The Extended Essay is one of the most rewarding elements of the IB Diploma as it provides students with a unique opportunity to engage in independent research on a topic that interests them, culminating in a 4,000-word study. The essay provides excellent practical preparation for university dissertations and undergraduate research as students develop the capacity to analyse, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.
Key skills learned throughout the research process include:
formulating an appropriate research question
engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
developing an argument.
Students are supported throughout the process of researching and writing the extended essay, with advice and guidance from a supervisor who is a teacher at Bexley Grammar School.
Examples of recent Extended Essay titles researched by IB students at Bexley Grammar school include:
- To what extent have freedom of speech rights been infringed upon in the UK since the Brexit referendum?
- What conclusions can be drawn on American stage musicals from the 1940s-1970s and how did musicals adapt to continue surviving as a genre?
- To what extent is Primark's multinational operation more beneficial to the business than it is for Bangladesh?
- How are marine animals being affected by ocean acidification and how can we use certain species' characteristics to increase sustainability?
- To what extent does the effect of vitamin B₁₂ deficiency on the human body change with age?
- To what extent does the length of a ban and punishment affect sprinting times?
- Are H&M Group as environmentally sustainable as they portray themselves to be?
- To what extent could a universal basic income help to solve poverty and automation in the UK?
Students have extended essay and reflection sessions which often prove to be a valuable stimulus for discussion when students interview for a place at university or for employment.
Examples of recent reflection sessions by IB students:
After finishing my Extended Essay, I have never felt such a satisfaction. I'm so proud of my accomplishment and remain with lots of positive memories; this has been a great experience.
I am very glad that I managed to complete this essay to a standard that I am proud of and is an academic piece of writing. The best part of the process for me was the research and development of my idea, as that was the point where I was learning lots of new maths.
While book research takes longer, I found it was time well-spent as the material is more extensive and clearly reliable. I had never cited research before; doing so has greatly helped in other coursework.
I have learnt how to carefully access a variety of sources and then evaluate their credibility, as well as the importance of referencing and citation. Furthermore, I found the whole process of investigating motivation, an area of business I am passionate about, extremely interesting and engaging, and therefore particularly enjoyed conducting primary research.