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They are easy to follow and digest. It is possible to produce an extended essay in chemistry in which the student has used data collected elsewhere as the primary source. In such cases, the element of personal analysis and evaluation is extremely important. In any chemistry extended essay, students should be able to demonstrate that they understand the theory underlying any experimental work and state any assumptions made.
They should show an understanding of the results obtained and be able to interpret them with reference to the research question posed. They should be critical of inadequate experimental design, the limitations of the experimental method and any systematic errors. Students should be encouraged to consider unresolved questions in their research, and to suggest new questions and areas for further investigation in their conclusion.
Throughout the whole of the essay, students should emphasize clearly their own personal contribution. Many research questions can be formulated as an actual question or questions. However, in chemistry extended essays it is perfectly reasonable to formulate the research question as a statement or as a hypothesis rather than an actual question. Whichever way it is formulated, it should be identified clearly as the research question and set out prominently in the introduction. The purpose of the introduction is to set the research question into context, that is, to relate the research question to existing knowledge in chemistry.
It is usually appropriate to include also the underlying chemical theory required to understand how the research question has arisen. For the essay to make sense, it would be important to state the ages of the rocks and give some geological background. In such cases, only the essential non-chemistry information should be provided in the introduction, as the essay will be marked on its chemical content. If it is necessary to include more non-chemistry for example, geological information, then the appropriate place for it is the appendix.
The way in which the investigation is undertaken will depend very much on whether or not the essay contains experimental work performed by the student. For non-experimental essays, students should endeavour to show clearly how the data has been selected. They should distinguish between primary sources original scientific publications, personal communications, interviews and secondary sources textbooks, newspaper articles, reviews , and show awareness of how reliable these sources are.
For experimental work, sufficient information should be provided so that the work could be repeated if necessary by an independent worker. Students should make it clear which experiments they have designed themselves and which they have altered, adapted or improved from existing methods. Students should show that they understand fully the underlying chemistry behind the context of their research question and their subsequent investigation.
They are not expected to explain basic chemistry forming part of the Diploma Programme chemistry course, but they are expected to show that they fully understand the relevant principles and ideas and can apply them correctly. They should also demonstrate that they understand the theory behind any techniques or apparatus used. Students should be aware of the need to give their essays the backbone of a developing argument. A good argument in chemistry will almost certainly include consideration and comparison of different approaches and methods directly relevant to the research question.
Straightforward descriptive or narrative accounts that lack analysis do not usually advance an argument and should be avoided. Criterion F: application of analytical and evaluative skills appropriate to the subject.
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A thorough understanding of the reliability of all data used to support the argument should be shown. Inadequate experimental design or any systematic errors should be exposed. The magnitude of uncertainties in physical data should be evaluated and discussed. Approximations in models should be accounted for and all assumptions examined thoroughly. Where possible, the quality of sources accessed or data generated should be verified by secondary sources or by direct calculations.
Correct chemical terminology and nomenclature should be used consistently and effectively throughout the extended essay.
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Relevant chemical formulas including structural formulas , balanced equations including state symbols and mechanisms should be included. The correct units for physical quantities must always be given and the proper use of significant figures is expected. The conclusion must be consistent with the argument presented and should not merely repeat material in the introduction or introduce new or extraneous points to the argument.
In chemistry, it is almost always pertinent to consider unresolved questions and to suggest areas for further investigation.
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This criterion relates to the extent to which the essay conforms to academic standards about the way in which research papers should be presented. The presentation of essays that omit a bibliography or that do not give references is deemed unacceptable level 0. The essay must not exceed 4, words of narrative. Graphs, figures, calculations, diagrams, formulas and equations are not included in the word count.
For experiments where numerical results are calculated from data obtained by changing one of the variables, it is generally good practice to show one example of the calculation. The remainder can be displayed in tabular or graphical form. The abstract is judged on the clarity with which it presents an overview of the research and the essay, not on the quality of the research question itself, nor on the quality of the argument or the conclusions. Intellectual initiative: Ways of demonstrating this in chemistry essays include the choice of topic and research question, and the use of novel or innovative approaches to address the research question.
Insight and depth of understanding: These are most likely to be demonstrated as a consequence of detailed research and thorough reflection, and by a well-informed and reasoned argument that consistently and effectively addresses the research question. Originality and creativity: These will be apparent by clear evidence of a personal approach backed up by solid research and reasoning.
Example extended essay Extended essay examiners report Extended essay in chemistry The following is an overview of the extended essay guidelines for chemistry IBO documents An extended essay in chemistry provides students with an opportunity to investigate a particular aspect of the materials of our environment.
Choice of topic It is important that the extended essay has a clear chemical emphasis and is not more closely related to another subject. Example essay titles The following examples of titles for chemistry extended essays are intended as guidance only. Title The ratio of the gases evolved at the positive electrode during the electrolysis of common salt solution Research question Is there a relationship between the concentration of aqueous sodium chloride solution and the ratio of the amounts of oxygen and chlorine gas that are evolved at the positive electrode during electrolysis.
Title The caffeine content of a cup of tea Research question Does the time it takes to brew a cup of tea using a specific commercial brand of tea leaves significantly alter the amount of caffeine that is dissolved in the drink?