Extended Essay
Getting Started

Choosing a Topic

It is vitally important that you choose a topic that is of genuine interest to you. The EE is challenging, that’s what makes it so worthwhile.  If you choose your topic wisely it can also be interesting, exciting and motivating.



It is a good idea to explore local issues.


Is there a topic that needs a solution?


Can your research help you to discover a better outcome for something?




Considering the following may help you to choose a topic:

  • What are your personal interests?
  • Read the local newspaper and identify any issues that interest you
  • What speakers have you heard that were interesting?
  • What novels are you reading?
  • What is in your CAS portfolio?
  • What significant events have occurred?  For example Shark Culling
  • What scientific experiments have you heard of that interest you?
  • Contact local community groups to identify any research projects
  • Are there any historical events that have caught your imagination?
  • Are there any innovations, phenomena or theorems you have heard of lately?

Steps to Keep in Mind

  1. Choose according to interest. You will be working on your Extended Essay for a long time so make sure that you’re not likely to get bored as boredom generally leads to procrastination.
  2. Don’t choose a topic just because you think you can answer it already. Originality is rewarded. Be prepared that you will need to go beyond the core syllabus.
  3. Make sure that your idea can be treated successfully with the amount of time and word count. Don’t make your topic too broad.
  4. Don’t make your topic too narrow or specialized either. Remember that you will need to be able to find accessible sources to provide evidence for your article.


Possible Local Topics

  • Track the grassroots community development relationship between Scotch College and the village of Matipwili in Tanzania to establish the impact that support has had on the development of the village. (Geography)
  • The Environmental group Friends of Lake Claremont have a well established programme and many experts offering assistance for environmental concerns.  They have a number of research projects that need investigating (Biology)
  • The concept of ‘pop-up’ shops has taken Perth by storm.  This relatively new phenomena has been very successful and provided a variety of economic opportunities for businesses. (Economics or Geography)

Topic Examples

Below is a list of research questions completed by Scotch students to help give you ideas about the type of topics you could investigate.

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