How to Construct Research Question Essay

1148 Words Jan 18th, 2013 5 Pages
IB Extended Essay – Forming a Research Question

Choice of topic
The topic chosen must focus on the human past, be worthy of study, and lend itself to systematic investigation in line with the published assessment criteria. Essays that focus on events of the last 10 years are not acceptable, as these are regarded as current affairs, not history.
It is not a requirement for the topic to be chosen from the Diploma Programme history course, but it must be acceptable to the supervisor. It should provide an opportunity for critical analysis of source material, and not depend on summarizing general secondary sources (such as textbooks and encyclopedias), as this approach is likely to lead to an essay that is essentially narrative or
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· “Stalin’s use of the party machine and terror” is better than “The Soviet Union under Stalin”.
· “The role of the Pan-African movement in the downfall of Kwame Nkrumah in 1966” is better than
“Kwame Nkrumah”.
Details—subject specific
© International Baccalaureate Organization 2007 103
Treatment of the topic
It is important that the topic, as stated in the research question, is appropriate for a history extended essay. Where topics could be approached from different viewpoints, such as economics or geography, the treatment of material must meet the subject requirements of history.
Students must choose a research question that is not of a trivial nature. Research questions that do not lead to systematic investigation, critical analysis and detailed understanding are unlikely to be suitable.
Social history does include areas such as music and sport, but these are only acceptable for a history extended essay if they are tackled from a historical perspective. Adequate available sources are essential.
If it is clear at an early stage in the research that they are not, a change of topic or focus should be made.
Research requires the use of sources. Ideally, primary sources will be included but an essay that uses only secondary sources will not be disqualified. Many different approaches to the research question can be appropriate, for instance:
· using primary and secondary sources in

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