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A Guide to Economics Extended

Essays
Nature of the extended essay
The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of approved Diploma Programme
subjectsnormally one of the students six chosen subjects for the IB diploma. It is intended to promote high-
level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to
engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (a teacher in the
school). This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are
communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen. It is recommended that
completion of the written essay is followed by a short, concluding interview, or viva voce, with the supervisor.

Role of the Student


In working on the extended essay, students are expected to:
Plan and pursue a research project with intellectual initiative and insight
Formulate a precise research question
Gather and interpret material from sources appropriate to the research question
Structure a reasoned argument in response to the research question on the basis of the material
gathered
Present their extended essay in a format appropriate to the subject, acknowledging sources in one of
the established academic ways
Use the terminology and language appropriate to the subject with skill and understanding
Apply analytical and evaluative skills appropriate to the subject, with an understanding of the
implications and the context of their research.

Role of the Teacher:


provides the student with advice and guidance in the skills of undertaking research
encourages and supports the student throughout the research and writing of the extended essay
discusses the choice of topic with the student and, in particular, helps to formulate a well-focused
research question
monitors the progress of the extended essay to offer guidance and to ensure that the essay is the
students own work (this may include presenting a section of the essay for supervisor comment)
reads and comments on one completed draft only of the extended essay (but does not edit the draft)

Overview of EE in Economics:
An extended essay in economics provides students with an opportunity to undertake in-depth research in
economics in an area of personal interest to them. It allows students to develop research skills, to apply
economic theory to real-world situations, and to analyse and evaluate the outcomes of their research. The
outcome of the research should be a coherent and structured analytical essay that effectively addresses the
particular research question.

Choice of topic
Students should undertake an essay that uses the core principles of economics as a basis for researching a
particular topic. Students should use a combination of primary and secondary research as the basis for their
extended essay, and should apply the accepted theories, tools and techniques of the subject to the topic chosen.

Essays should not be historical. They should be related to economic information that is no more than three years
old. Essays that are too retrospective, for example, What was the impact of the South-East Asian crash on
Thailand during 19901995? almost invariably become descriptive.
Students should ensure that their research question can be answered using economic concepts and theories,
and that the question does not lean too heavily towards business and management.
The topic chosen should provide opportunities for some critical analysis of the data collected. Topics that depend
entirely on summarizing general secondary data should be avoided, as they are likely to lead to an essay that is
essentially narrative or descriptive in nature. However, the effective use of relevant secondary data to answer the
research question will be fully rewarded by the examiner. Restricting the scope of the essay will help to ensure a
clear focus, and will also provide opportunities for demonstrating detailed economic understanding and critical
analysis. Choosing a research question that is made up of more than one question is unlikely to result in a
successful essayfor example, Is the caf industry in Vienna an example of oligopoly and, if so, do the cafs
collude with each other? or What is the effect of interest rate policy on aggregate demand in Greece and what
should the government do to increase aggregate demand? In the first example, the answer to the first part of the
question must be affirmative in order to proceed with the essay. If not, the second part of the question cannot be
answered. In the second example, the scope of the essay is simply too wide.
You should base your extended essay upon a topic or subject that links with an area of the
I.B. Economics Syllabus.
1) Possible areas of study might include

a) Elasticity
b) Parallel markets
c) Market Failure
d) Theory of the Firm
Macroeconomic topics are possible, but in many cases are best avoided as it is more difficult
to obtain good primary data and 4000 words may not be sufficient to discuss a
macroeconomic research question in the required depth.

2) The IB suggest you avoid:


Historical topic (no more than 3 years old)
Future events
The performance of the whole economy

3) As well as thinking of an area of study you need to think of a possible context for your
essay (i.e. what is your essay going to be about). Some examples are given below:-

a) Whether hotels in Hong Kong price discriminate


b) The structure of the caf market in Soho
c) The issue of negative externalities with respect to GSIS
d) Parallel markets in London
e) The link between the rising price of petrol and demand for used cars.

Formulating a Research Question


It is important to note that your research question will likely change multiple
times during the process.
1) The title of your essay needs to be a question that you will answer during the course of
your essay. The best research questions are those that allow you to consider both sides
of the argument, incorporate economic theory and reach a conclusion.
2) Some examples of research questions are given below
a) To what extent is the market for bars in Soho oligopolistic?
b) Does the existence of GSIS lead to market failure?
c) To what extent do Starbucks price discriminate?
d) Is there a parallel market for DVDs in London?
e) To what extent is the demand for cars at Dealer X determined by changes in the
price of petrol?
3) The following examples represent research questions that are unsuitable for various
reasons.
a) Is HKIS a Veblen Good?
b) To what extent has the introduction of the Euro been beneficial for the Italian
economy?
c) To what extent will Euro 2008 have a positive impact upon Genevas local
economy?

4) The first research question is unsuitable because although the information about fees is
accessible, HKIS are unlikely to release figures for the number of applicants they get
each year.
5) The second research question is unsuitable because it is too broad to be analysed
effectively within 4000 words and the end result may be a superficial consideration of
some of the issues.
6) The third research question could prove problematic in terms of collecting suitable primary
and secondary data. The event has not yet occurred, so much of the required data does
not exist and even if the question related to an event that had recently taken place the
question may be too broad in scope.

Data Collection
Important note on data collection: Primary data is difficult to collect and often
the results determine the structure of the essay. Students should start the
collection as early as possible.
1) The best extended essays are those based upon both primary and secondary data. This
is another reason why it is often better to choose a microeconomic topic as it is more
feasible to collect primary data.
2) An essay about hotel price discrimination would require you to collect price information
from various different hotels for different customers, different times of the year etc. Some
businesses are reluctant to release this type of sensitive information so you must choose
carefully when deciding upon your extended essay.
3) Primary data might include

a) Price data (collection and observation)


b) Opinions of customers, residents obtained through a questionnaire
c) Sales, profit figures acquired through interview
d) Data through observation (number of cars driving past GSIS in the morning)

4) Secondary data is also essential for any extended essay and will support your primary
research. The following information may prove useful:

a) Price, sales and profit information from the company website.


b) Financial information from the companys annual report and accounts.
c) Any relevant information from local and national newspapers.
d) Sales of a particular product acquired through government statistics
e) Data collected by a hotel on its customers through its guest history system

5) It is important to remember that you must decide what data you will need and how you
intend to collect it.
Economic Theory
Important note on Economic Theory: The EE should not include a section of
textbook like theory. Only relevant theory, applied to the question is suitable.
1) You must choose an extended essay topic that allows you to incorporate economic theory.

2) If research question e) from Stage 2 were to be considered then the following economic
theory could be applied.

a) The Demand Function (Determinants of Demand)


b) Cross Elasticity of Demand/Joint Demand
c) Price Elasticity of Demand
d) Income Elasticity of Demand
e) Indirect Taxes

3) You should consider in detail all relevant theory as your essay requires a good theoretical
basis in order to achieve a top grade.

4) A well prepared candidate will also draw some of the diagrams that will be used in the
essay in order to get as much feedback as possible from his/her supervisor.
Assessment Criteria
(taken from IBO EE Guide 2013 + May 2012 examiners report)

Criterion A: Focus and method


General outline: This criterion focuses on the topic, the research question and the methodology. It assesses the
explanation of the focus of the research (this includes the topic and the research question), how the research will
be undertaken, and how the focus is maintained throughout the essay.

Level Descriptor of strands and indicators

0 The work does not reach a standard outlined


by the descriptors below.

12 The topic is communicated unclearly and


incompletely.

Identification and explanation of the topic is


limited; the purpose and focus of the research
is unclear, or does not lend itself to a
systematic investigation in the subject for
which it is registered.

The research question is stated but not clearly expressed


or too broad.

The research question is too broad in scope to


be treated effectively within the word limit
and requirements of the task, or does not
lend itself to a systematic investigation in the
subject for which it is registered.

The intent of the research question is


understood but has not been clearly
expressed and/or the discussion of the essay
is not focused on the research question.

Methodology of the research is limited.

The source(s) and/or method(s) to be used


are limited in range given the topic and
research question.
There is limited evidence that their selection
was informed.

34
The topic is communicated.

Identification and explanation of the research


topic is communicated; the purpose and
focus of the research is adequately clear, but
only partially appropriate.

The research question is clearly stated but only partially


focused.

The research question is clear but the


discussion in the essay is only partially
focused and connected to the research
question.

Methodology of the research is mostly complete.

Source(s) and/or method(s) to be used are


generally relevant and appropriate given the
topic and research question.

There is some evidence that their selection(s)


was informed.

If the topic or research question is deemed inappropriate


for the subject in which the essay is registered no more
than four marks can be awarded for this criterion.

56
The topic is communicated accurately and effectively.

Identification and explanation of the research


topic is effectively communicated; the
purpose and focus of the research is clear
and appropriate.

The research question is clearly stated and focused.

The research question is clear and addresses


an issue of research that is appropriately
connected to the discussion in the essay.

Methodology of the research is complete.

An appropriate range of relevant source(s)


and/or method(s) have been applied in
relation to the topic and research question.

There is evidence of effective and informed


selection of sources and/or methods.

The topic and context of the economics extended


Economics specific details:
essay must be clearly established at the beginning of the essay. This
should include the theoretical area of economics to which the essay
relates with a clear indication as to how the topic fits into this area and
why it is worthy of investigation.
If the topic relates to a specific event, issue or policy, it should date from
within the last five years. It should not concern a future or hypothetical
event.
Students must express their topic in the form of a research question. The
question must be specific, sharply focused and capable of being discussed
effectively with the help of economic theory and within the word limit.
The question should not be double-barrelled, ie made up of more than
one question.
The research question should be genuine, requiring research to find an
answer. That is, the answer to the research question should not be
obvious.
Students must demonstrate that they have selected a suitable range of
appropriate and relevant sources. This includes secondary research into
the case study itself and relevant economic theory, including current or
recent academic analysis in the area.
Students can choose to undertake primary research, such as interviews
with relevant people with pertinent knowledge and background, or
surveys and questionnaires. Surveys and questionnaires must be carefully
planned and only elicit information that is relevant to the research
question. The results must be based on an appropriate range of
respondents and be statistically significant. Primary research is not a
requirement.
In the early part of the essay, there should be an explicit methodology
outlining the steps of the research and the nature of the data collection.

Five-year rule

If the topic relates to a specific event, issue or policy, it should date from
within the past five years. It should not concern a future or hypothetical
event.
If the topic or research question is deemed inappropriate for the subject in
which the essay is registered, no more than four marks can be awarded
for this criterion. This applies to economics essays that breach the 5-year
rule.
Note from examiners: Successful candidates chose research questions that were
sufficiently narrow and based on a topic for which there was sufficient information
available.

Unsuitable approaches included:

essays on a historical topic; there is no hard and fast rule on this, but students should confine
their topics to something that has taken place in the recent past.

essays on a future event; these are problematic as the conclusions are largely hypothetical or
speculative.

essays on the performance of the whole economy; the global financial crisis has generated a
flurry of research questions, including ones on the whole of individual economies. These are
rarely successful. They tend to be descriptive, lacking in analysis, and summaries of
secondary sources.

essays on the effect of a major event, without specifying what it is that is being examined, i.e.
the effect on what.

Candidates should be encouraged to find things that have actually happened or to look at actual
changes in economic policy and analyse these changes using economic theory.

Economics specific details on research: The range of resources available will be influenced by various
factors, but above all by the topic. At the very least, there should be some evidence that appropriate economic
sources have been consulted.

Wherever possible, primary sources should be used, with secondary sources as evidential support. Statistical
data collected from books or the internet (for example, from national statistical agencies, the IMF, the ILO, the
World Bank, the WTO) may be very valuable and can be effectively used to answer the question.

If surveys are carried out, the questions must reflect appropriate and sensible economic analysis. For example,
any conclusions about the elasticity of demand for a good would be highly suspect if a survey asked about the
hypothetical change in a quantity demanded based on a hypothetical change in price. Good planning may be
demonstrated by the use of appropriate information to support a well-structured argument. The essay should not
include theory or information that is not used to answer the research question directly. For example, it would not
be appropriate to include large sections of textbook economic theory without showing how and why the theory
can be applied to the particular research question.

Note from examiners: It is worth noting that primary research is not compulsory. It would appear that
some centres feel that it is obligatory for candidates to carry out surveys and questionnaires. This is
not the case. Frequently, essays that are based on such surveys are mainly descriptive; candidates
do their surveys, and simply describe their results without meaningfully applying any theory.
Alternatively, candidates make nave conclusions based on surveys with too small a sample, or too
homogeneous a sample. For example, conclusions based on a survey of the students friends, or
parents friends would be too narrow unless the research question specifically referred to that
particular demographic.

Candidates sometimes frame their survey questions using economic terminology. Any conclusions
based on the opinions of people who have no knowledge of economics are likely to be far-fetched.
For example, Do you think that the market is in oligopoly? or What are the biggest externalities of
the road construction? are poor questions to ask people who have no knowledge of economics.

Students continue to inappropriately generate conclusions about elasticity based on data that they
have gathered through surveys. Where surveys ask questions such as How much would you buy if
the price increased by 10%, 20%, 30%? produce hypothetical and unreliable conclusions. Elasticity
theory should only be used if prices actually do change.
Where students have conducted surveys, they often provide descriptions/analysis of all of the
questions, where only a few generated information that was relevant to the research question.

In cases where primary research is not obvious, students should be encouraged to contact (email is
the easiest way to start) an economist, an economics professor, a journalist or a government official
for information.

Sadly, it is still common to read essays where no economic textbook or only one basic textbook has
been used. Such essays tend to be less successful. Given that the extended essay is a research task,
one would expect candidates to consult a wider range of economics literature than one basic
textbook.

Effective planning may be illustrated by a good structure to the essay. Weaker essays tend not to be
broken into sub-sections.
Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding
General outline: This
criterion assesses the extent to which the research relates to
the subject area/discipline used to explore the research question, or in the case
of the world studies extended essay, the issue addressed and the two
disciplinary perspectives applied, and additionally the way in which this
knowledge and understanding is demonstrated through the use of appropriate
terminology and concepts.

Level Descriptor of strands and indicators

0 The work does not reach a standard outlined by the


descriptors below.

Knowledge and understanding is limited.


12
The selection of source material has limited relevance
and is only partially appropriate to the research
question.

Knowledge of the topic/discipline(s)/issue is anecdotal,


unstructured and mostly descriptive with sources not
effectively being used.

Use of terminology and concepts is unclear and limited.

Subject-specific terminology and/or concepts are either


missing or inaccurate, demonstrating limited knowledge
and understanding.

34 Knowledge and understanding is good.

The selection of source material is mostly relevant and


appropriate to the research question.

Knowledge of the topic/discipline(s)/issue is clear; there


is an understanding of the sources used but their
application is only partially effective.

Use of terminology and concepts is adequate.

The use of subject-specific terminology and concepts is


mostly accurate, demonstrating an appropriate level of
knowledge and understanding.
If the topic or research question is deemed inappropriate
for the subject in which the essay is registered no more than
four marks can be awarded for this criterion.

56 Knowledge and understanding is excellent.

The selection of source materials is clearly relevant and


appropriate to the research question.

Knowledge of the topic/discipline(s)/issue is clear and


coherent and sources are used effectively and with
understanding.

Use of terminology and concepts is good.

The use of subject-specific terminology and concepts is


accurate and consistent, demonstrating effective
knowledge and understanding.

Economics Specific Details: The essay must demonstrate an effective


understanding of relevant economic theory and the way that this theory
and the data gathered may be used to address the research question. All
data and theory used in the essay should be clearly relevant and
appropriate to the research question.
Students need to demonstrate a sound understanding of economic theory
through appropriate and accurate application of relevant models. As much
as possible, the application of the models should be based on specific
real-world information acquired about the topic.
Knowledge and understanding may be effectively shown through
appropriate use of economic terminology. Definitions should not be
included as footnotes.
Knowledge and understanding may also be effectively shown through
accurately drawn and labelled diagrams along with appropriate
explanations. Students should not use generic diagrams from secondary
sources. They must place the diagrams into the context of the essay by
using relevant labels and numbers.
To illustrate that there is knowledge and understanding in context,
background theory and terminology should be integrated at all times with
the relevant research, and not presented as a separate section. Diagrams
should only be included if they are supported by the evidence that makes
them relevant.
If the topic or research question is deemed inappropriate for the subject in
which the essay is registered, no more than four marks can be awarded
for this criterion. This applies to economics essays that breach the 5-year
rule.
Examiners comments on terminology: Economic terms were appropriately used
and defined by the good candidates; weaker candidates tended to define terms loosely or not at all.
There is obviously a clear overlap between this criterion and criterion D (Knowledge and
understanding). If students do effective research and become an expert in their topic, then they are
more likely to communicate their argument accurately and convincingly.

The biggest lapses in terminology continue to occur in the use of elasticity language where candidates
continue to use expressions such as cigarettes are inelastic , rather than demand for cigarettes is
inelastic or a small change in price leads to a big change in quantity demanded rather than a
given change in price leads to a proportionately larger change in quantity demanded . Another
common error which should be avoided involves confusing demand and quantity demanded .

Criterion C: Critical Thinking


General outline: This
criterion assesses the extent to which critical-thinking skills
have been used to analyse and evaluate the research undertaken.

Level Descriptor of strands and indicators

0 The work does not reach a standard outlined by the


descriptors below.

The research is limited.


13
The research presented is limited and its application is
not clearly relevant to the RQ.

Analysis is limited.

There is limited analysis.

Where there are conclusions to individual points of


analysis these are limited and not consistent with the
evidence.

Discussion/evaluation is limited.

An argument is outlined but this is limited, incomplete,


descriptive or narrative in nature.

The construction of an argument is unclear and/or


incoherent in structure hindering understanding.

Where there is a final conclusion, it is limited and not


consistent with the arguments/evidence presented.

There is an attempt to evaluate the research, but this is


superficial.

If the topic or research question is deemed inappropriate


for the subject in which the essay is registered no more than
three marks can be awarded for this criterion.

46 The research is adequate.

Some research presented is appropriate and its


application is partially relevant to the Research
question.

Analysis is adequate.

There is analysis but this is only partially relevant to


the research question; the inclusion of irrelevant
research detracts from the quality of the argument.

Any conclusions to individual points of analysis are


only partially supported by the evidence.

Discussion/evaluation is adequate.

An argument explains the research but the reasoning


contains inconsistencies.

The argument may lack clarity and coherence but this


does not significantly hinder understanding.

Where there is a final or summative conclusion, this is


only partially consistent with the arguments/evidence
presented.

The research has been evaluated but not critically.

79 The research is good.

The majority of the research is appropriate and its


application is clearly relevant to the research question.

Analysis is good.
The research is analysed in a way that is clearly relevant
to the research question; the inclusion of less relevant
research rarely detracts from the quality of the overall
analysis.

Conclusions to individual points of analysis are


supported by the evidence but there are some minor
inconsistencies.

Discussion/evaluation is good.

An effective reasoned argument is developed from the


research, with a conclusion supported by the evidence
presented.

This reasoned argument is clearly structured and


coherent and supported by a final or summative
conclusion; minor inconsistencies may hinder the
strength of the overall argument.

The research has been evaluated, and this is partially


critical.

1012 The research is excellent.

The research is appropriate to the research question and


its application is consistently relevant.

Analysis is excellent.

The research is analysed effectively and clearly focused


on the research question; the inclusion of less relevant
research does not significantly detract from the quality
of the overall analysis.

Conclusions to individual points of analysis are


effectively supported by the evidence.

Discussion/evaluation is excellent.

An effective and focused reasoned argument is


developed from the research with a conclusion
reflective of the evidence presented.

This reasoned argument is well structured and coherent;


any minor inconsistencies do not hinder the strength of
the overall argument or the final or summative
conclusion.

The research has been critically evaluated.

Economics Specific Details:


Research refers to both research into relevant economic theory and
information collected about the topic. The research used must be
consistently relevant to the research question. The inclusion of material
that is not clearly relevant to the research question will detract from the
analysis and limit the ability of the student to score well against this
criterion.
The student is expected to construct the discussion by weaving together
economic theory and real-world evidence to present a well-supported
answer to the research question. The points contained in the analysis
must at all times be supported by specific, relevant material chosen from
the students research. A clear and logical argument may be made by
regular reference to the research question. Essays that are largely
descriptive in nature do not show evidence of analytical skills and will not
do well against this criterion.
All data in the form of diagrams, charts, tables, images and graphs must
be analysed within the essay, as close as possible to the data itself. No
data should be included if it is not being used to answer the research
question, and no analysis should be left up to the reader.
When formulating their argument, students must demonstrate an
awareness and understanding of the limitations of their own research and
the limitations of the economic theory they have used. They should
critically assess the extent to which economic theory may or may not
explain the realities present in their case study. Such evaluation should
not be contained in a separate section of the essay or solely in the
conclusion but should be integrated into the text where it can effectively
support the analysis.
Conclusions must be stated and be consistent with the evidence and
analysis presented in the essay. Students may draw conclusions
throughout the essay in response to the arguments presented. There must
be a summative conclusion of the students response to the research
question. Questions that have arisen as a result of the research may be
included at the end as evidence of critical awareness.

Five-year rule
Failure to follow the five-year rule will limit the grade in this criterion to a
maximum of 6.
If the topic or research question is deemed inappropriate for the subject in
which the essay is registered, no more than three marks can be awarded
for this criterion. This applies to economics essays that breach the 5-year
rule.
Examiners comments on knowledge and understanding: Successful essays demonstrate
that the candidates have thoroughly investigated their topic and meaningfully integrated
relevant economic theory.

In weaker essays, there was either not enough economic theory to support the argument, or careless
mistakes were made in the use of economic theory, with inaccurate diagrams and/or terminology.

Too many candidates are including economic concepts that may be related to the main economic
theory, but that are not pertinent to their particular question. Students should not include any theory
that isnt relevant to their particular question and that is not supported by their research findings. The
most commonly mis-used theory is the kinked demand curve theory. All too often, students who do a
market structure essay will stick this theory in when there is absolutely no evidence that it is
applicable. The inclusion of such theory reveals a lack of knowledge and understanding.

Examiners comments on reasoned argument: If candidates asked an appropriate research question


and carried out meaningful research, then they were usually able to develop a reasoned argument.

Good essays stayed on track, breaking the argument into sections and consistently referring back to
the research question.

Weaker essays included large sections of information that were not used to actually address the
research question. It is not appropriate to include sections of discrete economic theory that are not
integrated with the information from the case study.

Examiners comments on evaluation: It is a pleasure to read so many excellent essays with a high
level of analytical and evaluative skills. This was most likely to be evident in essays where a good
research question was asked, and appropriate research carried out.

To substantiate an earlier point, if students carried out superficial research that did not lend itself to
economic analysis, it was very difficult for them to score highly on this criterion since both analytical
and evaluative skills were lacking. Students often seemed unaware of the assumptions inherent in the
economic models that they were using, missing an opportunity to carry out some meaningful analysis.

Where candidates indiscriminately included economic theory that was not directly related to their
research question, they showed a lack of appropriate analysis. There continue to be too many
instances where students identify relevant economic theory and include it in the essay, but they do not
apply it in the context of their own research question.
Weaker essays contained graphs, tables or charts that included much information that was not
analysed. Candidates would refer to the data, but leave the examiner to carry out the analysis, rather
than use the information in the data to support the argument. No graph, chart, diagram or table should
ever appear without a reference to it in the text with some analysis of its economic significance.

It is unfortunate when students do not make their diagrams appropriate to the actual markets they are
examining. Generic labels such as price and quantity should be turned into appropriate labels for
the market, such as price of haircuts ( per cut) and quantity of haircuts (100s per week). It is also
important that actual numbers be gathered, wherever possible. When surveys/questionnaires have
been done, then the essay must include an explanation of this research (how many respondents?
Where? When? etc) along with a summary of the relevant results. However, there is no need to
provide a pie chart to show the answers to every single question if they are not relevant to the
research question.
Criterion D: Presentation
General outline: This criterion assesses the extent to which the presentation follows the standard format
expected for academic writing and the extent to which this aids effective communication.

Level Descriptor of strands and indicators

The work does not reach a standard


0
outlined by the descriptors below.

12 Presentation is acceptable.

The structure of the essay is


generally appropriate in terms of the
expected conventions for the topic,
argument and subject in which the
essay is registered.

Some layout considerations may be


missing or applied incorrectly.

Weaknesses in the structure and/or


layout do not significantly impact
the reading, understanding or
evaluation of the extended essay.

34 Presentation is good.

The structure of the essay clearly is


appropriate in terms of the expected
conventions for the topic, the
argument and subject in which the
essay is registered.

Layout considerations are present


and applied correctly.

The structure and layout support the


reading, understanding and
evaluation of the extended essay.

Economics Specific Details: This criterion relates to the extent to which the essay
conforms to accepted academic standards in relation to how research papers
should be presented. It also relates to how well these elements support the
reading, understanding and evaluation of the essay.
Students may provide a section and subsection structure to their essays,
with appropriate informative headings. Subheadings should not distract
from the overall structure of the essay or argument presented.
Any graphs, charts, images or tables from literature sources included in
essays must be carefully selected and labelled. They should only be used
if they are directly relevant to the research question, contribute towards
the understanding of the argument and are of a good graphic quality.
Large tables of raw data collected by the student are best included in an
appendix, where they should be carefully labelled. Too many graphs,
charts and tables distract from the overall quality of the communication.
Only processed data that is central to the argument of the essay should
be included in the body of the essay, as close as possible to its first
reference.
Any tables should enhance a written explanation and should not
themselves include significant bodies of text; if this is the case then these
words must be included in the word count. Students must take care in
their use of appendices as examiners are not required to read them. All
information with direct relevance to the analysis, discussion and
evaluation of the essay must be contained in the main body of the essay.
Any material that is not original must be carefully acknowledged, with
specific attention paid to the acknowledgment and referencing of quotes
and ideas. This acknowledgment and referencing is applicable to
audiovisual material, text, graphs and data published in print and
electronic sources. If the referencing does not meet the minimum
standard as indicated in the guide (name of author, date of publication,
title of source and page numbers as applicable), and is not consistently
applied, work will be considered as a case of possible academic
misconduct.
A bibliography is essential and has to be presented in a standard format.
Title page, table of contents, page numbers, etc must contribute to the
quality of presentation.
The essay must not exceed 4,000 words of narrative. Graphs, figures,
calculations, diagrams, formulas and equations are not included in the
word count. Students should be aware that examiners will not read
beyond the 4,000-word limit, nor assess any material presented
thereafter.
Note from examiners on introduction: The descriptors for this criterion are very specific, and it is
disappointing that candidates do not get full marks for their introductions. Good essays clearly link the
research topic to economic theory, and outline the context of the research question. Weaker essays
have introductions that are rambling and too personal. In the weaker essays, there is little indication of
the economic theory that is to be used and the candidates fail to convince the reader that the topic is
significant or worthy of investigation
Note from examiners on conclusions: Almost all students presented a conclusion and it helps
when this is laid out separately under a heading. The best conclusions summarised the main points of
the essay, providing a final succinct answer to the research question. The conclusion is also an
important place to present a final evaluation of the work done, and to recognise limitations. However,
there does not need to be a separate section titled Evaluation and Limitations .
Students commonly add new information in their conclusions, or begin a new line of argument. This is
not appropriate.

Note from examiners on formal presentation: The full range of marks was awarded here to a large
number of candidates who had clearly paid close attention to the requirements of a formal essay.

The largest weaknesses were in inadequately sourcing the information that had been gathered or in
poorly presenting the sources used in the bibliography. This is particularly the case with the citing of
Internet-based resources where candidates often cited only the website, leaving out important
information such as the full address of the article, the title of the information, the author (where known)
and the last date accessed.
It is evident that some students are simply not familiar with any formal procedures for using
references and presenting a bibliography. The IB does not advocate the use of any particular system
over another, but it is necessary for students to adopt one consistent style, and be aware of the need
to provide full bibliographic information for all sources.
A common weakness was to include items in the bibliography that had not been cited in the body of
the essay. The bibliography is only to include any source that was referenced at some point in the
essay. Other weaknesses, though less common, were poor presentation of diagrams and/or the
absence of any of the required elements (e.g. table of contents, page numbers).
Criterion E: Engagement
General outline: This criterion assesses the extent to which the essay uses the material collected to present
ideas in a logical and coherent manner, and develops a reasoned argument in relation to the research question.
Where the research question does not lend itself to a systematic investigation in the subject in which the essay is
registered, the maximum level that can be awarded for this criterion is 2.

Level Descriptor of strands and indicators

0 The work does not reach a standard


outlined by the descriptors or a RPPF has
not been submitted.

Engagement is limited.
12
Reflections on decision-making and
planning are mostly descriptive.

These reflections communicate a


limited degree of personal
engagement with the research focus
and/or research process.

34 Engagement is good.

Reflections on decision-making and


planning are analytical and include
reference to conceptual
understanding and skill
development.

These reflections communicate a


moderate degree of personal
engagement with the research focus
and process of research,
demonstrating some intellectual
initiative.

56 Engagement is excellent.

Reflections on decision-making and


planning are evaluative and include
reference to the students capacity to
consider actions and ideas in
response to challenges experienced
in the research process.

These reflections communicate a


high degree of intellectual and
personal engagement with the
research focus and process of
research, demonstrating authenticity,
intellectual initiative and/or creative
approach in the student voice.

Economics Specific Details:


This criterion assesses the students engagement with their research
focus and the research process. It will be applied by the examiner at the
end of the assessment of the essay, and is based solely on the
candidates reflections as detailed on the RPPF, with the supervisory
comments and extended essay itself as context.
Students are expected to provide reflections on the decision-making and
planning process undertaken in completing the essay. Students must
demonstrate how they arrived at a topic as well as the methods and
approach used. This criterion assesses the extent to which a student has
evidenced the rationale for decisions made throughout the planning
process and the skills and understandings developed.
For example, students may reflect on:

the approach and strategies chosen, and their relative success

the Approaches to learning skills they have acquired and how they
have developed as a learner

how their conceptual understandings have developed or changed as


a result of their research

challenges faced in their research and how they overcame these

questions that emerged as a result of their research

what they would do differently if they were to undertake the


research again.

Effective reflection highlights the journey the student has engaged in


through the EE process. In order to demonstrate that engagement,
students must show evidence of critical and reflective thinking that goes
beyond simply describing the procedures that have been followed.
Reflections must provide the examiner with an insight into student
thinking, creativity and originality within the research process. The
student voice must be clearly present and demonstrate the learning that
has taken place.
EE Point
Ranges
A = 29 -
36
B = 23 -
28
C = 16 -
22
Formatting Check-list

Text is in Ariel font, size 12

Lines are double spaced

All pages are numbered

Title page has the title/question clearly presented on the page

Title page has the word count clearly presented on the page

Essay does not exceed 4,000 words (word count includes the introduction, the main body of the
essay and the conclusion - nothing else)

The abstract has a clear heading, and states

1) the research question (in bold)


2) how the investigation was undertaken
3) The conclusions of the essay

An abstract word count is stated (must not exceed 300 words)

Contents page has a clear heading, and refers to specific page numbers

Introduction has a clear heading, includes the research question (in bold) and explains the
context and significance of the topic

The main body of the essay has clear sub-headings

In-text citations are presented in an accepted and consistent format

Illustrative material is appropriately cited

Conclusion has a clear heading, specifically addresses the research question and is consistent
with the evidence presented in main body of the essay

Bibliography includes all full references in alphabetical order (for every full reference in the
bibliography there must be a corresponding in-text citation)

If necessary, appendices have been included at the very end of the essay, and this section has
been given a clear heading

File size must not exceed 10 MB


Reflections on Planning and Progress

You will need to complete three formal reflections on discussions with your
supervisor;
Reflection 1 the first formal reflection session should focus on your initial ideas
and how you plan to undertake your research
This initial reflection session should be a dialogue between the student and the
supervisor based on the students initial explorations. It is recommended that the
student sends their supervisor an outline of their research proposal ahead of the
meeting in order to give the supervisor the opportunity to review their work. This will
ensure that the reflection session is focused and productive.
Topics of discussion that should arise during this session include:

a review of the requirements and assessment criteria for the subject

a review of ethical and legal implications, if applicable

a dialogue about possible approaches and any potential problems that might
arise

a discussion of strategies for developing the students ideas for the essay and
expanding the research so that the essay starts to take form

probing and challenging questions that will help the student focus their
thinking; this should lead to the development of the students working
research question

an outline of the next steps that the student should undertake in order to
refine their question; this should take the form of a research and writing
timeline.

Reflection 2 - the interim reflection session should be undertaken once a significant


amount of your research has been completed

This session is a continuation of the dialogue between supervisor and student


in which the student must demonstrate the progress they have made in their
research. They must also be able to discuss any challenges they have
encountered, offer their own potential solutions and seek advice as necessary.

During this session the supervisor might discuss:


a completed piece of sustained writing from the student in order to ensure that
they understand the academic writing requirements, including referencing
formats

whether an appropriate range of sources has been accessed and how the
student is critically evaluating the origin of those sources

what the student now has to do in order to produce the full draft of their essay,
and ways and means of breaking down the task into manageable steps.

By the end of the interim reflection session both student and supervisor
should feel satisfied that there is:

a clear and refined research question

a viable argument on which to base the essay

a sufficient range of appropriate sources

a clear vision for the final steps in the writing process.

Between the interim session and the completion of the extended essay,
students should continue to see their supervisor as appropriate to their needs,
although the third and final reflection session should not take place until after
the extended essay has been completed and uploaded for submission.

Reflection 3 - the final session will be in the form of a viva voce once you have
completed and handed in your EE.

The viva voce is a short interview between the student and the supervisor,
and is the mandatory conclusion to the extended essay process. Students
who do not attend the viva voce will be disadvantaged under criterion E
(engagement) as the Reflections on planning and progress form will be
incomplete.

The viva voce is conducted once the student has uploaded the final version of
their extended essay to the IB for assessment. At this point in the process no
further changes can be made to the essay. The viva voce is a celebration of
the completion of the essay and a reflection on what the student has learned
from the process.

The viva voce is:

an opportunity to ask the student a variety of open-ended questions to elicit


holistic evidence of the students learning experience.
an opportunity for the supervisor to confirm the authenticity of the students
ideas and sources

an opportunity to reflect on successes and difficulties encountered in the


research process

an aid to the supervisors comments on the Reflections on planning and


progress form.

The viva voce should last 2030 minutes. This is included in the
recommended amount of time a supervisor should spend with the student.

In conducting the viva voce and writing their comments on the Reflections on
planning and progress form, supervisors should bear in mind the following.

The form is an assessed part of the extended essay. The form must include:
comments made by the supervisor that are reflective of the discussions
undertaken with the student during their supervision/reflection sessions; the
students comments; and the supervisors overall impression of the students
engagement with the research process.

An incomplete form resulting from supervisors not holding reflection sessions,


or students not attending them, could lead to criterion E (engagement) being
compromised.

In assessing criterion E (engagement), examiners will take into account any


information given on the form about unusual intellectual inventiveness. This is
especially the case if the student is able to demonstrate what has been
learned as a result of this process or the skills developed.

Examiners want to know that students understand any material (which must
be properly referenced) that they have included in their essays. If the way the
material is used in context in the essay does not clearly establish this, the
supervisor can check the students understanding in the viva voce and
comment on this on the Reflections on planning and progress form.

If there appear to be major shortcomings in citations or referencing, the


supervisor should investigate thoroughly. No essay should be authenticated if
the supervisor believes the student may be guilty of plagiarism or some other
form of academic misconduct.

The comment made by the supervisor should not attempt to do the examiners
job. It should refer to things, largely process-related, that may not be obvious
in the essay itself.

Unless there are particular problems, the viva voce should begin and end
positively. Completion of a major piece of work such as the extended essay is
a great achievement for students.
The reflections will all be recorded in ManageBac. You need to go to your EE
worksheet, and click on the tab Planning and Progress Form