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What is an Extended Essay and how to select your topic and how to write it

IB Extended Essay (IB EE) is one of the mandatory requirements of the IB Diploma Programme. It is a type of a small thesis that students write under the supervision of their advisors/mentors. The mentor is an IB educator from the school.

Independent research carried out by students on a topic of their choice must have a limit of 4000 words. They are given the liberty to either do a standard research paper or conduct an experiment.

How to select the topic?

The students should keep the following in mind while choosing a topic:

  • They must select a topic that interests them.
  • It should have adequate data and information.
  • The chosen topic should neither be narrow nor too broad and should be within the word limit of 4000.

The structure of the Extended Essay

The students should be able to make a clear distinction between a research title and a research question. The research title summarizes the central idea of the study. A research question strives to confine the scope of the study even further.


  • A short yet descriptive introduction of what the students will explore should be given. If their aim is to focus on a specific firm/industry, they should talk about the issues that are faced and the method of examining those issues.
  • The students must address the situation while keeping the question’s perspective in mind.
  • They are required to describe the importance of their research and how valuable it is to the audience.


The students are advised to split this section into two major parts to ensure that they cover all the important details. The first part must include all the necessary details about the sources used for the primary and secondary research. The second part would consist of a small brief on the related topics, theories and arguments of their EE.

The Main Body

This part of the essay is the most detailed. It focuses on research, analysis, discussion and evaluation. To maintain the flow of the previous section, the students are advised to divide the section into two parts.

Part One

This part will have related arguments, theories and topics that comprise the course learning. These elements must help the students answer their research questions. It is also advised that they include at least one financial element. Qualitative tools should be answered before quantitative ones.

Part Two

The students should ensure to take up this section as an opportunity to educate their reader/evaluator.

  • They must add some logical insight in this section.
  • Graphs can also be used.
  • Usage of theories and supportive arguments that are applicable to the research and beyond the course.

The conclusion

  • The students must ensure to make their sections organised.
  • Inclusion of any new information should be avoided.
  • They should incorporate various analytical insights wherever applicable.
  • They should state at least one feature that they would have done differently, if they were to begin their research again.


This includes an insight into the following resources:

  • Primary resources such as interviews, data, surveys
  • Secondary data such as books, the internet, journals, academic papers and interviews of the competitors


This section includes:

  • Transcripts from the interviews conducted by the students.
  • Further analysis that was done by the students that did not fit in the body of EE.
  • Any other engaging data that they are keen to mention in their work.

Hence, it is important for the students to have dedication, stipulated timelines and thorough research to go ahead with their EE.

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