Appendix For Extended Essay Topics

DP Music Extended Essay   

I've had two extended essay students thus far. 

To graduate from the DP programme of the IB, you need to have a minimum of 24 points out of a possible 45. To put this into perspective, many top level universities ask for 36 points or more.  3 of these points come from a combination of "Theory of Knowledge," which is a philosophy course, and "Extended Essay," which is the IB version of an independent study unit. It's a 4000 word essay dealing with a specific topic. My first student studied "A Comparative Analysis of Two Performances of Halvorsen's Passacagalia for Violin and Viola Duo after Handel's Suite in G Minor No. 7 for Harpsichord." My second student did score analyses of Mozart's Rond alla Turca and Paganini's 24th Caprice and then compared them to jazz versions arranged by Fazil Say in order to determine how Western Art Music can be recreated for modern audiences.  

What is a DP Music Extended Essay?

International Baccalaureate Organisation. (2009). Diploma Programme: Extended Essay Guide. Cardiff, UK: International Baccalaurate, Organisation.
This year, I had an exceptional DP Music extended essay and was very pleased with my student's result. Being reflective, I had to consider why... what specifically about her paper made it so good? What I realised was that my student's paper was very heavy on analysis while being considerably lighter on lit review.  It seemed to me that her paper didn't fully explain the topic before diving into the score analysis and discussion; however, the IB loved it.  When you look through the guide book, it does state several times that a paper based on research will not successfully meet the criteria given.  I never before realised just how much that was true! So when you are supervising your students, make sure they err on the side of analysis and critical thinking. Their lit review might be light, but if the 'meat' of their paper is in the analysis, they'll be fine. 

Task Specific Clarification

I asked some experienced colleagues to read my student's EE to make sure she was on the right track; they said they would, but they didn't know how helpful they'd be since all EEs have different task specific clarifications.  WHAT?

Today I went through the DP Extended Essay guide and collected all the clarifications into a checklist form.  Then, under each category, I listed the descriptors from the rubric.  Then my student and I went through her essay and the task specific clarification and searched for areas in which she could improved.  And now I'm going to post the file I made... I hope you find it helpful.

The "FREE" Marks - Paper Presentation

I call them the free marks. Unfortunately, many students don't get them. Why do I call them free? Because if you jump through the right "hoops," it means you get automatic, free marks.

1. Title Page- Title, Name, Supervisor, Date
2. Abstract Page - Running Head, Page Number 2, a single spaced & indented abstract that summarises the entire paper
3. Table of Contents Page - Title "Table of Contents." Use your word processor's styles function to automatically build the table of contents.  Too many students will make the TOC by hand, and as their paper moves, they forget to update the TOC. Let the computer do the hard work for you!
4. Paper Title - Centred on the top of the first page of the body of your paper
5. Headings and Subheadings - Left justified with no indenting
6. Paragraphs - Times New Roman 12, 1.5X or 2X spaced, with 4 spaces or a .25" indent.
7. Images and Tables - Centred, as close to their descriptions as possible, and labeled chronologically numerically underneath
8. Appendices referenced in-text chronologically alphabetically. The first appendix is (See Appendix A) and the second is (See Appendix B). This is regardless of what order you'd like in the appendices.
9. In-text Citations - (Lastname, FirstInitial, Year, p.No). The period comes AFTER the citation, not before.
10. Reference List - Title is centred. Reference list is ordered alphabetically and not sorted by media type. It is hanging indented. Only include sources used (this is NOT a bibliography) and do not included personal communications or anything that cannot be tracked by a reader.
12. Appendices Page - A new page. The first title is Appendices, centred. Each subsequent appendix is on a new page and is labelled as shown in the body of the paper (e.g. Appendix A, Appendix B, etc.)
This is a sample of how I have my kids setup their extended essays. It's a slideshow, though below it I've included files so that you can read through at your leisure. 
- addresses a particular issue or research question and arrives at a particular, and preferably personal, conclusion.
- Real music should be at the heart of an extended essay in music
- Students should strive for a coherent verbal analysis and interpretation of one or more pieces of music in relation to the chosen research question.
- provide opportunities for demonstrating detailed musical understanding and critical analysis.
- Appropriate resources for music include books, textbooks, the internet, scores, interviews, recordings, and live performances or concerts of the music being studied
- Students should use primary sources in the first instance with secondary sources as evidential support.
- Students should accurately and consistently analyse technical aspects of the music (melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, tone colour, and lyrics or text), demonstrating an understanding and a persuasive personal interpretation of the music.
- It is essential that the topic chosen is distinctively musical
- Supervisors should, therefore, strongly discourage students who are primarily interested in analysing text or lyrics
- The topic chosen should provide opportunities for extensive critical analysis of musical source material.
- topics likely to lead to an essay that is essentially narrative or descriptive in nature, should be avoided
- it is essential that the research question chosen can be effectively answered
- The introduction should not be seen as an opportunity for padding out an essay with a lengthy account of the context of the music.
- Personal views should not simply be stated but need to be supported by reasoned argument to persuade the reader of their validity.
- Students are expected to make effective use of musical terminology and, where appropriate, notation
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Mr. Crown's Advice Concerning Your Extended Essay



Also, read and follow the guidelines below.


Title Page   - Place the title ¼ of the way down from the top of the page. Remember that the title is not the same thing as your research question or topic. Think of an informative title which conveys the essence of your essay. In the bottom right corner of your paper include the following:

                                                                                  Your Name

                                                                                    Extended Essay Final Draft

                                                                                    Advisor: Mr. or Ms.________

                                                                                    TOK Teacher:_____________

                                                                                    Word Count: ______________



Abstract   - The abstract should be no more than 300 words. It must be written in 3rd person. The

abstract is a formal synopsis of your essay which explains the scope of your investigation and states the research question and conclusion. Include a word count for the abstract at the bottom of the page. The abstract comes directly after the table of contents.


Page Numbers – Page numbers must be included on each page except the title page. Use the “Insert” menu on Microsoft Word.


Table of Contents   - The table of contents identifies each section of the paper (Abstract, Introduction, Body, Conclusion, Bibliography, Endnotes, Appendix, Illustrations, etc.) as well as topical subsections. Page numbers in the table of contents and the essay must match. Include section and subsection headings labeled in bold throughout the essay to guide the reader and identify the different sections of the essay.


Introduction   -  Introduce the topic and provide enough information about your topic in order to enable the reader to comprehend the significance of your research question. Each extended essay must have a research question. The research question is the central question you are trying to answer through your research and writing of the extended essay. This question, if properly composed, will enable you to maintain your focus on a topic of narrow and limited scope while also help you to maintain the purpose and orientation of your entire investigation. The research question must be clearly and precisely stated in the early part of your extended essay. It must be sharply focused so that it is susceptible to effective treatment within the 4000 word limit. Your extended essay will be assessed in part according to the extent to which the essay appropriately addresses and develops the specific research question. The reader will also evaluate your success in collecting information relevant to the research question. Include the research question in the introduction stated precisely and focused in such a way that it is susceptible to effective treatment within the 4000 word limit. Establish the significance of the research question and explain why it is worthy of study. You may also briefly discuss why your topic is of significance to you personally. At the end of the introduction state your thesis (or hypothesis for science). Clearly identify the research question and thesis as such. Briefly and concisely preview your body by providing a “game plan” for the rest of the paper. The game plan briefly explains how you intend to answer the research question and support the thesis, that is, how you propose to proceed in the body.


Thesis – This belongs in the introduction, preferably at the end. You must take a position, construct an argument based on evidence, and defend your thesis. The entire essay must be a response to your research question and a coherent, organized, structured, logical, critical, in-depth examination and defense of your thesis.


Body (Methods and Results for science)   - The body will differ depending on your subject. However for all essays the body be evaluated based on 1) your approach to the research question, 2) your analysis and interpretation of evidence, including critical analysis and evaluation of sources, and 3) your own argument and evaluation of this argument. SEE PAGES 19-20 of the Extended Essay Booklet and the Assessment Criteria for details. You must convincingly answer the research question and argue for your thesis, presenting evidence to support your arguments. You must evaluate your sources and demonstrate an ability to think and write critically and analytically. You need to plan this section carefully so that you are able to present your arguments in an organized, structured, convincing body which is constructed upon evidence. Evidence includes historical evidence derived from primary and secondary historical sources, textual evidence from a work of literature, and scientific data and the results of experiments and research.


Conclusion   - The conclusion must be clearly stated and relevant to the research question. It must also be consistent with the thesis and its explanation and development presented in the essay. Where appropriate the conclusion indicates unresolved questions and new questions that have emerged from your research. This is more than a summary. Review how you have demonstrably and convincingly supported your thesis and answered the research question. Concisely restate your key points and discuss the broader implications of the thesis. How have you satisfactorily answered the research question?


Illustrations, data, charts, graphs, etc.    - If you plan to include these make sure they are labeled and listed in the table of contents, and make sure you discuss their significance and relevance in the text of the essay.


Appendix   - Please note that IB readers are not required to read the appendix thoroughly, so all essential information must be in the body of your essay.


Documentation   - You must include footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citations. You also must include a bibliography. Documentation must be completed with meticulous concern for accuracy. Use your Guide to Writing Research Papers or the online Chicago Style Guide and make sure everything is in the correct style and format. Avoid accusations of plagiarism by treating documentation with the seriousness it deserves. In the bibliography include only sources you have cited in the essay. You need at least 15 sources, five of which must be articles from scholarly journals. The bibliography must be alphabetical by the author’s last name. Literature essays need six sources and may use in-text citations. Good history essays will have 30 to 40 footnotes and 15 sources. All history essay footnotes must follow the Chicago Style Guide.


This draft must be typed double spaced in 12 pt. Font and be as close to 4000 words as possible without going over the limit. The 4000 words includes the Introduction, Body, Conclusion, and any quotations. It does not include the Abstract, Acknowledgements, Table of Contents, Illustrations, Bibliography, Footnotes, Endnotes, or Appendices. Use Times New Roman or Courier font or a similar font; nothing fancy, flashy, or difficult for the eyes. Use black ink.


The essay must look neat and not sloppy. Do not use run-on sentences and paragraphs that are too long and attempt to treat too many topics. Do not allow careless grammatical and spelling errors to lower your grade. Paragraphs must be topical, readable, and of reasonable length. The essay must be structured and organized logically with all arguments and analysis presented and developed in a systematic fashion and order. Use smooth transitions between paragraphs to link the paragraphs, arguments, and sections of your paper. Use a spelling checker and make sure several competent people proofread your essay.


Your extended essay must address each of the following questions.

I. Introduction

What is your research question?

Why is the research question significant and worthy of study?

Why is the research question significant to you personally?

What is your thesis?

What is your game plan for the rest of the essay?


What is the background information needed in order to understand your research question and thesis?

What are the distinct elements of your thesis? How can the thesis be divided and broken down into parts?

What are the central arguments you will make to defend your thesis?

What are the topical subsections of your body? Outline each subsection of the body.

How does each subsection build upon the previous subsection and lead up to the next? How does each subsection contribute to your defense of your thesis?

What evidence will you present to support your arguments and thesis?

What are your key sources? How will you integrate the evaluation of your sources in the Body?

How will you integrate critical analysis into your Body?


How have you sufficiently answered the research question and defended your thesis?

What are the major strengths of your thesis and your analysis and defense of it in your essay?

What could you have done better in the essay? Evaluate your own work critically.

What are the new questions and unresolved questions which have arisen from your research and analysis?


Include only those sources you have cited in the essay.

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