In the next few weeks you will have to decide upon your Extended Essay subject. Here is some advice for ITGS Extended Essays, based on what has worked (and not worked!) in the past. If you are thinking of writing an ITGS EE you should read this carefully and contact me if you have any questions.
Extended Essay Topics
- ITGS Extended Essays require you to perform primary research. Unfortunately this means that several topics are not feasible here in El Salvador. The primary research must involve genuine stakeholders who are experts in the topic area, which interviewing friends or family just because they are convenient is a poor approach.
- Research questions must be very specific. All parts of ITGS triangle must be included: specific stakeholders, specific technologies, specific social or ethical issues, and sometimes even a specific geographical location or a specific situation. For example:
- “The effects of Linux on businesses” is far too vague.
- “A study of the TCO for small businesses moving from commercial operating systems to Linux” is better.
- “How do games affect education?” is too vague.
- “How useful are simple English games in helping grade 4 primary school students learn English as a second language?” is better.
- You can view other topic ideas for ITGS EEs, divided by section of the ITGS syllabus, in the post ITGS Extended Essay topic ideas.
EE Topics to avoid
- I advise you to avoid anything related to “laptops in schools” or “Facebook in schools”. Both are boring, well-trodden topics which students often choose because they want an easy time. In my experience the result will often be a regurgitation of unsupported, non-specific claims without any meaningful conclusion. This was mentioned in the last ITGS EE Examiners report. Previous essays on these topics have scored very low grades (10-12 out of 36).
- Any topic where you cannot perform primary research. “Robotics in medicine” might interest you, but can you find a doctor who uses robots so you can interview him? Same thing for “Computers in space”, “smart homes”, and many more. If not, you can’t do the topic – it’s that simple.
- Topics about IT products (e.g. “New iPod released”, “Faster Intel processor”). The social impact of these is minimal.
- Topics about things which haven’t happened yet or have only just happened. How can you find examples if something hasn’t happened yet? (E.g: new nano-computers to be released, Saudi Arabia will monitor Blackberry use)
- Sources should not be solely Internet based. The Extended Essay guide recommends a combination of Internet resources and books, magazines, and articles.
- Students should aim for 25-30 information sources. Many students find this surprising, but it is important.
EE Topic Checklist
- Does the topic present clear social and ethical issue(s)?
- Are these issues caused by information technology?
- Can you find clear sources to support these issues and impacts?
- Are you able to find expert stakeholders to perform primary research?
- If the answer to any of these questions is no, you may need to think of a different topic.
ITGS Extended Essay help
There are several books available to help you complete the EE process.
Thinking of Writing an ITGS Extended Essay?
Thinking of writing an Extended Essay in ITGS? Here is some ITGS EE advice, based on what has worked (and not worked!) in the past.
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) online curriculum centre (OCC), a key resource for educators at IB World Schools, includes several examples of extended essay titles.
These highlight the diverse range of topics covered by International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) students during their extended essays.
Some examples are:
- “An analysis of costume as a source for understanding the inner life of the character”
- “A study of malnourished children in Indonesia and the extent of their recovery after a period of supervised improved nutrition.”
- “Doing versus being: language and reality in the Mimamsa school of Indian philosophy.”
- “The effects of sugar-free chewing gum on the pH of saliva in the mouth after a meal.”
- “To what extent has the fall in the exchange rate of the US dollar affected the tourist industry in Carmel, California?”
- “What level of data compression in music files is acceptable to the human ear?”
Also available in the OCC, the Handbook of Procedures for the Diploma Programme has guidance on choosing a subject for the extended essay.
The OCC is only available to existing IB World Schools.
You can also purchase examples of essays in the IB Store. These essays fulfil the requirements for an ‘A’ grade in the extended essay.
If your school is not one already, learn how to become an IB World School in order to implement the DP.