The EE gives students an opportunity to undertake in-depth research in an area of interest to them, of local, regional or global significance. The outcome of the research should be a coherent and structured essay that effectively addresses a particular issue expressed as a research question. The question should encourage an investigation that lends itself to analysis and critical commentary. Students should avoid straightforward “What” and “How” questions as they tend to lead to narrative treatment. Terms such as “How significant…?” or “How successful…?” are more likely to engage students in analysis. “To what extent…?” requires an analytical answer, but if students choose this or a similar term, they need to ensure that their task does also require them to consider other factors to answer the question.
An extended essay (EE) in psychology gives students the opportunity to:
investigate in depth a topic of their choice within the subject
develop their skills in research, analysis and evaluation, and communication
increase their understanding of behaviour from a psychology perspective.
Psychology may be defined as “the study of behaviour”. The subject involves studying the behaviours of humans and non-human animals and has a range of specialist terms, methods and literature. It is therefore essential for students undertaking an EE in psychology to:
have a sound understanding of the subject and its methodologies
choose a topic amenable to psychological investigation and analysis.
Students who have not studied psychology formally should not undertake the EE, unless they can demonstrate that they have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the subject. Schools where psychology is not taught must be aware that students who submit an EE in psychology with no formal exposure to the subject may compromise their level of achievement.