Guide to the International Baccalaureate Program at Hyde Park Academy

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Hyde Park Academy

Extended Essay


A Guide to the International Baccalaureate Program at Hyde Park Academy

2014-2015 School Years

Page 1 of 29

2014-15 Extended Essay Handbook

Table of Contents




The Choice of Subject. 4

The Choice of Topic 4

The Research Question 4



Title 6

Abstract. 6

Table of Contents 6

Illustrations 6

Bibliographies, References and Citations 6

Appendices, Footnotes and Endnotes 7





Draft 11

Final Draft 12

Appendix - Topic Examples 13

GROUP 1 13

Choice of topic 13

Treatment of the topic 14

GROUP 2 14

Overview 14

Choice of topic 15


Overview 17

Choice of topic 17


Overview 19

Choice of topic 20

Treatment of the topic 20


Overview 22

Choice of topic 23

Treatment of the topic 24

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Overview 24

Choice of topic 25

Treatment of the topic 26


Overview 27

Choice of topic 27

Treatment of the topic 29

2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

The following guidelines are taken from the IB booklet, which contains the general guidelines and subject specific guidelines for the Extended Essay.


The Extended Essay supervisor has four principal responsibilities:

  • To encourage and support the candidate throughout the research and writing of the extended essay

  • To provide the candidate with advice and guidance in the skills of undertaking research

  • To ensure that the extended essay is the candidate’s own work

  • To complete the supervisor’s report

It is recommended that candidates spend around 40 hours in total on extended essay,

The amount of time spent by the supervisor with each candidate will vary depending on circumstances but will usually be 2 to 3 hours in total.

The supervisor must provide advising guidance appropriate to the particular requirements of the candidate including assistance with:

  • Defining a suitable topic

  • Formulating a research question

  • Access to appropriate resources (such as people, library, laboratory)

  • Documentation method for acknowledging resources

  • Writing an abstract

The Nature of the Extended Essay

The extended essay is defined as an in depth study of a limited topic within a subject.

Its purpose is to provide candidates with an opportunity to engage in independent research.

Emphasis is placed on the process of engaging in personal research, on the communication of ideas and information in a logical and coherent manner and on overall presentation of the extended essay in compliance with the guidelines.

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Page 4 of 29

2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

Preparing the Essay

The Choice of Subject

The subject must be chosen from the IB approved list.

The subject chosen for the extended essay does not have to be one of the subjects being studied by the candidate for the Diploma, but care should be taken to choose a subject about which the candidate has sufficient knowledge and skills.

Candidate should also base the choice of subject on the level of personal interest they have in that subject.

The Choice of Topic

The topic of the extended essay is the particular area of study within the chosen subject. Candidates should choose a topic is that is both interesting and challenging to them.

The topic chosen should be limited in scope and sufficiently narrow to allow candidates to examine an issue or problem in depth. It should present the candidate with opportunity to collect or generate information and/or data for analysis and evaluation. Candidates are not expected to make a contribution to knowledge within a subject.

The Research Question

When an appropriate topic has been chosen, candidates should narrow the focus of investigation and formulate a specific research question. The research question may be phrased as a question or hypothesis.

2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

The Investigation and Writing Process



Search for Source

Research Question

Preparatory Reading

Working Outline




Shaping the Outlines

basic outline - skeleton outline - supporting details

Rough Draft

Title page – Abstract – Contents – Introduction - Body/Method/

Results – Conclusion–Illustration - Appendix - Documentation

Revising and Editing

Proof Reading

Final Copy

Organizing the Extended Essay
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The structure of the essay is very important. This is what helps students to organize the argument, making best used of the evidence gathered.

The extended essay should be written in a clear, correct and formal academic style, appropriate to the subject from which the topic is drawn. The use of word processor is encouraged.

The upper limit is 4000 words for all extended essays. The upper limit includes the introduction, the body, the conclusion and any quotations, but does not include:

  • the abstract

  • acknowledgments

  • the table of contents

  • maps, charts, diagrams, annotated illustrations and tables

  • equations, formulas and calculations

  • citations/references (whether parenthetical or number)

  • footnotes or endnotes

  • the bibliography

  • appendices

Essays containing more than 4000 words are subject to penalties and examiners are not required to read materials in excess of the word limit.

The required elements of the final work to be submitted are listed here.

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2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook


The title should provide a clear indication of the focus of the essay. It should be precise and not necessarily phrased in the form of a question.


An abstract not exceeding 300 words must be included with the essay submitted. It does not serve as an introduction, but presents an overview of extended essay, and should, therefore, be written last.

The inclusion of an abstract is intended to encourage students to examine closely the development of an argument within the extended essay and the pertinence of any conclusion that are reached. It is also designed to allow readers to understand quickly the contents of the extended essay.

The minimum requirements for the abstract are for it to state clearly:

  • the research question being investigated

  • the scope of the investigation

  • the conclusion(s) of the extended essay

The abstract should be typed or word processed on one side of a sheet of paper and placed immediately after the title page.

Table of Contents

A contents page must be provided at the beginning of the extended essay and all pages should be numbered. An index is not required.


Presentations and overall neatness are important, and it is essential that illustrative materials, if included, are well set out and use effectively. Graphs, diagrams, tables and maps are effective only if they are clearly labeled and can be interpreted with ease. All such material that is incorporated into the extended essay must be directly related to the text and acknowledged where appropriate. The use of photographs and other images is acceptable only if they are captioned and/or annotated under use to illustrate a specific point made in the extended essay.

Bibliographies, References and Citations

An extended essay must reflect intellectual honesty in research practices and provide the reader with the exact sources of quotations, ideas and points of view through accurate bibliographies and referencing. Producing accurate citations, referencing and a bibliography is a skill that students should be seeking to perfect. Documenting the research in this way is vital: It allows readers to evaluate the evidence for themselves and it shows a students’ understanding of the sources used.

Failure to comply with this requirement will be viewed as plagiarism and will, therefore, be treated as a case of malpractice.

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2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

Appendices, Footnotes and Endnotes

Appendices, footnotes and endnotes are not an essential section of the extended essay and examiners are not required to read them. Therefore, care should be taken to include all information of direct relevance to the analysis and argument in the main body of the essay. An essay that attempts to evade the word limit by including important material in notes and appendices, risks losing marks under several criteria.

Unless considered essential, complete list of broad data should not be included in extended essay.

Students should not constantly refer to material presented in the appendix as this may disrupt the continuity of the essay.

Extended Essay Assessment Criteria

This section provides an overview of what each criterion assesses in the extended essay.

  1. Research question

The focus of the essay is expressed and specified. This may be in the form of a question or hypothesis.

  1. Introduction

This criterion assesses the extent to which the introduction makes clear how the research question relates to the existing knowledge on the topic and explains how the topic chosen is significant and worthy of investigation.

  1. Investigation

This criterion assess the extent to which the investigation is planned and an appropriate range of sources has been consulted, or data has been gathered, that is relevant to the research question.

  1. Knowledge and Understanding of the Topic Studied

The criterion assesses the knowledge and understanding of the topic studied.

  1. Reasoned Argument

This criterion assesses the extent to which the essay uses the material collected to present ideas in a logical and coherent manner and develops a reasoned argument in relation to the research question.

  1. Application of analytical and evaluative skills appropriate to the subject

The criterion assesses the effectiveness of the application of appropriate analytical and evaluative skills.

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2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

G: Use of Language appropriate to the subject

This criterion assesses the language used to communicate clearly and precisely. It will also assess the accuracy of the terminology.

H Conclusion

This criterion assesses the extent to which the essay incorporates a conclusion that is relevant to the research question and is consistent to the evidence presented in the essay.

  1. Formal Presentation

This criterion assesses the extent to which the layout, organization, appearance and formal elements of the essay consistently follow a standard format. The formal elements: title page, table of contents, page numbers, illustrative materials, quotations, documentation (including references, citations and bibliography) and appendices (if used).

  1. Abstract

The requirements for the abstract are for it to state clearly the research question that was investigated, how the investigation was undertaken and the conclusion(s) of the essay.

  1. Holistic Judgment

The purpose of this criterion is to assess the qualities that distinguish an essay form the average, such as intellectual initiative, depth of understanding of insight. While these qualities will be clearly present in the best work, less successful essays may also show some evidence of them and should be rewarded under this criterion.

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2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

The Extended Essay Timeline

Remember to read the general and subject specific guidelines carefully before you get started

January of 11th grade to November of 12th grade

11th grade - January

Extended Essay Orientation guidelines, assessment, getting started

11th grade - January

Choose subject/topic after discussing with teacher

11th grade - January

Completed Extended Essay sign-up (form1) listing subject, area of research and supervisor

11th grade - February

Research question chosen Complete extended essay sign-up (form 2)

11th grade - March

Outlines due to EE advisor

11th grade - March to May

Continuing working on essay

June to August (Summer Break)

Research and writing draft

12th grade September

Interim draft to supervisor - First week of September (required for a diploma candidate)

12th grade September to October

Finish research and assemble final draft

12th grade October

3,000 word draft due to advisor

12th grade November

Final draft to supervisor

12th grade November

Completed essay (two copies) to IB Coordinator (hard copy plus electronic version)

Registration as diploma candidate confirmed with IBO

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2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

The Extended Essay: Sign Up

Remember to read the general and subject specific guidelines carefully

Form 1: 11th grade, January







IB Coordinator



Form 2: 11th grade, February




Research Question




IB Coordinator



Remember: Your registration as a Diploma candidate with IBO will only be confirmed when you have completed the Extended Essay

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2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

Progress through the Extended Essay


Meetings with Supervisor


Preliminary Draft:

  • This should be in excess of 1000 words

  • Well defined research question

  • Details of research carried out and methods used

  • Some analysis and expectations of results








Research question


Interim Draft:

  • This should be in excess of 2000 words

  • Include an introduction

  • Include a development indication of work done to date

  • Include a draft conclusion concerning results to date








Research question

Page 12 of 29

2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

Progress through the Extended Essay

Final Draft

Meetings with Supervisor


Final Draft:

  • This should be in excess of 3000 words

  • Include a well-defined introduction, development and conclusion

  • Contain all essential references, properly formatted








Research question









Research question

Page 13 of 29

2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

Appendix - Topic Examples

Group 1

Choice of topic

A group 1 extended essay should fit into one of the two following categories.

Category 1

The essay must be based on the literature of countries where the language is spoken (that is, all works discussed will originally have been written in the language of the essay).

Essays that attempt to interpret literary works as reflections of the writer’s life are rarely successful, tending to produce reductive readings based on second-hand information. Biographical topics should thus usually be avoided.

The following are some examples of appropriate topics for guidance only.

  • Dance in Jane Austen’s novels

  • Leading to the research

  • “What are the role and the significance of dance in Pride and Prejudice question and Emma?”

  • Death in Emily Brontë’s and Emily Dickinson’s poetry

  • Leading to the research

  • “How is the subject of death treated in selected poems by Emily Bronte and Emily Dickinson?”

Category 2

The essay must be a comparison of at least one literary work originally written in the language of the essay with a literary work or works originally written in a different language to that of the essay and probably studied in translation.

The following are some examples of appropriate topics for guidance only.

English/French/German The presentation of the hero in literature Leading to the research question

  • “In what different ways do Shaw, Anouilh and Schiller present Joan of Arc in their respective plays?”

Italian/English The use of literary tradition question Leading to the research

  • “Themes and stylistic devices from Dante in TS Eliot’s The Waste Land and Four Quartets.”

The topic chosen must be literary in nature and could be about a particular aspect, or be a comparative study, of a work or works, author, period or genre.

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2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

The extended essay may relate to work studied in class but students must take care in all cases to demonstrate relevant wider reading and individual study.

Appropriate literary works may be chosen from any source; students need not restrict themselves to works on the IB prescribed book list (PBL) for the language of the essay.

The following examples of titles for group 1 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).

  • “Religious imagery in Wuthering Heightsis better than “Religion in the Brontës”.

  • “A comparison of the presentation of racial conflict in one work by James Baldwin and one work by Richard Wright” is better than “Racial conflict in the works of American writers”.

Treatment of the topic

Literary works often address, for example, philosophical, political or social questions. However, the major focus of the essay should be the literary treatment of such questions. The literary works should not be a pretext for interdisciplinary study and should not be treated simply as documentary evidence in a discussion of philosophical, political or social issues. Students should always consider how the texts work as literature, dealing with aspects such as the effects they achieve, the devices they use and the way they are written.

Students should not use the extended essay solely as a vehicle for their own thoughts but, after providing careful analysis of the author’s ideas, should present their personal views on the way the author has treated the subject. There should be a compromise between building on the wisdom of more experienced critics and introducing new personal elements. The mere reiteration of the views of established literary critics will not result in a successful extended essay.

When writing the essay, students must bear in mind that any narrative and/or descriptive material included should be directly relevant to the critical analysis. A precis of the student’s reading is not sufficient.

Group 2


A group 2 extended essay is intended for students who are studying a second modern language. Students may not write a group 2 extended essay in a language that they are offering as a language A1 for their diploma.

A group 2 extended essay provides students with the opportunity to develop their awareness and knowledge of the language studied, and their understanding of the culture concerned. This is achieved by enabling students to pursue their interest in the language through research based on texts (taken to be any meaningful piece of spoken or written language, for example, an article, a book, a play, a poem) or on specific cultural artifacts (such as works of fine art or architecture, films, radio or television programs, or popular music).

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2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

The extended essay must be written in the language for which it is registered (the target language). It must be focused on matters related to the target culture.

The extended essay is a research essay and the assessment criteria emphasize the importance of research skills rather than linguistic proficiency. Although a certain level of ability in the language is obviously desirable in order to undertake a group 2 extended essay, fluency is neither a prerequisite nor a guarantee of success. In fact, students who are fluent in the language but who do not demonstrate the required research skills will definitely achieve a lower mark than students who are less fluent but who fulfill the other assessment criteria.

Choice of topic

As indicated in the “Overview” section, a group 2 extended essay aims to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the target language and culture. Any proposed topic that will not further that aim should be rejected. The essay should consist of the study of an issue in one of three categories: language, culture and society, or literature. Combinations of these are also permissible. Each category has specific requirements that are described in this section. In addition, students should ensure that their topic:

  • is worthy of investigation. For example, “Does tourism have a future in Switzerland?” or “Is the wine industry an important source of income for France?” would be too trivial for an essay of 4,000 words.

  • is not too broad and allows for an effective treatment within the word limit. Topics such as “Racism in France”, “The theatre of the absurd”, or “A history of the French language” would need to be given a sharper focus.

  • á provides them with an opportunity to develop an argument and to demonstrate critical analysis and

  • personal judgment rather than just knowledge. Topics that are merely descriptive or narrative, or that only summarize secondary sources (such as “French cheeses”, “The Provence region”, “The events of May 1968 in Paris”), should be avoided.

In each category the examples given are for guidance only.

Category 1: language

The essay should be a specific analysis of the language (its use, structure and so on) normally related to its cultural context or a specific text.

Language French

  • Topic- Language laws in Quebec

  • Research question - To what extent has Bill 101 contributed to increasing the prevalence of the French language in Quebec?

  • Approach- An investigation into the effect of Bill 101 on the status of the French language in Quebec.

Language Spanish

  • Topic- Alternative use of the forms “vos” and “usted” in the Spanish of the Rio de la
    (River Plate) region

2014-2015 Extended Essay Handbook

  • Research question - To what extent have differences between formal and informal usage disappeared from the language used in the Rio de la Plata region?

  • Approach- An investigation into the language of young people from Buenos Aires in the Rio de la Plata region in a range of communicative situations.

Category 2: culture and society

A: essays of a sociocultural nature with an impact on the language

The essay should be an analysis of a cultural nature that describes the impact of a particular issue on the form or use of the language.

Language French

  • Topic - Language and feminism

  • Research question - Should feminine forms of more job titles be created in French to reflect shifting gender roles?

  • Approach - An examination of the linguistic and sociological arguments for and against the feminization of more job titles in French.

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