Senior School Prospectus.
The IB defines the Extended Essay as “an in-depth study of a limited topic within a subject.” The 4000-word essay provides students with the opportunity to conduct independent research at an introductory level. Skills required to produce a successful essay in any given subject are generally those a student uses in the relevant course. Students are introduced to the Extended Essay process in February of year one of the programme.
Students should choose an area they find most interesting. For example, a student who chooses History must be interested in working with primary sources. Those selecting a science topic are advised to undertake experimentally-based investigations rather than library-based surveys. In an essay on Language and Literature, students should be interested in the independent critical analysis of literary works. While the IB allows students to undertake the Extended Essay in any subject area, it is recommended that students confine their choices to subjects they are studying, usually one of their Higher Level subjects.
When students have chosen a subject area for their Extended Essay, they discuss the proposed topic with their supervisor. Students then submit an Extended Essay plan, including a specific research question for discussion. As an independent piece of research, it is critical that students are self-disciplined and adhere to all deadlines. Students must submit the first draft of the essay by the end of August of the second year of the programme. The complete essay is submitted to the supervisor and to the IB Diploma Coordinator by late November of the second year of the programme.
DP Courses students who do not wish to complete an Extended Essay will undertake an Extended Project. Students will formulate a research question in their chosen topic and use appropriate methods to reach a conclusion. The main difference to the Extended Essay outlined above is that the Extended Project is about 2,000 words in length.