Somerset Times

IB Diploma Matters – The Extended Essay




Somerset Times Edition

Week 1, Term Four, 2019

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Term Three at Somerset College is all about the Extended Essay. This is a major academic undertaking consisting of a 4000 word research essay conducted in a subject of the student’s choice.

Within that subject students have free rein to explore and investigate a topic of their interest. They then design their own research question, begin researching and then write and edit a final essay. Year 11 begin their journey this term with an Extended Essay Launch Breakfast in which they are introduced to the Extended Essay process. They all have now picked a topic and have been assigned a supervisor who will lead them through their investigation over the coming year.

2019 - T4 - W1 - Extended Essay

Meanwhile, our Year 12 students have put the finishing touches to their projects this term, and they have been sent away to be assessed. I am always impressed by the standard of work that the students produce for this task - most people won’t write a 4000 word essay until at least 3rd Year of university!

Here are a list of the Extended Essay topics/questions from this year: • The Influence of Failed Oriental Anti-Imperialist Movements on Later Successful Movements
• Towards a Better Society: Ayn Rand’s Objectivism or John Rawls’ Theory of Justice?
• The identification and significance of an unreliable narrator in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel Lolita
• To what extent does Patricia Piccinini challenge our perspective on the ethics of bioengineering?
• The physics of the rollercoaster
• To What Extent Does Huxley Use the Dystopia Genre as a Reflection of His Society in Brave New World?
• What is the tolerance of grain crops to nitrates and salinity and how can this be used to determine suitability and dilution levels of grey water for use in treating saline soil and growing commercial grain crops?
• To what extent, does the Jana Sanskriti Centre, effectively epitomise the techniques and ideology of Augusto Boal’s - Theatre of the Oppressed?
• The formation of Liesegang-type rings in gelatine
• How can the use of selected transcription factors reprogram human somatic cells to function as cardiomyocytes?
• ‘Even Death Has a Heart’: The Characterisation and Significance of Death in Markus Zusak’s, The Book Thief
• Sex, Love and Gender as Represented in the Poetry of Carol Ann Duffy and John Donne
• In what way can knowledge that has developed throughout history be considered an evolved, supreme body of thought in today’s global context, and how does this affect local communities within society?
• To what extent did short term Athenian foreign policy cause the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta?
• Antonin Artaud, Surrealism, and the Theatre of Cruelty

As you can see from these titles, this is a robust and challenging task – these students will certainly find writing 1000 word essays in first year of university a breeze!

If you are interested in reading some (or all!) of these, they can be found on the Senior School Homepage on Schoolbox, under the Diploma Programme tile. Here’s the link.

The students found it rewarding to become mini-experts in the field associated with their essay as it is a task that requires the students to think and research deeply on their chosen topic. If you would like to know more about the Extended Essay, or about the IB Diploma generally, please feel free to contact me:

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