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Extended Essay Guide: Writing Your Research Question

Writing Your Research Question

THE RESEARCH QUESTION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE EE. MOST OF THE POINTS RELATE BACK TO TO IT. IF YOU HAVE A GOOD QUESTION, EVERYTHING ELSE WILL BE EASIER. IF YOU HAVE A BAD QUESTION, IT WILL BE VERY HARD TO DO WELL ON YOUR EE.

  • Is the question appropriate to my chosen subject (history, film, etc) Did I use a command term? Is it stated as a question?

  • It has more than one answer? Does the question require analysis, discussion, interpretation or evaluation and NOT just a summary of the information that is available?

  • Is the question clearly stated, sharply focused and addresses an issue of research that is appropriately connected to the discussion in the essay?

  • Has scholarly sources available to answer it?

  • Can the question be effectively treated within the word limit (4000 words)?

Research Question Formulas For History

  1. To what extent is X an example of Y?

    1. To what extent can the Anti-War movement in the 1960s in the United States be considered a social movement?

 
  1. To what extent did A cause B?

    1. To what extent did British imperialism cause the Nigerian Civil War?

 
  1. To what extent was C the key turning point in M?

    1. To what extent was World War II a key turning point in causing the modern civil rights movement?

 
  1. To what extent was L the reason for K?

    1. To what extent was Che Guevara the reason for the success of the Cuban Revolution?

 
  1. To what extent did Z achieve their goals?

    1. To what extent did Martin Luther King achieve his goals by 1968?

    2. To what extent did the Chicano Movement achieve their goals?

 

To what extent was...

[Event]

[Situation]

[Development]

[Individual]

[Policy]

responsible for...

[Event]

[Situation]

[Development]

[Policy]

the most important result of...

How useful is...

the Novel...

the Album...

oral testimony...

photography...

the painting...

the film...

for a historical investigation of...

How successful / significant was...

[Individual] (e.g. politician / sportsperson / entertainer / etc)

in the context of...

Don't Give Up!

Do not get discouraged if you are feeling frustrated. That feeling is common and will go away if you keep moving forward!

"People often find the period before the formulation of the research question the most difficult phase in the search process. Uncertainty commonly increases during this time. People can experience anxiety and frustration as they encounter information from many different perspectives, much of which may not be compatible with their personal knowledge" (Kuhlthau).

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