The research process
Also, see the IBO web page:
Example extended essay research questions
IBO Subject Guides for Extended Essays
Below are links to the IBO’s guidelines for extended essays in each subject area:
- Studies in Language and Literature
- Language acquisition, including classical languages
- Individuals and societies
- The sciences
- The arts
- Interdisciplinary essays
What: An annotated bibliography synthsizes all the resources you intend to use to support your paper.
Why: An annotated bibliography demonstrates that you have critically evaluated your sources. It also helps you use your sources as evidence to construct your arguments.
How: Each entry in your annotated bibliography should include the following information.
- The bibliographic information of your source in a formal citation style. (Double-spaced)
- A general description of the source, critical comments, and an explanation of how it fits into your research. (Single-space paragraph)
Which: Questions you may want to consider in creating your annotated bibliography are below.
- What kind of work is it? (book, chapter, essay, journal article, webpage)
- Who is the author? (consider background, title, qualifications)
- What is the basis for the research or data reported? (methodology)
- What are the main arguments/topics covered?
- What conclusions are drawn? Issues raised?
- Is this source biased or objective?
- How does this particular information source compare with or relate to the others you have read on the topic?
- How useful is this work to you in your research? What role will it play?
Academic honesty: Crediting your sources
Academic honesty entails giving credit to the sources you used to support a project or written work.
A citation tells your readers where you got the information you used in your paper, project, or presentation.
Why cite your sources:
- Citing your sources makes your paper look stronger, more scholarly, and more reliable.
- Citations give credit to the original author of the quotation or the idea.
- Citations allow your readers to find the resources you used in your research.
When to cite your sources:
- When you include the exact words or paraphrase the words of another author.
- When you use or summarize the ideas or work of another author.
How to cite your sources:
- There are several styles used to cite sources. They all do the same thing. The difference is in the formatting (where to put the italics, parentheses, quotation marks, abbreviations, etc.).
- Some common citation styles are Harvard, MLA, and APA. Different teachers and various professions require a particular citation style.
Citing sources “in text”
If you quote or paraphrase the work of another author, you should cite that author within your project, presentation, or paper. This is known as an “in text” citation. See “Citation Styles” for examples and more help.
Reference lists, Works Cited lists, and Bibliographies
You should provide your readers with details regarding the resources in which you found your information. Include all available important elements for print and electronic books, journals, images, artworks, videos, etc. (Author, title, date, url, publisher, publication date, page, etc.)
- A Reference list or a Works Cited list includes only works that you cited in your paper.
- A Bibliography includes all the sources you read to prepare for your paper. [Confusingly, the IBO requires a “Bibliography” in the Extended Essay. But you must include only the works cited in your paper (see Criteria A & D).]
Your Reference list, Works Cited list, or Bibliography should be in alphabetical order. See “Citation Styles” for examples and more help.
Footnotes and Endnotes
- Footnotes and Endnotes use superscripted numbers1 to refer the reader to information contained elsewhere in the paper.
- Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page. Endnotes appear at the end of the paper.
- There are two main types of Footnotes or Endnotes:
- Citations cite the source of the information referred to in the paper.
1 Dav Pilkey, The Adventures of Captain Underpants (New York, NY: Scholastic, 1997), p, 61.
- Explanatory Notes provide supplemental information to the reader.
1 See Pilkey, especially Chapters 4 and 5, for an insightful analysis of Mr. Krupp’s transition.
- The APA and MLA citation styles do not use footnotes for citations. Instead, parenthetical references and a “References” or “Works Cited” list are used.
- The APA and MLA citation styles do not recommend the use of explanatory notes.
- The Harvard citation style uses footnotes for citations and explanatory notes.
- For examples of citations in each of the major styles, see “Citation Styles.”
The upper limit is 4,000 words. Examiners are instructed not to read or assess any material in excess of the word limit. See the table below to see what is included in the word count:
Automatic citation generators
You may use an automatic citation/reference generator, such as EasyBib, CiteThisForMe, or Microsoft Word References. However, be aware that these tools are not always reliable, are not updated according to new rules, and do not necessarily reflect the criteria specified by the IBO. For more help with creating correct citations, see “Citation Styles.”
Download these PDFs of Year group lessons.
Spotting fake news
Don’t be fooled! Think critically about the news you read.
Evaluating online resources
Use the CARS checklist to evaluate internet resources:
Opensources: A list of news sources categorized by type (fake, satire, bias, junk science, political, credible, etc.). Curated by professional librarians.
Using Wikipedia wisely
- Wikipedia is a good resource for general information and for hyperlinks to more in-depth resources.
- Usually, research requires additional resources. Try the school library’s collection or some of the free internet resources on this website.
- Double check the accuracy of Wikipedia information by locating the same information in at least one other reliable resource.