EXTENDED ESSAY GUIDELINES
Mr. Crown's Advice Concerning Your Extended Essay
IN ORDER TO DO WELL ON THIS ASSIGNMENT YOU MUST READ THE EXTENDED ESSAY BOOKLET CAREFULLY. YOU ARE EXPECTED TO KNOW ALL OF THE IB GUIDELINES AND ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR YOUR ESSAY DETAILED IN THIS BOOKLET. IN PARTICULAR, EVERYONE MUST CAREFULLY READ PAGES 10-23 (GENERAL GUIDELINES AND GENERAL ASSESSMENT CRITERIA) AS WELL AS THE SUBJECT GUIDELINES AND ASSESSMENT CRITERIA FOR ESSAYS IN YOUR SPECIFIC SUBJECT AREA. FOLLOW THE BOOKLET CAREFULLY WHEN YOU WRITE YOUR ESSAY BECAUSE YOUR ADVISOR AND THE IB WILL REFER TO THE ASSESSMENT CRITERIA WHEN YOUR ESSAY IS GRADED.
Also, read and follow the guidelines below.
Title Page - Place the title ¼ of the way down from the top of the page. Remember that the title is not the same thing as your research question or topic. Think of an informative title which conveys the essence of your essay. In the bottom right corner of your paper include the following:
Extended Essay Final Draft
Advisor: Mr. or Ms.________
Word Count: ______________
Abstract - The abstract should be no more than 300 words. It must be written in 3rd person. The
abstract is a formal synopsis of your essay which explains the scope of your investigation and states the research question and conclusion. Include a word count for the abstract at the bottom of the page. The abstract comes directly after the table of contents.
Page Numbers – Page numbers must be included on each page except the title page. Use the “Insert” menu on Microsoft Word.
Table of Contents - The table of contents identifies each section of the paper (Abstract, Introduction, Body, Conclusion, Bibliography, Endnotes, Appendix, Illustrations, etc.) as well as topical subsections. Page numbers in the table of contents and the essay must match. Include section and subsection headings labeled in bold throughout the essay to guide the reader and identify the different sections of the essay.
Introduction - Introduce the topic and provide enough information about your topic in order to enable the reader to comprehend the significance of your research question. Each extended essay must have a research question. The research question is the central question you are trying to answer through your research and writing of the extended essay. This question, if properly composed, will enable you to maintain your focus on a topic of narrow and limited scope while also help you to maintain the purpose and orientation of your entire investigation. The research question must be clearly and precisely stated in the early part of your extended essay. It must be sharply focused so that it is susceptible to effective treatment within the 4000 word limit. Your extended essay will be assessed in part according to the extent to which the essay appropriately addresses and develops the specific research question. The reader will also evaluate your success in collecting information relevant to the research question. Include the research question in the introduction stated precisely and focused in such a way that it is susceptible to effective treatment within the 4000 word limit. Establish the significance of the research question and explain why it is worthy of study. You may also briefly discuss why your topic is of significance to you personally. At the end of the introduction state your thesis (or hypothesis for science). Clearly identify the research question and thesis as such. Briefly and concisely preview your body by providing a “game plan” for the rest of the paper. The game plan briefly explains how you intend to answer the research question and support the thesis, that is, how you propose to proceed in the body.
Thesis – This belongs in the introduction, preferably at the end. You must take a position, construct an argument based on evidence, and defend your thesis. The entire essay must be a response to your research question and a coherent, organized, structured, logical, critical, in-depth examination and defense of your thesis.
Body (Methods and Results for science) - The body will differ depending on your subject. However for all essays the body be evaluated based on 1) your approach to the research question, 2) your analysis and interpretation of evidence, including critical analysis and evaluation of sources, and 3) your own argument and evaluation of this argument. SEE PAGES 19-20 of the Extended Essay Booklet and the Assessment Criteria for details. You must convincingly answer the research question and argue for your thesis, presenting evidence to support your arguments. You must evaluate your sources and demonstrate an ability to think and write critically and analytically. You need to plan this section carefully so that you are able to present your arguments in an organized, structured, convincing body which is constructed upon evidence. Evidence includes historical evidence derived from primary and secondary historical sources, textual evidence from a work of literature, and scientific data and the results of experiments and research.
Conclusion - The conclusion must be clearly stated and relevant to the research question. It must also be consistent with the thesis and its explanation and development presented in the essay. Where appropriate the conclusion indicates unresolved questions and new questions that have emerged from your research. This is more than a summary. Review how you have demonstrably and convincingly supported your thesis and answered the research question. Concisely restate your key points and discuss the broader implications of the thesis. How have you satisfactorily answered the research question?
Illustrations, data, charts, graphs, etc. - If you plan to include these make sure they are labeled and listed in the table of contents, and make sure you discuss their significance and relevance in the text of the essay.
Appendix - Please note that IB readers are not required to read the appendix thoroughly, so all essential information must be in the body of your essay.
Documentation - You must include footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations. You also must include a bibliography. Documentation must be completed with meticulous concern for accuracy. Use your Guide to Writing Research Papers or the online Chicago Style Guide and make sure everything is in the correct style and format. Avoid accusations of plagiarism by treating documentation with the seriousness it deserves. In the bibliography include only sources you have cited in the essay. You need at least 15 sources, five of which must be articles from scholarly journals. The bibliography must be alphabetical by the author’s last name. Literature essays need six sources and may use in-text citations. Good history essays will have 30 to 40 footnotes and 15 sources. All history essay footnotes must follow the Chicago Style Guide.
This draft must be typed double spaced in 12 pt. Font and be as close to 4000 words as possible without going over the limit. The 4000 words includes the Introduction, Body, Conclusion, and any quotations. It does not include the Abstract, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, Illustrations, Bibliography, Footnotes, Endnotes, or Appendices. Use Times New Roman or Courier font or a similar font; nothing fancy, flashy, or difficult for the eyes. Use black ink.
The essay must look neat and not sloppy. Do not use run-on sentences and paragraphs that are too long and attempt to treat too many topics. Do not allow careless grammatical and spelling errors to lower your grade. Paragraphs must be topical, readable, and of reasonable length. The essay must be structured and organized logically with all arguments and analysis presented and developed in a systematic fashion and order. Use smooth transitions between paragraphs to link the paragraphs, arguments, and sections of your paper. Use a spelling checker and make sure several competent people proofread your essay.
Your extended essay must address each of the following questions.
What is your research question?
Why is the research question significant and worthy of study?
Why is the research question significant to you personally?
What is your thesis?
What is your game plan for the rest of the essay?
What is the background information needed in order to understand your research question and thesis?
What are the distinct elements of your thesis? How can the thesis be divided and broken down into parts?
What are the central arguments you will make to defend your thesis?
What are the topical subsections of your body? Outline each subsection of the body.
How does each subsection build upon the previous subsection and lead up to the next? How does each subsection contribute to your defense of your thesis?
What evidence will you present to support your arguments and thesis?
What are your key sources? How will you integrate the evaluation of your sources in the Body?
How will you integrate critical analysis into your Body?
How have you sufficiently answered the research question and defended your thesis?
What are the major strengths of your thesis and your analysis and defense of it in your essay?
What could you have done better in the essay? Evaluate your own work critically.
What are the new questions and unresolved questions which have arisen from your research and analysis?
Include only those sources you have cited in the essay.
These subject guidelines should be read in conjunction with the Assessment Criteria
An extended essay in economics provides students with an opportunity to undertake in-depth research in economics in an area of personal interest to them. It allows students to develop research skills, to apply economic theory to real-world situations, and to analyse and evaluate the outcomes of their research. The outcome of the research should be a coherent and structured analytical essay that effectively addresses the particular research question.
Choice of topic
Students should undertake an essay that uses the core principles of economics as a basis for researching a particular topic. Students should use a combination of primary and secondary research as the basis for their extended essay, and should apply the accepted theories, tools and techniques of the subject to the topic chosen.
Essays should not be historical. They should be related to economic information that is no more than three years old. Essays that are too retrospective, for example, "What was the impact of the South-East Asian crash on Thailand during 1990-1995?", almost invariably become descriptive.
Students should ensure that their research question can be answered using economic concepts and theories, and that the question does not lean too heavily towards business and management.
The topic chosen should provide opportunities for some critical analysis of the data collected. Topics that depend entirely on summarizing general secondary data should be avoided, as they are likely to lead to an essay that is essentially narrative or descriptive in nature. However, the effective use of relevant secondary data to answer the research question will be fully rewarded by the examiner.
Restricting the scope of the essay will help to ensure a clear focus, and will also provide opportunities for demonstrating detailed economic understanding and critical analysis. Choosing a research question that is made up of more than one question is unlikely to result in a successful essay—for example, "Is the café industry in Vienna an example of oligopoly and, if so, do the cafés collude with each other?" or "What is the effect of interest rate policy on aggregate demand in Greece and what should the government do to increase aggregate demand?". I n the first example, the answer to the first part of the question must be affirmative in order to proceed with the essay. If not, the second part of the question cannot be answered. In the second example, the scope of the essay is simply too wide.
The following examples of titles for economics extended essays are intended as guidance only. The pairings illustrate that focused topics (indicated by the first title) should be encouraged rather than broad topics (indicated by the second title).
- "What market form characterizes the petrol supply industry in my area of Madrid?" is better than "What is the market structure of the Spanish petroleum industry?".
- "What is the effect of the recent imposition of a minimum wage in Austria on unemployment in the fast food industry in Graz?" is better than "What has been the effect of the minimum wage on unemployment in Austria?".
- "To what extent has the fall in the exchange rate of the US dollar affected the tourist industry in Carmel , California?" is better than "How has the fall in the exchange rate of the US dollar affected the US economy?".
- "What has been the economic effect of water privatization on the farming industry in my region of Zambia?" is better than "How has the privatization of water affected Zambia?".
It may help if the student further defines the topic chosen for study in the form of a research question, followed by a statement of intent that indicates which broad process is going to be used in answering the question. In this way, the approach to the topic chosen may be even further clarified. Some examples of this could be as follows.
Topic Pricing at the local supermarket
Research question : Will the recent policy of cutting bakery prices lead to increased revenue for the Safeway supermarket in Ryde, Sydney?
Approach: Primary research is conducted through observation and supported by secondary research, such as company records and textbooks. This results in a detailed examination of elasticity and its relationship with total revenue.
Topic The economic impact of privatization
Research question : To what extent did Matav, a Hungarian telecommunications company,
become more efficient post-privatization?
Approach: Primary data is collected through interviews with company management (qualitative research) and secondary data is collected by accessing company reports. Economics texts are used for researching the economic theory of privatization.
Topic: The impact of monetary policy
Research question: Has the Kenyan central bank's policy of interest rate cuts led to a rise in new car sales in Nairobi?
Approach : A consumer questionnaire (quantitative research) is circulated and interviews (qualitative research) are carried out with sales managers of new car firms. Government macroeconomic statistics (secondary research) are also accessed.
Treatment of the topic
It is important that the topic and research question reflect a firm emphasis on economics, and that they do not become directed towards another subject area. Where topics could be approached from different viewpoints, such as business or history, the treatment of material must reflect an approach that uses economic theory and, therefore, meets the subject requirements of economics.
Students must choose a research question that can be treated effectively within the word limit and is not of a trivial nature. Research questions that do not allow a systematic and meaningful investigation using relevant economic theory, and do not demonstrate critical analysis and detailed understanding, are unlikely to be suitable in economics. In some instances, it may become clear at an early stage in the research that too little information is available to permit such an investigation. In such cases, a change of focus should be made.
Students may be encouraged to carry out original research on a topic within any of the syllabus sections in the current Economics guide.One advantage of doing an essay on a microeconomics topic is the ability to carry out primary research in the form of surveys, questionnaires or interviews. Nonetheless, it is also possible to carry out a highly successful analysis of a question related to macroeconomics, international economics or development economics, as long as the data and information collected are used to construct a clear, reasoned argument in response to a sufficiently narrow research question. The main danger of choosing a question from these areas is in choosing a research question that is inappropriately wide. In addition, it is very important that the question is original and has not already been answered in secondary sources. In this case, the danger would be that the student might simply present a summary of secondary sources rather than a new reasoned argument.
Students should integrate relevant economic theory with the evidence obtained through the research. An essay that delivers the theory as a separate section of the essay and does not apply it to the specific research question is unlikely to be successful in terms of analysis using the theory.
Good critical analysis and evaluation can be demonstrated through sound assessment and judgment of the extent to which the relevant theory is useful in answering the research question.
An extended essay in economics is a formal essay, so students must be sure to adopt one of the common standards of presentation of research essays.
Interpreting the assessment criteria
Criterion A: research question
In economics, it is strongly recommended that the research question is stated in the form of a question: this is a reliable way of avoiding excessively descriptive essays. It must be possible to answer the question using contemporary economic theory. It must be clearly focused and sufficiently narrow so that it is possible to answer it within the word limit. The question should not be trivial, nor should the answer to the question be patently obvious. It should not be a "double-barrelled" question with two parts or a "yes/no" question.
Criterion B: introduction
The introduction should explain succinctly the significance of the subject, why it is worthy of investigation, and how the research question is appropriate for economic analysis. The introduction should not be seen as an excuse for padding out an essay with a lengthy superficial account of the reasons for choosing the subject. The student's personal experience or particular opinion is rarely relevant here.
Criterion C: investigation
The range of resources available will be influenced by various factors, but above all by the topic. At the very least, there should be some evidence that appropriate economic sources have been consulted.
Wherever possible, primary sources should be used, with secondary sources as evidential support. Statistical data collected from books or the Internet (for example, from national statistical agencies, the IMF, the ILO, the World Bank, the WTO) may be very valuable and can be effectively used to answer the question.
If surveys are carried out, the questions must reflect appropriate and sensible economic analysis. For example, any conclusions about the elasticity of demand for a good would be highly suspect if a survey asked about the hypothetical change in a quantity demanded based on a hypothetical change in price.
Good planning may be demonstrated by the use of appropriate information to support a well-structured argument. The essay should not include theory or information that is not used to answer the research question directly. For example, it would not be appropriate to include large sections of textbook economic theory without showing how and why the theory can be applied to the particular research question.
Criterion D: knowledge and understanding of the topic studied
Having chosen a topic of interest and carried out an appropriate amount of research, the student should be able to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the topic. This is another reason why the research question has to be suitably focused. The essay should be comprehensive and thorough.
Axes and curves/lines on diagrams should be fully labelled. Relationships between curves/lines should be accurately drawn. For example, the relationship between marginal and average values should always show the correct mathematical link. If appropriate, there should be an appreciation of the ideological underpinning of a diagram. For example, an essay looking at demand management as a way of reducing unemployment should use an appropriate AS curve.
Criterion E: reasoned argument
It should be evident throughout the entire essay that the research question is being answered. Relevant economic theory, concepts and data/information must be integrated in a logical and coherent manner. A valid and persuasive argument needs to be developed in a clear and structured way, with some awareness that there may be alternative viewpoints.
Criterion F: application of analytical and evaluative skills appropriate to the subject
Data/information must be used in the context of appropriate economic concepts and theories. Effective analysis occurs if the information gathered is examined using economic theories. Essays that are highly descriptive will score poorly here.
Students should show critical awareness of the validity of their information and the possible limitations of their argument. Very importantly, the essay should clearly note any assumptions that have been made in setting out the argument and reaching the conclusions.
Diagrams should rarely be included if there is no evidence to support their relevance to the research question. For example, an essay looking at a non-collusive oligopoly should not indiscriminately include a kinked demand curve if there is no evidence of the behaviour associated with such a curve
theories or diagrams are included that are not supported by evidence, the student should note that soItuation might be explained by the theory, but that there is no evidence to prove firmly that the theory Is valid. For example, where it appears that a firm is operating in a monopolistically competitive t and is not making abnormal profits but the student does not have proof of this, then the nation should make clear that it is an assumption and that it has not been empirically proven.
diagrams must be integrated into the essay. Real data should be used on diagrams wherever possible.
example, if the essay is about using taxes to reduce the negative externalities caused by smoking in canada, then the y-axis should show "the price of cigarettes (C5 per package)" and any real numbers (for example, 25% tax) should show on the diagram. When real values are known, they should be shown.
Criterion G: use of language appropriate to the subject
It is extremely important that economic terminology is used and that definitions of key terms are provided. This will clearly enhance the academic tone of the essay.
Definitions should be precise. For example, a discussion of elasticity should refer to percentage or proportionate changes as opposed to "big" or "small" changes.
Criterion H: conclusion
'Consistent" is the key word here: the conclusion should develop out of the argument and not introduce any new material. Any obvious limitations to the analysis/argument should be restated here, as evidence of critical awareness. For example, if a survey is carried out but the sample size is deemed to be rather small, then it could be stated that the sample size might limit the validity of the conclusion drawn. If interviews are carried out, it could be noted that the ideological bias of the interviewees might limit the validity of the conclusions drawn.
Criterion I:formal presentation
This criterion relates to the extent to which the essay conforms to academic standards about the way in which research papers should be presented. The presentation of essays that omit a bibliography or that do not give references for quotations is deemed unacceptable (level 0). Essays that omit one of the required elements—title page, table of contents, page numbers—are deemed no better than satisfactory (maximum level 2), while essays that omit two of them are deemed poor at best (maximum level 1). Additionally, if diagrams are poorly presented or if the information shown on the diagram is unclear, one mark should be deducted.
Criterion J: abstract
The abstract is judged on the clarity with which it states the research question, explains how the investigation was carried out and summarizes the conclusion. However, the quality of the research question or the conclusion is not judged here. For example, an essay with a very broad research question, such as "What were the effects of the Asian financial crisis?", is likely to score poorly on several of the criteria simply because it is far too broad and unfocused. However, if the student clearly states the (poor) question and includes the other two required elements, then the abstract can still receive full marks.
Criterion K: holistic judgment
Qualities that are rewarded under this criterion include the following.
- Intellectual initiative: Ways of demonstrating this in economics essays include undertaking appropriate primary research, for example, the construction of a meaningful and relevant survey with an appropriate sample, or interview(s) with relevant people, drawing meaningful conclusions based on an analysis of a large amount of statistical data and the choice of an original topic (although it should be noted that less original topics should not be penalized here).
- Insight and depth of understanding: These are most likely to be demonstrated as a consequence of making mature and balanced conclusions from the research undertaken, showing awareness of the limitations of the research and evaluating the applicability of economic theory.
From:International Baccalaureate Organization. (2007). Economics. In IBO Extended essay guide, First examinations 2009, (pp. 79-83). New York: International Baccalaureate Organization.