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.
Formulating An IB TOK (Theory of Knowledge) Essay
Yup. You read that right. This article is going to give you some guidelines on how to structure your IB TOK essay. Remember though, they’re just suggestions and tips. Most of the dirty work will be done by you after all. I can only give tips.
“How do you know that you’re not a brain in a jar in a simulated world? How can you prove you’re not a brain in a jar?”
– my former TOK Teacher
IB TOK is a very watered down, sort of introductory philosophy class. Its main goal is to get your noggins churning. To think critically about a wide variety of issues. While that may sound fun, the essay writing and presenting isn’t.
This article will focus on filling the gaps. You can even apply the tips in this article to your presentation.
The General IB TOK Essay Outline
An outline is what we’ll be describing here. After all, you don’t see construction companies building skyscrapers without a blueprint. This is basically what I’m about to highlight.
So in your IB TOK essay you’ll have to choose one main knowledge question out of a set of 8 if my memory serves me correctly. After you’ve selected a knowledge question, you’ll move on to the planning stage
Before I go on, this is only ONE way you can go about doing your TOK essay. I am not guaranteeing that this is the only way to do it but it IS one way to do it.
You’ve got a knowledge question (KQ). Now what? Well there are a few things you need to remember before we get to the next part. I’ll list them for you here:
- You need to remember to define all relevant terminology in your essay (ways or knowing, areas of knowledge etc.)
- Provide arguments and counter arguments
- Use relevant sources or at least be able to relate them to your argument
So. That’s a small laundry list to remember. Remember that you need to remember. What do I mean by this?
I mean you should remember that list above that I described.
Trust me. When you’re writing an essay like the TOK essay, it’s easy to get lost in your own passionate, arguments.
Using Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing As A Basis For Your Argument(?!)
Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing are what bricks are to a construction company; they help you construct your ‘building’ (which in this case is your argument).
Let’s have a quick refresher on what the AOK’s and WOK’s are shall we?
Areas of Knowledge
- The Arts
- The Natural Sciences
- Indigenous Knowledge Systems
- Religious Knowledge Systems
- The Human Sciences
Ways of Knowing
- Sense Perception
How many of these should you use? Good question. The maximum word count for a TOK essay is 1600 words (at least it was when I did IB. I’m basically an old man now so it might have changed).
It’s up to you how many you think are relevant to the development of your essay. What I personally did in my TOK essay was that I included two WOK’s for every one AOK I included.
I’ll explain why in the next point but I ended up with an A in TOK so it worked for me. I’m not saying you’ll get an A by following this format though!
All I’m implying is that this format is perfectly alright. In this next point, I’ll talk about the number of arguments you can use and how to add AOK’s and WOK’s to them.
Arguments/Counter-Arguments and Knowledge Issues
This point should quaintly sum up what I’ve discussed so far.
We know we need AOK’s and WOK’s in our argument and we know we need to define as well as cite relevant sources (at least you should know this if you’ve been following so far).
The arguments/counter-arguments are what separate a ‘meh’ TOK essay from a fantastic one. This is where you let your brain power shine.
For every argument, you need a counter argument. For the format I’m talking about, an basic TOK argument might contain the following:
- An AOK and two WOK’s
- A Knowledge Issue (KI)
- An argument for your KI (using one WOK)
- A counter argument for your KI (using the other WOK)
What’s a KI? I’ll demonstrate by example. Let’s imagine your main, overall KQ is the following:
“Without application in the world, the value of knowledge is greatly diminished.” Consider this claim with respect to two areas of knowledge.”
That was actually the KQ I responded to in my TOK essay. Let’s say you decide to choose ‘The Arts’ as your AOK (which is what I did and will cite from). You might choose a KI like so:
“To what extent can we know whether reason or emotion is more suitable in justifying knowledge in the Arts?”
That’s a KI I came up with. In this case, I’ve made it clear what my AOK and WOK’s are. Now I can make an argument with either ‘reason’ or ’emotion’ and then counter argue with the other WOK.
For example, if you chose to argue with ‘reason’ then you would counter argue with ’emotion’.
Bam. You’ve just written two chunky paragraphs.
Now in my essay, I chose two AOK’s to compare. I chose a classic “The Arts” vs “The Natural Sciences” comparison. I first developed a argument/counter-argument with ‘The Arts’ and then moved on to ‘The Natural Sciences’.
This is a basic format you can follow for TOK.
If you’ve got an idea for a format yourself, then that’s fine. This outline is to help those that need some inspiration.
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Posted by Rhys McKenna in General tips