Biology Extended Essay: The Complete Guide for IB Students

March 13, 2023

biology extended essay

Biology Extended Essay is an assignment that requires you to explore biological issue relevant to you and your environment.

Your focus should be on a particular biological emphasis within a broader context of scientific investigation. Given that the focus is on a biological system, you’ll have to make an analytical argument as you write the essay.

In this guide, you’ll learn exactly what you need to know about the IB Biology Extended Essay. Our goal with this lesson is to give you the most important information about the subject so that you can get the assignment done right.

What is Biology in an IB Extended Essay?

Biology in IB Extended Essay is the examination of living organisms and their life processes. The assignment integrates biological theories and examines the nature of the subject.

While you can approach a Biology EE from varying viewpoints, the treatment of the material used in your investigation must be 100% biological.

IB Biology Extended Essay Topics

The topic you choose to explore in your IB Biology Extended Essay shouldn’t be too broad or too narrow. Make sure you choose a focused topic that’s easy to investigate and easy to explain.

Your teacher expects you to explain how you arrived at your research question, and the best way to do that is to outline the aspects you wish to consider in the essay.

You may also have to formulate one or more hypothesis based on the research question.

The EE guide on the subject recommends that you choose your topics carefully, making sure you refrain from inappropriate topics such as those that are likely to inflict pain, involve the use of dangerous substances, or linked to safety concern.

You should avoid topics whose outcome are either obvious or already well known and documented in textbooks.

Doing Research for Your IB Biology Extended Essay

You will need to do primary and secondary research for your Biology Extended Essay.

1. Primary Research

For primary research, you can collect data from fieldwork, surveys, biological drawings, and biological observations.

If you’ve picked topic that requires practical work, you may have to conduct multiple, extensive fieldwork or do lab tests. In such a case, you will have to provide a detailed explanation of the experimental research procedures sued.

2. Secondary Research

When it comes to secondary research, you get data or information from literature.

Some students restate the information they collect from secondary sources, but doing so often adds little or no value to a Biology Extended Essay.

Therefore, the right approach is to analyze the data or information in an original way to add a new dimension and value to your research and to the essay at large.

Whether you do primary research, secondary research, or a combination of both, you need to make sure you have access to enough data or information to answer your research question.

How Do You Write an IB Biology Extended Essay?

The first step to writing a comprehensive, 4,000-word essay in Biology EE is to use the right scientific techniques to analyze the data you collect during research.

You then have to present your argument or evaluation based on the analysis you’ve completed.

You can include graphs, tables, and diagrams, and make sure you point out their significance in the essay so they’re easy to understand.

As with any other EE, your Biology essay should have a good structure and demonstrate a logical progression. Feel free to use headings and subheadings in the essay because it imposes a concise structure.

Your evaluation of the research questions should demonstrate that you not only understand the results from your experiments but also can explain their significance in a wider academic context.

Since you aren’t sure about what to expect from biological experiments, you may have to account for anomalies or unexpected results in your investigation.

In such a case, you have to provide explanations for the expected outcome and give an alternative explanation for such findings.

The subject also allows you to propose slight or major changes to the hypothesis presented in the essay, in which case you will have to suggest relevant approaches to testing the new changes.

Evaluation of Your Biology EE

Writing your EE in Biology also requires that you undertake a critical evaluation of the work that you have already done.

The evaluation helps you to identify and explain the limitation of your research by a number of factors including the reliability and validity of statistics, the precision of experimenting equipment and the reliability of sources.

You also need to consider biological limitations of your research. Such limitations are likely to arise from the inability to generalize based on a single form of an organism or problems of control and repeatability when using living organisms in your research.

Biology Internal Assessment vs Biology Extended Essay

It’s important to keep in mind that a Biology Extended Essay is not an extension of the Internal Assessment in the same subject. There are a few differences that set the two assignments apart, and it’s important to know them before you start working on the essay.

IB Biology Extended Essay IB Biology Internal Assessment
The student has to analyze the aspects of Biology not covered in the syllabusThe Internal Assessment focuses on the biology aspects taught in the syllabus
In Biology EE, you have to develop a theoretical framework for the topic you choose to examineInstead of creating a theoretical framework for the topic, you focus on the application of the methods used to solve a problem
A student can use primary sources, secondary sources, or both. This means they can base their research on already existing literatureThis assignment includes data collection an analysis, which a student can’t base purely on literature review
The assignment focuses on the ability of an IB student to evaluate scientific arguments.The assignment assesses the student’s ability to apply scientific methods to solve a biological problem

Get Extended Essay Writing Help

Do you need help with your Extended Essay in Biology? Our team of IB experts is here to help you write the 4,000-word essay, even if it’s on a complex topic. You can click here to learn more.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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