In the following article we will give you some valuable advice on how to write a good extended essay. We will offer you just some useful tips and simple information here.
The extended essay is actually a mini-diploma work which IB students have to write, besides several other papers. It has the same goals, basic structure, and context like the diploma theses which college students prepare. You must do your own piece of research, although it is usually stated that the extended essay does not constitute any type of research. In all cases, you conduct your investigation according to the criteria stipulated by the academic community: clear thesis, strong arguments and evidential support, comprehensible and concise work, loyalty to the facts, work with sources, and last but not least, fruitful collaboration with the assigned supervisor.
The extended essay may be focused on a topic derived from every possible field of science, culture, and arts, so you should accommodate your work accordingly. For example, a work in the field of natural sciences may require conducting experiments; on the other hand, in the field of Philosophy you should work with philosophical theories. However, you must demonstrate some definite skills and competences.
Writing an extended essay – important tips
Define your topic
You can choose your topic from a list. Try to narrow it down in order to be easier for you to set forth the main thesis. Wider topics are more difficult to be justified. Try to focus your efforts on a particular place, time, concept, or case.
Find some sources on the topic and after that modify your topic and thesis accordingly. Work with academic literature, and be critical to the information available on the internet. You can search in Google Scholar or Google Books. Now you can write a draft of the extended essay.
The structure of your essay is strictly set according to the academic standards. You should write several parts: a title page, an abstract, body text, a conclusion, a bibliography, and (not necessary) appendice/s. You may use footnotes or endnotes, and also it would be good to prepare a glossary of the terms used (not necessary). The length should not exceed 4,000 words (without the abstract, the bibliography, the endnotes/footnotes and the appendices).
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You have to employ an academic reference style, for instance APA, MLA or Chicago/Turabian style (depending on the field of research). Try to write clearly and to be accurate in using definite terms (that means, you should be familiar with the terms you use). If you are not sure what a term means, don’t use it (replace it with a synonym). The same can be said about quotations: quote only short sentences or passages which you understand and can integrate into the text easily. Be careful: quotes should not exceed 10-15 % of the body text. Otherwise, the examiner would think you do not have anything important to say.
Be loyal to the facts
That means, never refer to the facts which are not well-proven, or that may support a theory contrary to your thesis. Check your sources. How can you do it? You should simply search for some criticism about the authors you refer to. Then you will be able to discern between the real scientist or researcher, and the pseudo-researcher. Be critical!
Your supervisor will review your work; he/she will give you some advice on the sources and information you should use. They will also check the draft of your essay and will recommend a way to improve it. Your supervisor is not the one who has to write the extended essay for you. Don’t expect it from them!
Although it is not an obligation, but still, it is recommended to have an interview with your supervisor. They will ask you some questions related to the text. The main goal is to check your knowledge in the field as well the authenticity of the work (to check for plagiarism).
The extended essay is your first real test of the system of education. It operates as a “bridge” between the high school and tertiary education. By passing this exam, you will have more opportunities to find a good college.