Chemistry Extended Essay: Definition, Criteria, And Topics  

October 30, 2023

chemistry extended essay

This is the complete guide on IB Chemistry extended essay.

Whether you’re currently considering a subject to write your EE on or you’ve already made up your mind that you’ll write an extended essay on Chemistry, you’ll find this post useful.

What’s a Chemistry Extended Essay?

An extended essay in Chemistry offers you the chance to study a specific area of the environment’s components.

Within a more broad set of research standards, these lengthy, 4,000-word essays must highlight a particular aspect in the Chemistry subject.

The result of the study should be a logical and organized piece of writing that effectively tackles a certain subject or research question and reaches a specific, and ideally personal, conclusion.

What’s the Assessment Criteria for Chemistry EE?

The following is the assessment criteria used for Chemistry extended essay:

Criterion A: Research Question  

The research question of your Chemistry extended essay must be distinct and narrowly focused, relevant to the field of study, and centered specifically on the subject.

Criterion B: Introduction

The objective of the introduction is to contextualize the research topic. Present an underlying chemical theory required to comprehend how the research issue arose.

Criterion C: Investigation

For non-experimental essays, explain how you chose the data. Differentiate between primary sources and demonstrate an understanding of the reliability of each.  

For experimental tasks, provide sufficient information to allow independent researchers to replicate the experiment if necessary.

You should make it clear which experiments you have devised from scratch and which ones you have modified from existing methodologies.

Criterion D: Knowledge of the Topic

You must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the chemistry behind the setting of your research issue and subsequent study.

You don’t have to explain the fundamental chemistry covered in the chemistry course, but you should demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of the necessary concepts and can appropriately apply them.

Criterion E: Reasoned Argument

You should be aware of the necessity to provide a developing argument in the body of your writings.

Consideration and comparison of diverse methodologies and methods directly pertinent to the research issue will almost likely be a component of a convincing argument in chemistry.

Criterion F: Application Analysis & Skill Evaluation

Demonstrate a comprehensive comprehension of the dependability of the facts utilized to support the case. Identify inadequate experimental design or systemic flaws and mention the extent of physical data uncertainty.

Models should allow for approximations, and there should be a proper scrutinizing of all assumptions. Wherever feasible, use secondary sources or direct computations to verify the quality of sources accessed or data provided.

Criterion G: Language Choice

Use the correct chemistry language and nomenclature consistently and efficiently throughout the essay.

Criterion H: Conclusion

The conclusion must be consistent with the stated argument and should not just repeat information from the introduction or include new or irrelevant arguments.

Criterion I: Formal Presentation

Stick to the structure (or format) recommended for the Chemistry Extended Essay.

Criterion J: Abstract

The abstract is evaluated based on the clarity with which it provides a summary of the study and essay, not on the quality of the research question, argument, or conclusions.

Criterion K: Holistic Judgement

Make sure you attend all the extended essay reflections and have your supervisor comment on your EE.

How to Choose IB Chemistry EE Topics

Chemistry is the study of the composition, classification, and change of substances. Therefore, an extended essay in chemistry should include chemical principles and theory, and it should underline the core character of chemistry, which is the study of matter and its transformations.

1. Pick a Topic Specific to Chemistry

Although the same evaluation criteria apply to all extended essays, it is essential that the emphasis of the extended essay in this subject be on chemistry and not on another subject. In other words, the topic you choose for a chemistry extended essay must provide a chemistry-based approach treated from a chemical standpoint.

2. Your Topic Should Be Very Specific

The topic’s breadth and accompanying research should allow for the consideration of all criteria.

An excellent subject is one that focuses on a single research question and adequately addresses the issue within the 4,000-word limit. 

Perhaps the most crucial component is your ability to provide an in-depth analysis of the issue.

Broad or complex topics will not allow you to discuss opposing ideas and theories or produce an in-depth personal analysis within the word limit.

3. Avoid Topics Linked to Health and Safety Concerns

Some topics may not be acceptable for examination due to safety concerns. For example, you should avoid experiments that involves the use of poisonous or hazardous chemicals, carcinogenic compounds, or radioactive materials unless suitable safety equipment and competent supervision are available.

Other topics may not be appropriate since there’s already a documentation of the outcome. Such topics don’t leave room for personal involvement.

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How Should You Treat Your Chemistry Extended Essay Topic?

You can base your Chemistry extended essay on literature, theoretical models, or empirical evidence.

Regardless of the category or combination of categories you choose, you must verify that adequate data is available for review and you can explore the issue by utilizing locally accessible resources.

If you choose to write an extensive essay based on literature or surveys, you must ensure the essay’s chemical foundation is evident.

Since chemistry is an experimental discipline, you are highly encouraged, but not required, to do experiments as part of their studies. Before beginning experimental work, you should conduct background study on the topic to conduct your research within the right framework.

If you include experiments in your work, you’ll need to go a step further to provide a clear and succinct description of the experiment. You should explicitly specify whether you devised the experiment yourself, or provide the source of an existing experiment technique you utilized and explain how you changed and enhanced it.

Examples of the Best Chemistry Extended Essay Topics

The following are examples of some of the best Chemistry extended essay topics for inspiration and direction:

  1. What effect does acid rain have on the trees, plants, and public gardens in your neighborhood?
  2. Analyze the chemical composition of various types of lava and magma rocks from across the world.
  3. Examine the short- and long-term consequences of vitamin deficiency in people.
  4. What kinds of chemical components are responsible for the majority of food allergies?
  5. Discuss the chemical changes that occur in aging human bodies.
  6. What effect do pesticides have on soil runoff and what do the facts say should be done?
  7. Examine the chemistry of MDMA and other “nightclub” or designer drugs in users of various ages.
  8. Analyze the impact of radon and explain why it poses such a threat to human health.
  9. Examine how chemical experiments and the knowledge gained from them have altered the globe.
  10. How has the usage of fluoride in the community’s water supply benefited and harmed the community?
  11. Discuss the chemistry involved when sugar is used as a battery source.
  12. Can you explain the rationale behind capturing and using carbon dioxide?
  13. What chemical difference does choosing organic foods vs pesticide-treated foods have on our bodies?
  14. Analyze the chemical changes that occur when various culinary materials are used to prepare various dishes.
  15. Analyze the substances involved in the occurrence of various food allergies.
  16. Discuss the distinctions between the various types of milk and explain it compares to the milk of other animals.
  17. What impact have big cosmetics manufacturers made on our contemporary understanding of chemistry?
  18. What type of chemistry is involved in making generic medications cheaper than brand-name pharmaceuticals?
  19. Examine the chemical components of diet drinks and their impact on the human body.

Chemistry EE Checklist

Your Chemistry extended essay is no doubt going to be a challenging assignment, but you can score a 34 nonetheless if you understand and give what your IB teacher is looking for.

The table below is a summary of a checklist you can use to score top marks for the assignment:

  Criterion Best Practices
1Research questionMake it focused around a small number of variables. Also, make sure the topic allows you to formulate hypothesis and allows you to provide specific information in great depth.
2AbstractMust include the research question, scope of the essay, and a relevant conclusion
3Table of contentIt should be accurate
4IntroductionStates the research question, explains the significance of your topic, and shows why the topic is worth investigation.
5InvestigationMake your argument convincing and interpretations based on scientific data. Explain data selection process and its reliability if collected from written sources.
6Reasoned argument Show that you compared different approaches relevant to your Chemistry EE’s research question.
7References Make sure you reference your sources correctly
8ConclusionBase your conclusion on data, information, and evidence.
9AppendixInclude data table of raw data, and disregards data you’ve already processed
10BibliographyHave at least ten reputable sources arranged in an alphabetical order
11Formal presentationStick to the structure (or format) recommended for the Chemistry Extended Essay
12Holistic judgementMake sure you attend all the extended essay reflections and have your supervisor comment on your EE.

If you observe all the points on the checklist above, there’s no reason why you should fail your Chemistry extended essay assignment.

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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