The extended essay is possibly the most exciting part of the IB. You get to fully nerd out on a subject that fascinates you. The endless possibilities could leave you in a state of choice paralysis! Because of that, we have thrown out a list of 25 unique EE ideas as a lifeline, so you do not feel lost in the vast sea of choices. However, I implore you to not take these ideas over 1:1. Instead, let them serve as inspiration so you can find the perfect EE topic for you. For even more EE ideas, look here.
If you want more guidance on how to structure your EE writing process, check out our blog post here.
- Investigate the role of the concentration of sulfuric acid in BZ reactions. BZ reactions are beautiful oscillating reactions that are an excellent example of how pretty chemistry can be.
- What are the ideal conditions for the iodine clock reaction? Because this one sticks with the visual chemistry theme, it is always a head-turner.
- Derive the activation energy of a reaction using the Arrhenius equation.
- Investigate the specific heat capacities of cooking oils. There is a lot of chemistry in the kitchen – you can also look at iodine content in seaweed, for example.
- Investigate how you can change different properties of plastic by altering the process. Be careful that you know how to measure these properties quantitatively (maybe melting point?)
- Why do people like watching horror movies? You could investigate what parts of the brain get activated by watching horror movies and why that might be enjoyable.
- Contemplate the reliability of memories. Many studies debate about how much we can rely on and manipulate memories. The Lost in the Mall experiment by Loftus and Coan could be a good starting point.
- What role does oxytocin play in making sociable children? You can use this format for any hormone and virtually any behaviour. Testosterone and violence? Serotonin and social isolation?
- Research the relationship between culture and greed. Even though cultural extended essays can be difficult to approach, they can be super captivating.
- Investigate the role of video games in the social behaviour of children. Because there is a general conception that video games make you worse socially, you can investigate whether that is true.
English Literature (and Language)
- How does Philip Larkin use metaphors to show his relation to death? Philip Larkin is an English poet that was terrified of death and its expansive emptiness and captured that in his poems fascinatingly.
- Analyse the rhetoric of your favourite (or least favourite) politician. There are innumerable speeches and interviews for you to look at here.
- Deep dive into Coca-Cola’s ad campaigns, as they often are goldmines with the literary devices they use.
- Discuss the absurdism of Albert Camus’ The Stranger or the literary devices he uses. Possibilities are practically pouring out of this book. You can also peruse his other works, for example, The Plague.
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy is a masterclass in gorgeous writing. With an overwhelming amount of literary devices, it is a dream to analyse. Evaluate her use of similes and imagery to convey the relationship between the mother, Ammu and her children, for example.
- Investigate Rayleigh scattering (why the sky is blue). Maybe you can even work out a way to make a model of this.
- Model meteor craters to estimate the size of the crater a given asteroid would create if it were to hit the earth.
- Estimate the angular speed of the earth by observing stars in the sky. This one might be tricky to execute correctly, but worth a shot!
- What are the refractive indexes of different straight-chain alkanes (fuels)? Is there a pattern?
- The physics behind roller-coaster rides.
- Philosophy – To what extent is consciousness a problem which science will never solve?
- Philosophy – A critical exploration of David Hume’s view on the causal closure principle.
- ESS – To what extent is (the practice of) carbon offsetting effective in the fight against climate change?
- ESS – An investigation into the effect of controlled burning on the biodiversity of Dartmoor National Park, UK. Again, you can customise this to anything in your local area.
- Geography – Is Vienna’s title as “world’s most liveable city” deserved? A discussion.
I hope these EE ideas have inspired you to find a fun topic. And if you are looking for further assistance for your EE, get in touch with our tutors here.