Extended Essay: Introduction

The Extended Essay is not a report or a narrative. It is an essay. That means that you are bringing together information in a new way. You are linking two or more ideas –

  • This effect on that;
  • The relationship between these two approaches, chemicals, points of view, historical events, personalities, writing styles; 
  • Could this happen again given these new circumstances?

Your Extended Essay should have a precise research question or hypothesis. Nothing significant will happen until you know what it is you are doing. Finding the precise research question may take up to 1/3 of the time you have, because it means pursuing leads, bumping into dead ends, knowing what information is extraneous, or deciding if you want to use it. It means walking away from much that you have learned because it is actually of no use in answering this precise research question. That is painful but necessary.

Know your audience! Your Extended Essay should be written for a specific specialist to read. The category must fit. Do enough research to know that you are writing a psychology paper, not a history paper. These two papers would be very differently written, depending on whether a psychologist reads it or an historian does.

Your Extended Essay should follow the recognized procedures for good written English as set out in any of these styles: MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), or Chicago. Once you have chosen a style, stick with it.

An assessment criterion (or rubric) that IB has provided is a roadmap to good scholarship and paper-writing. It emphasizes selection of information, analysis, reasoned arguments, conclusions, an abstract, in a polished formal presentation. Constantly pay attention to this and let it guide your writing, not only in the Extended Essay but in all academic papers you do from now on.  Diploma Candidates are trained in spring of junior year and given a guidebook which includes all information necessary for a successful paper.

You will receive an orange Cooper EE manual at your fall training.  Refer to it constantly!

The Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge (TOK) work together and can provide up to 3 bonus points. Getting no bonus points will not keep you from getting the diploma if you can get your 24 points evenly distributed among exams. Failing to submit an Extended Essay, or earning an E (Elementary) on both the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge will result in an automatic denial of the Diploma. The Extended Essay must be between 3,500-4,000 words.

Extended Essays are intended to be completed in 40 hours, from first investigation to final draft. The student is free to choose any adult mentor within the Cooper community. Mentors will be instructed on their responsibility. The mentor should help you for 3-5 hours, total.

The timetable for the Extended Essay should be observed closely.