Extended Essay

Ms. Van Winkle's Resource Page for the Extended Essay


What is an English EE?

See this presentation.

See IB's subject-specific guidance for Cat 1, 2, and 3 language and literature extended essays.

See Mrs. Van Winkle's Extended Essay page on the Meridian Website.

How do I get started and develop a research question?

1. Determine which category you want to focus on: Cat 1, 2, or 3 (as detailed in the above presentation)

2. Determine what texts or topic interest you. To do an English EE, you have to have specific texts that you are analyzing. Texts can include non-literary and literary sources. See Text Types.

3. Develop a research question that includes 1) the specific texts you will analyze and 2) what central concept or global issue you are exploring.

What specific texts will I analyze? Does my question include at least one text I will analyze? Comparing and contrasting two texts work well. I think there is more to analyze with two or more texts personally.

Have I connected my question to a global issue or a central concept in Lang and Lit? See this link for the global issues and central concepts.

What are the three categories for an English EE?

Category 1 --Analysis of Works Originally Written in English

  • Studies of one or more literary works originally written in the language in which the essay is presented.

    • Compare and contrasts two works

    • Focus on analysis of one work

    • Please note that students may compare and contrast two books or just analyze one book. They also can analyze a selection of short stories or poems or even plays from one or two authors--it doesn't have to be just books. However, there should be a clear rationale for pairing the texts in order to show what is gained in the comparative study.

Category 2: Analysis of Two books: English vs. one in Works in Translation, French or Spanish

  • Studies of a literary work or works originally written in the language of the essay compared with one or more literary works originally written in another language. (The work originally written in another language may be studied in translation.)

    • English literary text compared to another literary work in Spanish or French

    • English translation of a work compared to its original version in Spanish or French

    • Please note there should be a clear rationale for pairing the texts in order to show what is gained in the comparative study.

Category 3: Analyzes non-literary texts (media)

Studies in language based on one or more texts originally in English.

  • Analysis of how language, culture, and context influence the ways meaning is constructed

  • Compare and contrast different relationships and interactions between texts, audiences, and purposes

Language “texts” can be oral, written, and visual materials present in society

  • single and multiple images with or without text

  • literary written texts and text extracts

  • media texts

    • advertising campaigns, films, radio, and television programmes, and their scripts

  • electronic texts

    • media texts, video-sharing websites, web pages, SMS messages, blogs, wikis, and tweets

  • oral texts

    • readings, speeches, broadcasts and transcripts of recorded conversation

Please note that for category 3 essays that secondary sources outside of primary sources should provide a framework for a critical analysis of how language,culture and context shape meaning.

What types of sources do I need for an English EE?

Language and literature research must include both:

Primary sources: the novels, poems, stories, plays or essays by the author whose work is the focus of the your research

Secondary sources

  • books

  • academic journal articles

  • edited essays in book collections

  • reviews incorporated in the publication that is the focus of the your research

Where do I go for research?

How do I develop a bibliography?

1. Locate and record citations for all sources that are relevant and useful for your topic and texts.

2. Examine and review sources, sifting through any that are not useful, and only include the ones that connect back to your research question. Choose the ones that will provide you a variety of perspectives on your topic.

3. Develop citations for relevant sources using the appropriate style guide: MLA 8 (if you want to use in-text citations) or Chicago (if you want to use footnotes).


What do I need to consider when I am drafting my EE?

  • Be sure you are including either in-text citations (MLA) or footnotes (Chicago) throughout the drafting phase.

    • Chicago Style Guide (footnotes): Easybib.com

    • MLA Style Guide (in-text citations): Purdue

  • Be sure you are including relevant examples that support the assertions you are making in each paragraph.

  • Start creating sub topics and a table of contents as you write based on your outline to organize your paper.

  • Include your Works Cited page at the end of the essay for easy reference when citing your sources through in-text citations (MLA) OR footnotes (Chicago)

How do I effectively integrate my sources into my commentary?

MLA (in-text citations) Use for English.

OWL Purdue MLA

Chicago (footnotes) Use for history or the arts.

OWL Purdue Chicago

APA (in-text citations) Use for science and math.

Owl Purdue APA


Embedding literary quotations into your commentary

How to Integrate Sources into your Paper (Illinois Library)

Integrating Sources for MLA (WIT)

Transition and Verb List

What does an EE look like? Can I see some exemplars?

See exemplars on Ms. Van Winkle's website

Visit this page to see exemplars.

What does the rubric look like?

Ms. Van Winkle's page on the rubric on the library website

Group 1: Language and Literature

Group 2: Language Acquisition

Group 3: Individual and Societies

Group 4: Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Group 5: Math

Group 6: Visual Arts, Theatre

Criterion A:Focus and Method 6 pts

  • How well is the research question sharply focused?

  • Does the introduction clearly state WHY the student has chosen the topic and the significance?

  • How clear is the methodology and approach to analysis of relevant sources applied in relation to the research question?

  • Does the introduction clearly state why the student has chosen the particular research question and what it has to offer to existing knowledge on the topic?

  • Has the student included a critical perspective on a secondary source to support the student's own argument?

Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding 6 pts

  • How clearly relevant and appropriate are the selection of source materials?

  • How clear and coherent is the understanding of the topic?

  • Has the student used subject-specific terminology (related to language and literature) and applied it appropriately to their chosen topic?

  • How clear is the historical context of the work for Cat 1 and 2?

  • For Cat 3, has the introduction focused on how the existing knowledge of that subject is enhanced through this exploration, considering specific cultural contexts?

Criterion C: Critical Thinking 12 pts

  • How well does the student show an ORIGINAL ARGUMENT rather than just adopting the views of critics or just merely including plot summary?

  • How well does the student show a PERSONAL INTERPRETATION?

  • Does the writer give a REASONED ARGUMENT and CRITICALLY EVALUATE the sources?

  • Are there CLEAR CONCLUSIONS as part of the evaluation of the topic?

Criterion D: Presentation 4 pts

  • To what extent has the student used proper formatting of the paper, citations, bibliography, conventions, and organization?

  • Has the student met the range of 3,500-4,000 words? Please note examiners will NOT read beyond 4,000 words.

  • If charts are included (more for Cat 3), are they directly relevant to the research question and properly cited?

  • Please note that failure to acknowledge and reference your sources can result into a case of possible academic misconduct. Proper internal citations (in-text or footnotes) and a bibliography (MLA or Chicago) are essential. All ideas that have been paraphrased, quoted, or summarized need to be cited appropriately.

Criterion E: Engagement 6 pts (Based on student reflection, RPPF in Managebac)

  • To what extent has the student showed engagement on decision making and planning that are evaluative and reference the student’s ability to consider actions and ideas in response to challenges?

  • To what extent did the student show authenticity, intellectual initiative, and a creative approach in the student voice?

Questions to consider for students:

  • What were your challenges through the decision-making and planning process throughout the completion of the essay?

  • What approaches and strategies did you adopt through the research and writing process?

  • What Approaches to Learning skills have you acquired and how have they helped you develop as a learner?

  • How have your conceptual understandings developed or changed as a result of the research?

  • How did you overcome challenges through the research phase?

  • What other questions emerged through the result of your research?

  • What would you have done differently if you were to undertake this research again?

  • Note: To be effective in reflecting, students need to highlight the steps and journey through the process of writing the extended essay. Students need to show evidence of critical and reflective thinking with insight and originality in their narrative voice.


Score is out of 34 points total, (28 points without Criterion E).

A quality: Work of an excellent standard, 27-34 pts (22-28 without Criterion E)

B quality: Work of a good standard, 22-26 pts (18-21 without Criterion E)

C quality: Work of a satisfactory standard, 15-21 pts (12-17 without Criterion E)

D quality: Work of a mediocre standard, 8-14 (7-11 without Criterion E)

F quality: Work of an elementary standard, 0-7 (0-6 without Criterion E)

What guidance does IB give for interpreting the rubric for an English EE?

Please see the IB specific handout for Language and Literature.

How do I format my Works Cited or Bibliography?

Use one of these editors to help you: