After a year of the long process of researching, writing and hours of staring at a computer screen, the IB seniors turned in their extended essay this past Monday.
“Research is always important because it allows anybody to dig deeper into a topic or a theme and find out exactly what is happening with it and to rely on credible resources,” EE coordinator and librarian Sabrina Hyden said. “The skills are important not only as you go through school, but as you become an adult and you do research on your own about what’s out there, what’s going on with it and what the message is.”
One of the requirements for IB candidates is the extended essay, otherwise known by its acronym EE. It’s a 4,000 word research paper on a topic that students get to pick to research and write about, with guidance from a supervisor, who is usually a teacher at school. They are then sent to IB graders to be graded on a 36 point scale.
“What’s nice when you get into college with your EE is that we guide them through the process of creating a paper, versus in college when your professor says you have to write a 4,000 plus words [essay] due in 4 weeks, and you have to go out and do the entire paper on your own without guidance,” Hyden said. “So, students who have done the EE have the ability to transform what they have learned already into that setting.”
Students can choose from any topic that they want with a research question to answer in the paper. These topics could range from “The effects of sugar-free chewing gum on the pH of saliva in the mouth after a meal,” or “To what extent has the fall in the exchange rate of the US dollar affected the tourist industry in Carmel, California?”
“My topic is, ‘To what extent is the 5-hydroxytryptamine gene responsible for the rate of depression in the United States,’ ” senior Victoria Phipps said. “My higher level for IB is in psychology, so I naturally gravitated towards that subject. My major at Baylor is going to be in neuroscience, so I wanted to do something that would be applicable later to me in my education.”
IB candidates begin this paper at the start of the second semester of their junior year, giving them around a year to complete it. Then they begin writing once their topic is approved.
“I would suggest to start doing it early and work on it evenly through the course of the year,” Holder said. “EE is such a big paper and it will make the other papers easier in comparison. It will teach you how to effectively handle big papers when those come further down the road.”