Supervisor

Students should bring the following to this session:

  • extracts from their Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS) that illustrate how they have grown as learners through the process of reflection
  • a willingness to share their personal experience and to discuss the skills and development of conceptual understandings that they have acquired through the completion of the extended essay.

December 10, 2018

DUE:   Final reflection (150-175 words) due to Susan Trower via email

  • Emailed reflection must arrive by 3:30 PM on 12/10/2018
  • Worth 50 points towards Fall Semester EE grade
  • Late reflection = 0 points

How to Write Your Extended Essay (Getting Started)

Starting your Extended Essay is a big challenge.

The best advice I can give you is start early and choose your research question carefully. Starting early is a time-management aspect you'll have to figure out on your own. But I can help you a lot on the second part.

Coming up with an appropriate question is about 25% of the whole battle. Your supervisor can help you with this, but often they'll leave it to you.

And you’ll want to be very careful here. With the right question almost anything is possible. With the wrong question, you're setting yourself up to fail. Most students brainstorm possible ideas, ask for suggestions and read successful EE samples (which are often available in your high school library). But I want to help you to do better than the average student. The following 4 tests will help you make sure your RQ is top notch.

The Four Tests

A good research question (RQ) passes the following 4 tests:

#1 Is it the right scope?

Of course the question needs to be one that is answerable within the 4000 word limit. You should be asking one relatively simple question. 4000 words seems like a lot right now, but (after a few months of research and writing) it won’t.

Try to make your question as focused (small) as possible. A question like, "Has the Singapore government's approach to health care improved economic growth" is WAY too broad. That's crazy talk. Why? Because the government has a lot of approaches to health care (thousands of them for all we know) and it's would be pretty hard to show a causal link between any of these strategies and economic growth. A question like, "Is Singapore's grocery store industry an oligopoly?" is much better. It's not too broad; however, that one's also probably too obvious. Singapore only has 2 or 3 grocery store chains, so you can pretty much answer this question on the first page. You need something that fits between these two extremes. In Singapore, it's much less clear (to me anyway) whether the movie theatre industry is an oligopoly, so you could ask, "What market structure would best characterise Singapore's movie theatre industry."

#2 Can you see which course concepts (tools) you'll use?

 Are you able to identify several course concepts (analytical models) that you can use to analyse your question? In Business you'll need 4 or 5 of these. In Economics you'll need one main one and then one or two smaller ones to touch on. Obviously, if you can’t tackle the question using ideas from the course than it’s not appropriate.

As I explain here, your mission is to show off how much you understand the ideas taught in class. A common mistake (which happens slightly more in Business EE's) is to research every possible aspect of a business (maybe because your dad works there) and then expect that sharing that information will impress the marker so much that you'll get a 7. Every year there's a student who does this (normally without realising it). They think that knowing as much about the company as an insider does is enough. It is not. We just want to see that you understand course concepts and can use those to prove or disprove a thesis using course concepts. 

#3 Will you have the information?

Will you actually have access to the secondary information you'll need to answer your question and will you actually be able to do the primary research required? This is a tricky one, which you won’t always be able to answer right away. However you do need to answer it really soon.

If your RQ fails test 3 you won't be able to use it. 

Try to think about the concepts you'll be using (Test 2). For the economics example above (the theatre one), you might want to determine whether there is price competition, so you'd want to compare prices over time (from different theatres, in different locations, at different times, etc). That information won't be easy to get.

Test 3 is about access. EE research normally requires that someone on the inside trusts you. For a business student, if you're doing to do a SWOT analysis and some kind of investment appraisal, what data will you need to fill in those tools? Consider, what information you would need to answer those questions. Data that you expect is probably available (i.e. online) often isn't. So you’ll have to do your homework here. And the earlier the better.

If you're going to be relying on someone (i.e. that your uncle turn over a copy of his company's balance sheet) get what you need from them as soon as possible. If they don't give you the numbers or the interview that you need within a month, it's probably time to change your RQ. 
This stuff isn't personal, people are busy, information is sometimes confidential.Get as much of your data as you can in the first month and show this to your supervisor. Every year there are students who don't problems related to lack of information until there are only a few months left and that's too late.

#4 Will this topic help you?

Ideally the research you do here will help you get into your preferred university program. If you're applying to an Econ program at university next year, than it would be great to have a letter from your Econ teacher explaining what a great job you did on your recent Econ EE. Or, perhaps you aren't sure if you want to pursue Business in university or not, the EE might be a great opportunity to experience what university study is like. Or maybe you're simply genuinely interested in the research question. The point here is that it's great if you have some other kind of motivation other than just finishing the EE. That will help you do better work and get ahead of the pack. 

You should ask yourself whether you feel your question has passed each of these tests. Take your time and be sure. It’s okay to ask other people if they think your question passes these tests as well. And of course you can ask your teacher or your supervisor (as soon as you’ve been assigned one) if they think the RQ passes these tests.
When you meet with your supervisor

By the time you meet with your supervisor for your first real meeting you would ideally have chosen a question that you think passes the 4 Tests. And you will ideally have started to organize yourself.

Your supervisor will be interested to hear about (and see evidence of):

  • Your research findings so far. Hopefully you’ve found a number of secondary sources, beyond just your text book. (Magazine and newspaper articles, annual reports from the internet, etc) and you have an idea of your primary research plans.
  • And also try to be ready to explain what you think you will be able to show in your essay. You should be ready to explain how your question relates to course concepts. Forward planning. Begin to chart-out your timeline of the coming months, your to-do list.

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