common mistakes in extended essay and tips and advice on how to write it

Mastering the Extended Essay:
Essential Tips, Mistakes to Avoid

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

1. Vague Research Question (RQ):
Formulating a research question that is too broad or narrow. Make sure your research question is focused, clear and can be reasonably addressed within the scope of the extended essay.

How does climate change affect animals?

This RQ is overly broad and lacks specificity. It doesn’t indicate which animals, aspects of climate change, or geographical regions are being considered, making it difficult to conduct focused research.

How is the melting Arctic ice impacting the feeding patterns of polar bears in Northern Canada?

This RQ is specific and focused. It narrows down the subject to a particular effect of climate change (melting Arctic ice), a specific species (polar bears), and a geographical location (Northern Canada). This precision facilitates targeted research and allows for a more manageable and in-depth exploration of the topic.

2. Using inappropriate or unreliable sources. Many websites are not suitable as academic sources. Focus on using scholarly articles, books, and primary sources. Always evaluate the credibility of your sources.

Example of Using Inappropriate or Unreliable Sources:

Inappropriate Source:
A student writing an Extended Essay on the impacts of climate change might rely heavily on information from a non-scientific, opinion-based blog that discusses climate change skeptically without any citation of scientific data or studies.

Correct Approach with Appropriate Sources:
Instead, the student should seek out scholarly articles from reputable scientific journals, such as those published by the American Meteorological Society or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports. Additionally, books written by experts in climate science and data from governmental or educational institution websites can serve as credible sources.

3. Incorrect or incomplete referencing and citations.
Ideas that are not your own must always be properly cited to avoid plagiarism. Be consistent in following a standard citation style like MLA or APA.

4. Writing that is too descriptive rather than analytical
Don’t just present facts; analyze them to build a coherent argument that reflects your original thinking and understanding of the topic. This approach demonstrates your ability to engage critically with the material, a key criterion for a successful Extended Essay.

tips and advice

1. Strategic Deadline Planning for a Manageable Essay Process
Set personalized deadlines for completing each stage of the essay. This helps with time management and avoids last-minute rushes. Breaking up the work makes the task more manageable.
2. Cultivate a Strong Partnership with Your Supervisor
Establish a good working relationship with your supervisor. Take the initiative to set up regular meetings. Your supervisor’s guidance is invaluable, so openly discuss your progress and challenges.
3. Crafting the Perfect Research Question: Your Essay’s Foundation
Take the time to carefully develop your research question. A well-constructed research question is crucial as the backbone of your essay. Make sure it is specific, can be answered within 4000 words, and relates clearly to your subject area.
4. Efficient Source Management: Track Early, Avoid Stress
Keep meticulous track of all sources used from the very start. This saves time later and ensures you can easily revisit information and compile a complete bibliography. Consider using reference management software.

5. Avoid Easy Losses: Nail the Technical Details of Your Essay
Pay attention to all the required technical details of the essay – things like the title page, table of contents, page numbers, Tables, graphs, etc. Losing marks on these easy things is avoidable.

6. Master Academic Honesty to Avoid Plagiarism
Understand academic honesty and how to avoid plagiarism. Always err on the side of over-citing rather than under-citing. Your work should represent your own thinking but build upon properly attributed previous work by others.
7. Embrace Feedback: Refine Your Essay with Constructive Insights
Be open to feedback from your supervisor and others. Use their advice to refine and strengthen your arguments and writing. Don’t take constructive criticism personally.
8. Stay Motivated: Celebrate Small Wins and Seek Support When Needed
Stay motivated by setting small goals and rewarding your progress. If you hit a wall, talk to your supervisor. Remember that this is a learning process and an impressive accomplishment once completed.


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