Sample essays

As you prepare the extended essay, you will want to study several sample essays. This will help give you an impression of the final product and an understanding of what is expected. You can do a lot with a good sample. For example you may want to focus on one specific criterion. You may want to study its use of citation. You may simply want to see what a good title page looks like. Finally, it goes without saying that sample material is an excellent way to make yourself more familiar with the assessment criteria for the extended essay. You can compare your marks with the examiner's.

The samples have been labeled 'EE' for 'extended essay', 'C'1, 'C2' or 'C3' for 'category 1, 2 or 3', (see requirements) and 'S' for the number of the sample.

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Comments 24

Abigail Faye Rata 10 August 2017 - 12:27

Hello, Tim!

My student is thinking of using The Invisible Man by as a text for her EE. Is it possible since the author is not included in the PLA and the work is not really familiar? I am hoping for your response. Thank you so much!

David McIntyre 11 August 2017 - 07:51

It's possible to use the text, although it is possibly better regarded as a novella than a novel. That needn't stop the student. As with all EEs, the main point of departure is the research question, and the intended approach to that question.

Let me know, please, if you would like further advice (and to offer this, I would need to know more about the student's intentions).

Kind regards,

David

Abigail Faye Rata 21 August 2017 - 07:34

Hello, David! I am so delighted to have seen your response. The student is really interested on using the novella, Invisible Man. Her RQ goes like this: To what extent does the anonymity of the narrator affect the reader's perception of racism and its effects in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man? She says that she finds it challenging but at the same time interesting. Considering, of course, that her sources could be limited and her analysis could obviously be based only on the features presented in the novella, is it something feasible? Or maybe there is something that needs to be reviewed in her RQ. I am hoping for your response. Again, thank you so much!

Kind regards,

Abigail

David McIntyre 21 August 2017 - 19:46

Hi Abigail,

A couple of things occur to me: (i) I'm not confident you can know the 'reader's perception'. On can, however, construct an argument around narrative voice and meaning; (ii) I would think that the EE can be informed by a range of secondary sources. Whilst the student will construct her own independent response to the question, this is likely to be informed by, for example, critical literature on the text, and sources which inform arguments on narrative technique, race and racism.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,

David

Abigail Faye Rata 3 November 2017 - 04:58

Hello, David. To follow up on this. The student has come up with this RQ: How does the anonymity of the narrator provide a deeper understanding of racism in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man?

Is that fine? Thank a lot for the help.

Kind regards,
Abigail

Tim Pruzinsky 3 November 2017 - 06:07

Hi Abigail,

This seems to work right now - I worry that she has already answered her question a bit, but that can be easily tweaked.

Have the student start writing and see what she produces. Provide support as needed during that writing process. She should be off and running now on her EE.

Best,
Tim

Abigail Faye Rata 1 September 2017 - 05:26

Hello, David. This will help her a lot. I asked her to review it again and do the necessary research.

Kind regards,

Abigail

Abigail Faye Rata 1 September 2017 - 06:15

Hi David. Another question is, can a student use a non-print material for the EE like movies/films, television series, anime, songs, and others? And will it also be feasible if a student tries to compare different materials like let us say novel and a movie? Thank you so much for the help.

Kind regards,
Abigail

Tim Pruzinsky 2 September 2017 - 02:38

Hi Abigail,

One of our best exemplars on the site is an EE about "Breaking Bad." So, yes, C3 EEs are about texts that aren't considered traditional "literature." I don't think it's advisable to mix and match genres - a novel and a movie or song lyrics and speeches, but I could always be persuaded otherwise by a student with a strong EE proposal.

Best,
Tim

Abigail Faye Rata 3 September 2017 - 14:00

Thanks a million, Tim, for this feedback. It is a big help!

Best,
Abigail

Priyamvada Gopal 14 October 2017 - 08:29

Hi there,
One of my student wants to do his Cat 1 EE on Carol on Duffy's poems while using Empson's 7 types of ambiguity as a framework. He has not formulated his research question. Is it feasible for him to use Empson's text also? Wouldn't it be better if he just used her poems as a springboard?
How many poems may he focus on? Her poems are mostly 25- 40 lines. He will pick up poems from 'Bees'.
Thanks

Tim Pruzinsky 14 October 2017 - 10:02

Hi Priya,

First, get him to write an actual research question. It is tough to advise without it. Second, have him hold the Empson criticism for the essay itself, not for the question. It looks like he wants to run with "new criticism" as a lens. That's fine.

Third, he will need to decide what poems. I can't and you can't tell him how many or which ones if he doesn't have a research question. What exactly is it that he wants to explore, investigate, and research?

You are right - he needs to use the poems as a springboard and he needs to figure out which ones. Get that research question clarified and narrow enough for a 4,000 word essay. Then, go from there.

It looks like he has some work to do before he meets with you again!

Best,
Tim

Priyamvada Gopal 14 October 2017 - 10:22

Hi Tim,
I will look into all these points.
regards,
Priya

Jenny Nordieng 6 January 2018 - 10:25

Hi,
I have a student who wants to do either of these two:
- read one or two books from a male author and then one or two books from a female author to see the contrast in the way they present their characters within a specified genre and time era.

- investigate the contrast between romance novels written by women such as Pride and Prejudice (one of our Part 3 texts) and a more modern novel to see the contrast in how things are described and also how the characters act despite the obvious time era contrast. (to see how female writing has changed over time).

Will any of those two work? They seem a bit broad to me but since I have not supervised an EE for quite some time I feel a bit rusty and would really appreciate some advice.

Regards
Jenny

David McIntyre 7 January 2018 - 16:12

Hi Jenny,

I think both of these ideas are very (very) broad, and neither idea is particularly 'literary' in approach. I don't think - there are those that will disagree with me - that the gender of the writer is a priori of great significance. And, simply 'investigating the contrast' is very vague; what specifically does the student wish to compare and contrast? Why?

I think, too, your student needs to avoid confirmation bias and recognise the problems associated with induction and generalisation. Change over time cannot really be measured by considering two discrete, temporally separated texts.

So, much too broad - we agree - but it is a start for further discussion, not a dead end.

Kind regards,

David

Jenny Nordieng 8 January 2018 - 09:47

Hi David,

Thank you so much for your feedback. I will talk to her and see if she can narrow it a bit but I completely agree with your points.

Regards
Jenny

Jenny Nordieng 6 February 2018 - 15:55

Hi David,

My student has now decided to analyse Hermione's character development in the second instalment of the Harry Potter series. She is still set on focusing on a female protagonist.

My question is if this will work and if there are any samples available? I have tried to find sample EE's on this but they are quite hard to come by. There might even be a reason for this perhaps? Her other option is symbolism in 'The Scorcerer's Stone'.

Regards
Jenny

David McIntyre 6 February 2018 - 18:41

Hi Jenny,

Still a little broad - but improving!

You can see in the samples we have published that there is an example EE from children's literature. If you read it, you will notice that it is 'serious' and 'academic' in nature. As general advice, however, IB student's should avoid children's literature, and should instead focus on 'serious' literary works. It is difficult to give good, precise advice here; however, sticking my neck out a little, I would avoid the focus on character development. If this broad approach is taken, it could be done with a more 'serious' text. The second option - symbolism - possibly offers more mileage, particularly if the student takes a diachronic approach that concentrates on intertextuality and 'the dialogic imagination'. As I say, however, giving sound advice is difficult in this instance.

Kind regards,

David

Jenny Nordieng 8 February 2018 - 09:27

HI David,

Thank you so much for your reply. I agree that it is a hard one and I tried to talk her out of Harry Potter and focus on a more serious text. Another one of my students will analyse the character development of Pip in 'Great Expectations' but, as you say, that feels like it has more weight to it.

Regards
Jenny

Regards
Jenny

David McIntyre 9 February 2018 - 06:57

Hi Jenny,

Great book - Great Expectations. A word of caution: It is so well known that there is a risk that the student will simply tread the water of old arguments. It is important, to do well, that the student brings some personal insight to the table.

Best regards,

David

Mirna Madi 8 January 2018 - 07:54

Hi,

My student's Cat 3 EE research question is:

How did various American songwriters use the language of protest music to shape public opinion in regards to the Vietnam war?

Is it a leading question?

Thank you

David McIntyre 8 January 2018 - 09:09

Hi Mirna,

The language of protest songs is a reasonable topic. However, 'various American songwriters' is very vague. Could the student focus on one or two artists, or a prescribed period of time? I'm also not confident that you can know the extent to which public opinion is shaped. Thus, I think, the student needs to formulate a question that focuses on texts in cultural context.

Kind regards,

David

Karlene Rainham 22 March 2018 - 16:12

Hi,

Just wondering how many poems a student should be looking at to analyse as part of their EE? The students wants to look at the works of Duffy.

Thanks a million,

Karlene

Tim Pruzinsky 22 March 2018 - 23:55

Hi Karlene,

I usually advise between 4-8, although that is a completely arbitrary number. I would start with the higher end (and really, a student analyzing a poem and then not using it for their EE is not a waste of time either). From there, I ask them to find patterns and connections between the poems and that narrows the focus and the starts to solidify the question.

At that point, when the student is ready to write, close analysis of the poems means at 8 poems, they only have about 400 words per poem (they still need an intro, conclusion, and research), which is probably too many, but to start with, this gives them a broad enough scope the decide what pairs best. If they end up with 4, 5 or 6 poems it doesn't matter, but instead they want to go for depth and connections.

Best,
Tim


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