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Introduction

How to use this guide

This Extended Essay libguide is designed to help and support you through the process - from choosing a research topic, how to effectively search for information and organising your sources, to presenting your findings with accurate references and citations.

To navigate this libguide, click on the tabs to open the page, and scroll through the content.

The Extended Essay

The extended essay, including the world studies extended essay, offers the opportunity for IB students to investigate a topic of special interest, in the form of a 4,000-word piece of independent research. Students select an area of research from Diploma Programme subjects, or in the case of the interdisciplinary world studies essay from two subjects, and become acquainted with the independent research and writing skills expected at university. This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject or subjects chosen. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. As an authentic learning experience, the extended essay provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research on a topic of choice, under the guidance of a supervisor. 

(IBO Extended Essay guide)

What is Extended Essay?

The extended essay is a required component of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP). 

It is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.

What is the significance of the extended essay?

The extended essay provides:

  • practical preparation for undergraduate research
  • an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of special interest to them, which is also related to one of the student's six DP subjects. 

Through the research process for the extended essay, students develop skills in:

  • formulating an appropriate research question
  • engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
  • communicating ideas
  • developing an argument. 

Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyse, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.

An extended essay can also be undertaken in world studies, where students carry out an in-depth interdisciplinary study of an issue of contemporary global significance, across two IB diploma disciplines.

How is study of the extended essay structured?

Students are supported throughout the process of researching and writing the extended essay, with advice and guidance from a supervisor who is usually a teacher at the school.

The IB recommends that students follow the completion of the written essay with a short, concluding interview with their supervisor. This is known as viva voce.

The extended essay and interview can be a valuable stimulus for discussion in countries where interviews are required prior to acceptance for employment or for a place at university.

How is the extended essay assessed?

All extended essays are externally assessed by examiners appointed by the IB. They are marked on a scale from 0 to 36.

The score a student receives relates to a band. The bands are:

A – work of an excellent standard.
B – work of a good standard.
C – work of a satisfactory standard.
D – work of a mediocre standard.
E – work of an elementary standard.

Find out how points awarded for the extended essay contribute to a student’s overall diploma score.

Source: IB Org. (n.d.). What is the extended essay? Retrieved December 03, 2017, from http://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/curriculum/extended-essay/what-is-the-extended-essay/

Created by Luciana Cavallaro 2018 | Updated Sept 2020