English Extended Essay: The Complete Guide for IB Students

March 13, 2023

english extended essay

Group 1 Extended Essay subjects give IB students the opportunity to conduct independent research into a topic of interest in English, Language, and Literature.

Apart from promoting creativity and intellectual discovery, the subject group helps you to appreciate the value of advanced research and improve your writing skills.

In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about English Extended Essay.

In particular, we will look at the definition of English EE, English EE categories, and some English Extended Essay topics to get you started.

English Extended Essay Categories

Category 1: Language

This category focuses on the analysis of some aspects of English.

Topics such as national language policies of English speaking countries, the influence of technology on English vocabulary, and use of dialects and ascents would fit into this category.

The primary sources of information for this category would be newspapers, interviews, and websites. You secondary sources would be articles and journals.

Category 2: Culture and Society

We divide Culture and Society further into two sub-categories.

In the first sub-category, the focus is on the effect of cultural change on a language in a particular issue on the use or form of the language itself.

In this case, your essay can focus on topic to do with gender, communities, or social groups.

For example:

  • Does language reflect a shift in gender roles in the workplace?
  • To what extend has the rise and use of slang among teenagers affected the English language?

Such are important and interesting questions that your Extended Essay can focus on if you choose to work on this sub-category.

The second sub-category focuses on artefacts. While this sub-category is general in its cultural nature, it must be specific to a country or community that speaks the language.

To research topics in this sub-category, you will have to use cultural artefacts, which can be visual documents (such as architectures and films), written documents (such as newspapers, articles, adverts, and magazines), spoken documents (such as interviews and screenplays), and fashion icons (such as food dishes or brands).

Category 3: Literature

This category of English Extended Essay is based on a specific work of literature wit text written in the English language.

How to Write English Extended Essay

Writing a 4,000-word essay takes time. You have to identify a topic of interest, develop a research question, determine what to base your research on, and find the right information to include in the essay.

In the following section, you’ll learn how to write a comprehensive English Extended Essay using an easy to follow, systematic approach – even if you think your topic of interest in the subject looks complicated.

Step 1: Pick a Topic of Meaningful Interest to You

Explore the topics and themes taught in you English class and pick one that’s not only of interest to you but also one you’d like to know more about.

Generally, the English EE topic you choose should:

  • Be something you’re keen to investigate
  • Allow you to formulate a relevant research question
  • A subject that you can answer in 4,000 words

After identifying your area of interest and the topic that you would like to explore, it should be easy for you to develop a relevant research question to explore.

Step 2: Develop a Research Question

Many IB students fail Extended Essay because they get the research question part completely wrong. Quite too often, they choose narrow or broad topics that they can’t answer in 4,000 words.

You shouldn’t make the same mistake with your English Extended Essay. What you need is a workable research question with a clear focus that you can answer within the word limits of an Extended Essay.

To arrive at more concise topic to explore in your English Extended Essay, it’s best to employ relevant limiting factors to the broad topic.

For example, the theme “how technology and social media impact our lives” is obviously too broad because it doesn’t tell us what part or component of our lives social media affects exactly.

By applying limiting factor to this theme, we can come up with a more focused research question that will be easily to evaluate within the limits of the expected word count.

A question such as “to what extent social media corrupted or contributed or corrupted the English language” would be an interesting and more specific topic to explore in your EE.

Step 3: Choose What to Base Your Research On

The third step to writing an English Extended Essay is to find relevant sources to support your research into the topic you selected in step 1.

Start by determine which English category you wish to base your Extended Essay on. That’s because there are minimum expectations when it comes to primary as well as secondary sourcing.

Step 4: Find More Information for Your Extended Essay

If you’ve ticked all the boxes in step one to three, schedule an appointment with your supervisor for more guidance on how to proceed further with your research project.

English Extended Essay Topics

You shouldn’t worry too much if you feel stuck on choosing the best topic for your English Extended Essay. We’ve put together a list of some topic ideas that cover different areas in literary themes, literature, and the English language.

English Extended Essay Topics for College and University

  • Is the English a language of customs and traditions with no hard and fast rules unlike other languages in the world?
  • How is the American English different from British English, and which one is superior to the other?
  • Has globalization played a role in the development of the English language?

English Extended Essay Topics on English Poetry

  • Was poetry a text of upper classes in English literature in the classical age and in the era of renaissance?
  • Why are there fragmentation and lack of interconnectivity between the stanzas of poems in modern poetry?

English EE Topics on American Literature

  • Do various American novels and other literary texts show how the American dream proves to be a complete failure?
  • Why were slaves against the anti-slavery movement in the United States of America?

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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