How Many Sources Do You Need for Extended Essay? (Answered)

May 19, 2023

how many sources do you need for extended essay

The first step to writing an Extended Essay is to go through the requirements to understand exactly what your teacher would like to see. If you follow the instructions provided, you can walk home with confidence knowing that you will score a 34 for the paper. But how many sources do you need for the Extended Essay?

IB doesn’t state how many sources you need for an Extended Essay. However, you should not have too few source, as that could trigger a negative review, or too many, as your research might come across as rather superficial. You should find an appropriate balance in between instead.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to choose only the best sources for the project. The right sources not only provide a solid foundation for your research process, but it also helps to support your arguments.

Key Takeaways

  • Your EE must have multiple sources to show that you invested time to research your topic and develop your report.
  • IB doesn’t state how many sources should go into the EE, but it’s important that you include just enough sources to justify and authenticate your research.
  • Remember, your project must not be more than 4,000 words long. So the number of sources should be sufficient to justify the work covered within this scope.

If you already have a topic to focus on but you don’t have enough time to write the assignment, you can hire an Extended Essay writer to help you get the work done. We focus on custom writing and follow the standards set by IB, making us the best platform to hire if you need help with your EE.

How Many Sources Do I Need for an Extended Essay?

Determining the appropriate number of sources for an IB Extended Essay is not as straightforward.

First, you must strike a balance between using too few sources, which could limit the depth and scope of your research, and using too many sources, which could result in superficial analysis.

Second, the number of sources that you should use will vary depending on your subject area, research question, and the breadth of your investigation.

For instance, if you’ve chosen to write an Extended Essay in History, you may need to rely heavily on primary sources such as original documents and first-hand accounts. This may necessitate using many of sources to demonstrate that you’ve invested time in research to provide a comprehensive analysis of your topic.

On the other hand, an Extended Essay in Physics may require a lesser number of sources since the research will likely concentrate on a specific topic or concept. In such cases, prioritizing peer-reviewed academic articles becomes critical.

Types of Sources to Use for an Extended Essay

You can use primary, secondary, or tertiary sources for your Extended Essay. You may even need a combination of sources for some EEs, so ensure you consult with your supervisor first before you begin your research.

1. Primary Sources

Primary sources refer to original materials that provide direct evidence or firsthand accounts related to your research question. These can include literary works such as novels, plays, poems, films, photographs, or historical documents.

For example, if you were writing an English A Extended Essay, the literary work(s) in question would serve as primary sources that need to be analyzed.

2. Secondary Sources

Secondary sources are scholarly articles, books, and critiques that analyze, interpret, or evaluate primary sources to provide a deeper understanding of your subject matter.

For example, if you are composing a Biology Extended Essay, you will need to consult academic articles and research studies that provide expert analyses and interpretations of the scientific data relevant to your research question.

3. Tertiary Sources

Tertiary sources refer to reference materials such as encyclopedias, textbooks, or bibliographies that can assist you in identifying and locating primary and secondary sources.

While tertiary sources should appear as evidence in your Extended Essay, they can serve as a helpful starting point for your research.

How Many Sources Are Enough for IB Extended Essay? 

While there is no strict upper limit to the number of sources that you can use for an Extended Essay, it is essential to strike a balance between the quantity of references and the depth of analysis. Typically, most IB EE papers require no more than 20-25 sources.

Choose sources that are suitable (or relevant) for your research question. Ensure that you engage critically with the material, rather than merely summarizing the opinions of others.

Keep in mind that the quality of your sources should take precedence over quantity. If anything, you must ensure that you base your research on trustworthy, pertinent, and current information.

If unsure, consult your IB supervisor for guidance on the appropriate number of sources for your Extended Essay.

How to Choose Relevant Sources for IB Extended Essay

Consider the following criteria when choosing sources for your Extended Essay:

1. Relevance

The sources should directly relate to your research question and contribute to your argument.

For example:

If your research question focuses on the impact of climate change on coral reefs, choose sources that specifically address this topic and provide relevant information.

2. Reliability

The sources should come from reputable authors, institutions, or publications, and reflect a high level of credibility and expertise.

Generally, peer-reviewed academic articles and books published by established authors or academic presses are reliable sources.

3. Currency

The sources should be up-to-date, especially in rapidly evolving fields such as science, technology, or current affairs. Ensure that your sources reflect the latest research and developments in your subject area.

Final Thoughts

We’ve seen that IB doesn’t set a minimum or maximum number for the sources to use in an Extended Essay.

You may use 10 to 15 if you believe that will be enough for your work. However, do keep in mind that the quality of the sources is more important than quantity. 

At the end of the day, you need to make sure you provide a balance number of sources, as long as they’re good enough to support a well-written argument.

Also, the sources you choose must be relevant to the topic, reliable, and u p-to-date.

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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