Home Digital Marketing Understanding Extended Essays: a Guide to Write an Extended Essay

Understanding Extended Essays: a Guide to Write an Extended Essay

The term ‘extended essay,’ or EE, may sound quite intimidating and cause stress for many students. That is a real challenge for those going to become IB (International Baccalaureate) students or those who already are. Still, the complexity of a task isn’t a reason to be scared of doing it. 

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In this article, we will reveal the tricks for successfully writing an extended essay and getting the highest grade possible. But first, let us discover the true meaning of an extended essay and what is usually required in such essay tasks. Be sure, with enough diligence and effort. You are going to nail it!

Defining Extended Essays: How Does It Differ from a Classical Essay

So, an extended essay (EE) is one of the compulsory requirements for everyone aiming to get the IB Diploma. The essay is often perceived as a thesis in miniature which is also written under the supervision of a college or university mentor. This person is, as a rule, an IB teacher as well. 

The task presupposes a student to do independent research on a topic they chose. The volume is limited to 4000 words. The sequence of steps for writing this type of essay is the following:

Identifying the research question:-

Now, it’s possible to choose it on your own or consult a mentor to formulate the topic. IBO will then approve the question. In this assignment, students have the freedom to either conduct classical research or experiment and propose a solution to one of the existing problems in their major discipline.

Make sure the topic has enough resources and materials, isn’t too narrowly or too broadly formulated, and includes the areas in the scope of your interest. 

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Choosing a mentor:-

This choice depends on many factors such as experience, amount of knowledge and practice a person has, achievements in the field, and, sure thing, your relationships. Sometimes it is the last factor that determines half of your success, if not more, so do not be afraid to follow your heart and choose a supervisor who is comfortable to work with and who doesn’t judge or demand too much. 

Defining the structure:-

Knowing what parts of the mini thesis you will write will ease the task. As a rule, an EE will include these points in the Table of Contents: 


Briefly describe what topic you are about to explore and how you will do it. If you want to solve a particular issue, state the main problems in this industry and explain why the one you chose is burning. Give context for your research questions, state them, and say why the research is interesting, important, and valuable. 


Here are 2 key parts: Explaining sources and Overview of related topics, theories (along with their strengths and weaknesses), and arguments. It’s also vital to show that some changes took place during the research since the thesis is written in an environment where things change during the process. 

Main Body

Include at least 4 theories and arguments that help you answer the main research questions as well as insights they led to. Dwell on qualitative tools and info before getting down to quantitative ones. 


Sum the paper up and address what you have researched. Evaluate your insights and how they help to contribute to solving the main issue. 


This part should contain every source, whether a paper one or an electronic version: articles, journals, books, other theses, as well as primary sources (interviews and data from opinion polls and surveys). 


All complementary materials such as transcripts from interviews, additional analysis, tables and charts, and other curious data you used should be placed in the Appendices. 

Pay attention that the Abstract isn’t required in an EE. 

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What Is the Difference Between Research Question and the Title?

Since these two concepts are commonly confused, let’s clarify the matter. A title, or topic, does not equal a research question

A research question is a narrowed-up and clear statement of what your research will explore. For example, it is ‘The Effects of Daily Use of Social Media on the Attention Span of Teenagers and Young Adults (from under 16-s and to 25)’. As you can see, here you have the clear criteria for the people you study and a defined research focus – their attention span. 

The topic is specific, includes clearly defined concepts, and can be researched using qualitative and quantitative data to have a well-shaped result. Research questions, in their turn, address one issue at a time and can sound like:

‘Does attention span decrease as a result of using social media daily?’

‘What is a safe amount of time to spend on social media without the risk of losing the sharpness of the ability to focus?’

‘By how much does the attention span decrease in young people who use Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook daily?’

‘Does the downward trend vary in users depending on gender (or age)?’

The Final Word

To keep it simple and clear, an extended essay is a more profound version of a traditional essay or a thesis in mini size. Anyway, it needs a student to address the most solution-demanding problems of their major disciplines, be able to gather and analyze data and interpret it correctly. 

Follow this guide in your writing, consult your supervisor, and study relevant and credible sources, and your EE is going to turn out a valuable paper and will get you high points.