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Extended Essay: Picking a Topic

Picking a Topic

The inspiration for a research paper of this size routinely comes from a topic on which you have a keen and preferably enduring interest.  The IB wants to prepare you for the kinds of writing you will encounter in college and they also are aware that the EE provides an important opportunity for you to individualize your journey through the Diploma Program.  For this reason, writing on a topic you are passionate about will nearly eliminate the need to generate the motivation needed to bring your paper to completion. 

WARNING: While you may find several opportunities through your IB subject classes to “kill two birds with one stone” i.e. further a practice IA AND build research on an EE topic (don’t worry if this last bit doesn’t make sense yet) think carefully about whether picking a topic on these grounds is simply a marriage of convenience or whether you will actually be picking a topic you care deeply about.  The IB journey should help you understand yourself more deeply as a learner and the EE should further this end. 

Time will be allotted in Theory of Knowledge for you to consider a list of those topics (and the subjects the IB considers those topics to fall under) so if you aren’t immediately sure what you want to write your EE on, there will be some time to develop ideas and assess their viability for sustaining a 4000 word research paper.  Listen to yourself and start formulating your question by following your own interests. Remember, you will spend a lot of time researching and writing about the topic: if it does not interest you in the beginning, it will certainly become very difficult to write about in the end.

Passion Activity

Looking for some inspiration from your own life when picking a topic? Here's an activity that might help you come up with a few ideas: 

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