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Extended Essay: 3 - Choose a Topic

A guide to the research process involved in your EE.

Choosing Your Topic

After choosing the subject for your extended essay, the next step in the research process is to define what your research is going to focus on - the topic.

At this stage you need to explore:

  • what are my possible topics?
  • what do I know about those topics?
  • which words would be good search terms and keywords?

Undertake some general reading around the issue. Questions you must consider at this stage are:

  • What has already been written about this topic?
  • Was it easy to find sources of information?
  • Is there a range of different sources available?
  • Is there a range of views or perspectives on the topic?
  • What interesting questions have started to emerge from this reading?

Identifying Keywords & Exploring the Topic

Conduct an initial background search to help find a focus for your research and discover possible keywords & synonyms to use as search terms when looking for relevant information. Generating initial research questions can help with this process.

These links may help:

Breaking Down a Question

Say your question is this:

How and why have explanations of the Cuban Missile Crisis changed since 1962?

Step One: Identify the key concepts and define/explain them. (What key concept is implied in this question but not explicitly stated?)

Step Two: Think of synonyms for each.

Step Three: Start a mind map of these concepts and add ideas, facts etc... that relate. Keeping adding to it as you learn more. Take your keywords for searching from this mind map.