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Extended Essay

Handouts and resources for the EE

Identify / Gather

A key element to good researching is spending the time to do background / preliminary exploration of your general topic  BEFORE you worry about fact gathering and research questions.

 

However, once you feel you understand the basics, then begin to  focus your topic and dig deeper.

 

 

 

 

A well-defined topic is limited in scope, allowing you to analyze it from multiple angles. It is specific enough to allow you to write a thorough discussion within the limits of your task. Your teacher or the librarian can help you with this, of course!  See the example on the left to get an idea of what a focused topic looks like.

 

Once your topic is focused, begin to dig deeper, moving on to more subject-specific resourcesBooks on your topic, subject-specific (or academic for DP) databases, interviews with experts, etc.  In additon, the library created a variety of pathfinders on specific subjects that can guide you to useful resources.   Including a wide variety of resources--including both primary and secondary sources-- demonstrates the depth of your research and makes it easier to ensure the accuracy of information.

 

 

You also need to start generating ideas for your all-important research question.  Check out the other tabs for more information on that and focusing your topic.

 

 

 

NEED MORE HELP?

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Choosing a database

Improving your search results

Immerse / Explore

A key element to good researching is spending the time to do background / preliminary exploration of your general topic  BEFORE you worry about fact gathering and research questions.

 

However, once you feel you understand the basics, then begin to focus your topic.

 

A well-defined topic is limited in scope, allowing you to analyze it from multiple angles. It is specific enough to allow you to write a thorough discussion within the limits of your task. 

 

Your teacher or the librarian can help you with this, of course!

See the example on the left to get an idea of what a focused topic looks like.

 

 

The research question lies at the heart of any extensive research project. The question guides everything you do, from finding information to writing your thesis statement, so it’s important to spend the time it takes to write a good one.

 

A good RQ asks for analysis, and usually has more than one answer. A good research question also asks you to do more than just list your answers. It forces you to take a stand, develop an argument and defend your position.  It's:

 

  • Focused: You can do a thorough analysis within the assignment limitations.
  • Analytical:  It asks you to examine the topic from different angles, not just make a list.
  • Arguable: There is more than one reasonable response, more than one side to argue. 
  • Researchable:  You can find the information and sources you need.

 

 

Thus, “What were the effects of WWI on Russia?” is NOT a good research question. It may require analysis to determine what those effects were, and you may even argue over that, but in the end, all you have to do is list them. A better question would be, “Did entering WWI hasten the Russian Revolution and the downfall of Nicholas II?” Still a bit clunky, but you can see the difference. Now you not only have to analyze, you have to decide whether the war DID contribute to the Tsar’s fall, then prove why you’re right. You must defend your position with reason and evidence 

 

More Examples:

 

 

 

 

1.  Name your topic:    I am interested in ____________.    

EX:  (I am interested in substance abuse.)

2. Add a question:    I am interested in _______________,  because I want to find out (who, what, when, where, why, how).

EX:  I am interested in substance abuse, because I want to find out why teens become addicted.

3.  Add a reason:  I am interested in _______________,  because I want to find out (who, what, when, where, why, how), to understand (how, why or whether).

EX:  I am interested in substance abuse because I want to find out why teens become addicted, to understand whether early childhood poverty plays a role.

 

Now turn it into a question:

Is there a correlation between early childhood poverty and substance abuse as a teen?

 

This is still a bit clunky, but notice this meets the FAAR requirements.  Also note, we don't ask "what is the correlation"  because 1) that just asks you to list and 2) the question "what" implies there IS a correlation, so is somewhat biased.

Some people might protest "But that's a yes or now question!"  It is, but you couldn't adequately PROVE it with such a simple answer. Most RQ's framed like this have an implied "to what extent"--you have to prove and justify your answer.

Quick Tips

1. Choose an interesting topic. If you're interested, your audience will be, too.

2. Gather background information.

3. Identify key issues / topics / vocabulary.  Ask:

  • Who or what is affected by the topic?
  • What are the facts / causes / issues around the topic?
  • What sub-topics relate to the broader topic?
  • Where is there disagreement among the experts?
  • What questions do my sources raise?

These are all potentially rich areas for focusing your subject.

1. Is my RQ something that I am curious about and that others might care about? 

2. Does my RQ present an issue on which I can take a stand?

3. Is my RQ too broad, too narrow, or OK?

4. Can I find enough resources?

5. What type of information do I need?

6. Can I find evidence/data to support or contradict a position?

7. What sources will have the type of information that I need to answer my RQ (journals, surveys, interviews with people, etc.)?