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Extended Essay: Subject-specific source lists

A guide to the research process involved in your EE.

Primary or Secondary Sources? Subject Specific List

Types of Sources you can use - Subject Specific Lists

Adapted from: Lekanides, Kosta. “Chapter 3: Locating, organizing and evaluating.” Oxford IB Diploma Programme: Extended Essay Course Companion, Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 31-37.

Accepted primary and secondary sources differ slightly in each subject. The table below will give you some indications of appropriate sources for each subject

Subjects

Primary Sources

Secondary sources

Language & Literature

Novels (text or graphic), letters, anthologies, poems, interviews, plays

  • Any journals, articles, critiques, documentaries, websites, literary reviews, newspapers or literary magazines concerned with the chosen essay topic or its background
  • Autobiographies and biographies may also prove useful in terms of context and occasional insight into textual meaning, although students should avoid limiting their analysis of the text to the specifics of an author’s life

Language acquisition

Novels, letters, poems, non-fiction, interviews, newspapers (language), websites (language), idiolects and dialects (language or culture), advertisements

Journals, articles, critiques, documentaries, websites, literary reviews, newspapers, literary magazines or any text focusing on language-specific analysis

Biology

Observations, fieldwork, experiments and all data generated from them

  • Journals, articles, reviews, documentaries, websites, textbooks, science magazines on theories, experiments, models, case studies, approaches, research or methodologies
  • Data charts or graphs from science institutes or government centres

Chemistry

Observations, experiments and all data generated from them

  • Journals, articles, reviews, documentaries, websites, textbooks, science magazines on theories, experiments, models, case studies, approaches, research or methodologies
  • Data charts or graphs from science institutes or government centres

Design Technology

  • Surveys, questionnaires, user observations and structured interviews with users and experts
  • Any data in the form of graphs, tables, charts and so on that emerges out of practical experiments conducted by you (the user) could also feature although this is not mandatory. These experiments could take the form of performance and effectiveness tests, prototyping solutions, situation modelling and design trialing
  • Books, textbooks, newspaper and magazine articles, journal publications and websites on design theory, principles, trends, applications and approaches
  • The usage of websites and textbooks alone is not sufficient for the purposes of an Extended Essay in design technology

Economics

Any data, graphs, charts and similar produced by the students from conducting surveys, questionnaires or interviews with experts in the field of economics (journalists, university professors, business leaders, politicians and other policy makers)

  • Books, textbooks, newspaper and magazine articles, journals and governmental publications and websites on economics theory, research, trends or policy
  • Research conducted by think tanks such as the Institute of Economics Affairs (IEA), Centre for Economics Policy Research (CEPR) RAND Corporation or similar.
  • Publications produced by international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and Gulf Cooperation Council

Environmental systems and societies

Observations, fieldwork, experiments, surveys or interviews with experts in the field of environmental studies

  • Journals , articles, reviews, documentaries, websites, textbooks, magazines on theories, experiments, models, case studies, approaches, research or methodologies related to the environment, geography and biology could form the basis of secondary source material in ESS
  • Data charts or graphs from science institutes, government centres or agencies (such as the Centre for Science and Environment, European Environment Agency and United Nations Environment Programme)

Geography

All data gathered from fieldwork investigations or studies (for example, sampling, questionnaires, interviews, surveys and mapping)

  • Any books, textbooks, newspapers, magazines, journal articles and websites that reference geographical issues, approaches, research and methodologies
  • Aerial and satellite images
  • Digital landscape simulations and models
  • Diagrams, charts, reports and other statistical data obtained from reputable sources (for example, governmental agencies and independent environment organizations)

History

Texts or artifacts create dat the time in question: such as histories, letters, images, objects, speeches, charters, laws, inscriptions, diaries, buildings, newspapers, posters and photos

Texts concerning the time in question but created after it: histories, documentaries, websites, journals, history magazines and films

Literature and performance

The focus here is on how a literary work (such as a novel, poem or short story( was adapted into a performance (dance, paly, opera, video game or film)

As such, the main primary source will be literary texts chosen and their associated adaptation

  • Any journals, articles, critiques, documentaries, websites, literary magazines concerned with the chosen topic or its background
  • Autobiographies and biographies may also prove useful in terms of context and occasional insight into textual meaning, although students should avoid limiting their analysis of the text to the specifics of the author’s life

Mathematics

Axioms, proofs, equations, theorems, data, problems, conundrums, statistics and so on

Books, journal articles, mathematics magazines, essays, specialist websites and any publication that incorporates mathematical techniques

Music

Music recordings, scores, performances, concerts, observations, workshops, interviews with performers, questionnaires and/or surveys

Any textbooks, journals, articles, critiques, documentaries, websites. Music reviews, music magazines, evaluations concerned with the chosen essay topic or its background

Philosophy

The original works of philosophers that outline their philosophical concepts or themes

  • Any philosophy-related compendiums, dictionaries, textbooks and encyclopaedias
  • Where non-philosophy sources are used (for example, newspaper articles or literature on specific issues) they must be examined from a philosophical perspective only

Physics

Observations, experiments and all data generated from them

  • Journals, articles, reviews, documentaries, websites, textbooks, science magazines on theories, experiments, models, case studies, approaches, research or methodologies
  • Data charts or graphs from science institutes or government centres

Theatre

  • The play itself (script/text or recorded performance)
  • Stage sketches, drawings, pictures, plan or photographs
  • Reviews of major productions
  • Interviews with playwrights, directors, actors, set designers, producers and so forth
  • Drama workshops

Any textbooks, journals, articles, critiques, documentaries, websites, theatrical reviews, theatre magazines and evaluations concerned with the chosen topic or its background

Visual Arts

The artwork and/or artist will constitute the main primary source material for Visual Arts Extended Essays

  • Exhibitions
  • Interviews with artists (via correspondence or face-to-face)

Any textbooks, journals, articles, critiques, documentaries, websites, art reviews, art magazines and evaluations concerned with the chosen topic or its background

World Studies

A world studies essay requires that you select two subject areas to base your investigation upon. As such, the list of acceptable primary sources would depend on the chosen subjects

See relevant subject areas above for lists of relevant sources

A world studies essay requires that you select two subject areas to base your investigation upon. As such, the list of acceptable secondary sources would depend on the chosen subjects

See relevant subject areas above for lists of relevant sources