What is a World Studies or Other Interdisciplinary Studies Extended Essay? Interdisciplinary approach
An interdisciplinary extended essay (EE) gives students an opportunity to undertake an in-depth and independent investigation into a topic of their choice that considers the relationship between subjects and allows for meaningful connections to be made in relation to their chosen area of research.
For example, in literature and performance, students focus on the nature of the relationships that occur between a chosen text and its adaptation for performance; in world studies an issue of contemporary global significance is explored through the lenses of two subjects; and in environmental systems and societies the interaction and integration of natural environmental systems and human societies are explored.
Students undertaking one of these options must demonstrate a solid understanding of their area of research, taking a fully integrated approach. This examination must be shown in the form of:
a coherently written and structured essay that effectively addresses an area of research, taking an interdisciplinary approach
bringing together concepts, methods and approaches from across different subjects
the development and exploration of an area of study specifically appropriate to the interdisciplinary choice.The most critical stage in preparing for the EE is the formulation of a logical and coherent rationale for selecting a particular topic for the extended essay, a topic that offers enough scope to provide material for a substantial essay, and the development of ideas around the topic and research question that examine existing views and argue against them.
The aims of the WSEE are to enable students to:
frame and understand complex contemporary world problems for in-depth study
gather and synthesize insights from two different disciplines to better understand the issue
develop global consciousness—a disposition to recognize and understand local and global relationships in dynamic interaction
view themselves as interpreters of and actors in an increasingly interconnected world.
Students are encouraged to focus on just one or two contexts in some depth, for example:
The student examines two geographical case studies to explore whether religious beliefs affect attitudes towards HIV/AIDS in Oslo and Mombasa.
The student examines one or two events to evaluate relief efforts after natural disasters, and suggests ways to make these more responsive.
The student examines one or two interventions to investigate what determines the success or failure of sanctions imposed by the United Nations.
Students can refer to other places and events beyond the primary context(s) when relevant to the argument. In fact, the IB encourages this as it displays global consciousness. However, a detailed contextualized study of these additional cases is impossible within the 4,000-word limit.
Primary methods involve analysis of texts, visual sources, paintings, play texts, live performances and personal contacts. In the case of environmental systems and societies essays, students can take a quantitative data analysis approach through collection of data from fieldwork, laboratory experimentations, surveys or interviews.
Secondary methods include the collection of books, newspaper and magazine articles, interviews and websites on the focus of the student’s research. The use of other materials, such as pictures, plans and reviews, is encouraged but should not overwhelm the EE to the detriment of the research discourse.
The method is specifically important to the manner in which the student will analyze their sources against existing knowledge or more specifically knowledge gleaned from IB Coursework.
LINK TO TYPES OF METHODS EXPLAINED
*courtesy of Nicholas Wellington (THANKS!)