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International Baccalaureate (IB)
IB students around the globe fear writing the Extended Essay, but it doesn't have to be a source of stress! In this article, I'll get you excited about writing your Extended Essay and provide you with the resources you need to get an A on it.
If you're reading this article, I'm going to assume you're an IB student getting ready to write your Extended Essay. If you're looking at this as a potential future IB student, I recommend reading our introductory IB articles first, including our guide to what the IB program is and our full coverage of the IB curriculum .
IB Extended Essay: Why Should You Trust My Advice?
I myself am a recipient of an IB Diploma, and I happened to receive an A on my IB Extended Essay. Don't believe me? The proof is in the IBO pudding:
If you're confused by what this report means, EE is short for Extended Essay , and English A1 is the subject that my Extended Essay topic coordinated with. In layman's terms, my IB Diploma was graded in May 2010, I wrote my Extended Essay in the English A1 category, and I received an A grade on it.
What Is the Extended Essay in the IB Diploma Programme?
The IB Extended Essay, or EE , is a mini-thesis you write under the supervision of an IB advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts toward your IB Diploma (learn more about the major IB Diploma requirements in our guide) . I will explain exactly how the EE affects your Diploma later in this article.
For the Extended Essay, you will choose a research question as a topic, conduct the research independently, then write an essay on your findings . The essay itself is a long one—although there's a cap of 4,000 words, most successful essays get very close to this limit.
Keep in mind that the IB requires this essay to be a "formal piece of academic writing," meaning you'll have to do outside research and cite additional sources.
The IB Extended Essay must include the following:
- A title page
- Contents page
- Body of the essay
- References and bibliography
Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories , or IB subject groups, which are as follows:
- Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
- Group 2: Language Acquisition
- Group 3: Individuals and Societies
- Group 4: Sciences
- Group 5: Mathematics
- Group 6: The Arts
Once you figure out your category and have identified a potential research topic, it's time to pick your advisor, who is normally an IB teacher at your school (though you can also find one online ). This person will help direct your research, and they'll conduct the reflection sessions you'll have to do as part of your Extended Essay.
As of 2018, the IB requires a "reflection process" as part of your EE supervision process. To fulfill this requirement, you have to meet at least three times with your supervisor in what the IB calls "reflection sessions." These meetings are not only mandatory but are also part of the formal assessment of the EE and your research methods.
According to the IB, the purpose of these meetings is to "provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their engagement with the research process." Basically, these meetings give your supervisor the opportunity to offer feedback, push you to think differently, and encourage you to evaluate your research process.
The final reflection session is called the viva voce, and it's a short 10- to 15-minute interview between you and your advisor. This happens at the very end of the EE process, and it's designed to help your advisor write their report, which factors into your EE grade.
Here are the topics covered in your viva voce :
- A check on plagiarism and malpractice
- Your reflection on your project's successes and difficulties
- Your reflection on what you've learned during the EE process
Your completed Extended Essay, along with your supervisor's report, will then be sent to the IB to be graded. We'll cover the assessment criteria in just a moment.
We'll help you learn how to have those "lightbulb" moments...even on test day!
What Should You Write About in Your IB Extended Essay?
You can technically write about anything, so long as it falls within one of the approved categories listed above.
It's best to choose a topic that matches one of the IB courses , (such as Theatre, Film, Spanish, French, Math, Biology, etc.), which shouldn't be difficult because there are so many class subjects.
Here is a range of sample topics with the attached extended essay:
- Biology: The Effect of Age and Gender on the Photoreceptor Cells in the Human Retina
- Chemistry: How Does Reflux Time Affect the Yield and Purity of Ethyl Aminobenzoate (Benzocaine), and How Effective is Recrystallisation as a Purification Technique for This Compound?
- English: An Exploration of Jane Austen's Use of the Outdoors in Emma
- Geography: The Effect of Location on the Educational Attainment of Indigenous Secondary Students in Queensland, Australia
- Math: Alhazen's Billiard Problem
- Visual Arts: Can Luc Tuymans Be Classified as a Political Painter?
You can see from how varied the topics are that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a topic . So how do you pick when the options are limitless?
How to Write a Stellar IB Extended Essay: 6 Essential Tips
Below are six key tips to keep in mind as you work on your Extended Essay for the IB DP. Follow these and you're sure to get an A!
#1: Write About Something You Enjoy
You can't expect to write a compelling essay if you're not a fan of the topic on which you're writing. For example, I just love British theatre and ended up writing my Extended Essay on a revolution in post-WWII British theatre. (Yes, I'm definitely a #TheatreNerd.)
I really encourage anyone who pursues an IB Diploma to take the Extended Essay seriously. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition merit scholarship to USC's School of Dramatic Arts program. In my interview for the scholarship, I spoke passionately about my Extended Essay; thus, I genuinely think my Extended Essay helped me get my scholarship.
But how do you find a topic you're passionate about? Start by thinking about which classes you enjoy the most and why . Do you like math classes because you like to solve problems? Or do you enjoy English because you like to analyze literary texts?
Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your Extended Essay topic. You're not more likely to get high marks because you're writing about science, just like you're not doomed to failure because you've chosen to tackle the social sciences. The quality of what you produce—not the field you choose to research within—will determine your grade.
Once you've figured out your category, you should brainstorm more specific topics by putting pen to paper . What was your favorite chapter you learned in that class? Was it astrophysics or mechanics? What did you like about that specific chapter? Is there something you want to learn more about? I recommend spending a few hours on this type of brainstorming.
One last note: if you're truly stumped on what to research, pick a topic that will help you in your future major or career . That way you can use your Extended Essay as a talking point in your college essays (and it will prepare you for your studies to come too!).
#2: Select a Topic That Is Neither Too Broad nor Too Narrow
There's a fine line between broad and narrow. You need to write about something specific, but not so specific that you can't write 4,000 words on it.
You can't write about WWII because that would be a book's worth of material. You also don't want to write about what type of soup prisoners of war received behind enemy lines, because you probably won’t be able to come up with 4,000 words of material about it. However, you could possibly write about how the conditions in German POW camps—and the rations provided—were directly affected by the Nazis' successes and failures on the front, including the use of captured factories and prison labor in Eastern Europe to increase production. WWII military history might be a little overdone, but you get my point.
If you're really stuck trying to pinpoint a not-too-broad-or-too-narrow topic, I suggest trying to brainstorm a topic that uses a comparison. Once you begin looking through the list of sample essays below, you'll notice that many use comparisons to formulate their main arguments.
I also used a comparison in my EE, contrasting Harold Pinter's Party Time with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in order to show a transition in British theatre. Topics with comparisons of two to three plays, books, and so on tend to be the sweet spot. You can analyze each item and then compare them with one another after doing some in-depth analysis of each individually. The ways these items compare and contrast will end up forming the thesis of your essay!
When choosing a comparative topic, the key is that the comparison should be significant. I compared two plays to illustrate the transition in British theatre, but you could compare the ways different regional dialects affect people's job prospects or how different temperatures may or may not affect the mating patterns of lightning bugs. The point here is that comparisons not only help you limit your topic, but they also help you build your argument.
Comparisons are not the only way to get a grade-A EE, though. If after brainstorming, you pick a non-comparison-based topic and are still unsure whether your topic is too broad or narrow, spend about 30 minutes doing some basic research and see how much material is out there.
If there are more than 1,000 books, articles, or documentaries out there on that exact topic, it may be too broad. But if there are only two books that have any connection to your topic, it may be too narrow. If you're still unsure, ask your advisor—it's what they're there for! Speaking of advisors...
Don't get stuck with a narrow topic!
#3: Choose an Advisor Who Is Familiar With Your Topic
If you're not certain of who you would like to be your advisor, create a list of your top three choices. Next, write down the pros and cons of each possibility (I know this sounds tedious, but it really helps!).
For example, Mr. Green is my favorite teacher and we get along really well, but he teaches English. For my EE, I want to conduct an experiment that compares the efficiency of American electric cars with foreign electric cars.
I had Ms. White a year ago. She teaches physics and enjoyed having me in her class. Unlike Mr. Green, Ms. White could help me design my experiment.
Based on my topic and what I need from my advisor, Ms. White would be a better fit for me than would Mr. Green (even though I like him a lot).
The moral of my story is this: do not just ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor . They might be a hindrance to you if they teach another subject. For example, I would not recommend asking your biology teacher to guide you in writing an English literature-based EE.
There can, of course, be exceptions to this rule. If you have a teacher who's passionate and knowledgeable about your topic (as my English teacher was about my theatre topic), you could ask that instructor. Consider all your options before you do this. There was no theatre teacher at my high school, so I couldn't find a theatre-specific advisor, but I chose the next best thing.
Before you approach a teacher to serve as your advisor, check with your high school to see what requirements they have for this process. Some IB high schools require your IB Extended Essay advisor to sign an Agreement Form , for instance.
Make sure that you ask your IB coordinator whether there is any required paperwork to fill out. If your school needs a specific form signed, bring it with you when you ask your teacher to be your EE advisor.
#4: Pick an Advisor Who Will Push You to Be Your Best
Some teachers might just take on students because they have to and aren't very passionate about reading drafts, only giving you minimal feedback. Choose a teacher who will take the time to read several drafts of your essay and give you extensive notes. I would not have gotten my A without being pushed to make my Extended Essay draft better.
Ask a teacher that you have experience with through class or an extracurricular activity. Do not ask a teacher that you have absolutely no connection to. If a teacher already knows you, that means they already know your strengths and weaknesses, so they know what to look for, where you need to improve, and how to encourage your best work.
Also, don't forget that your supervisor's assessment is part of your overall EE score . If you're meeting with someone who pushes you to do better—and you actually take their advice—they'll have more impressive things to say about you than a supervisor who doesn't know you well and isn't heavily involved in your research process.
Be aware that the IB only allows advisors to make suggestions and give constructive criticism. Your teacher cannot actually help you write your EE. The IB recommends that the supervisor spends approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.
#5: Make Sure Your Essay Has a Clear Structure and Flow
The IB likes structure. Your EE needs a clear introduction (which should be one to two double-spaced pages), research question/focus (i.e., what you're investigating), a body, and a conclusion (about one double-spaced page). An essay with unclear organization will be graded poorly.
The body of your EE should make up the bulk of the essay. It should be about eight to 18 pages long (again, depending on your topic). Your body can be split into multiple parts. For example, if you were doing a comparison, you might have one third of your body as Novel A Analysis, another third as Novel B Analysis, and the final third as your comparison of Novels A and B.
If you're conducting an experiment or analyzing data, such as in this EE , your EE body should have a clear structure that aligns with the scientific method ; you should state the research question, discuss your method, present the data, analyze the data, explain any uncertainties, and draw a conclusion and/or evaluate the success of the experiment.
#6: Start Writing Sooner Rather Than Later!
You will not be able to crank out a 4,000-word essay in just a week and get an A on it. You'll be reading many, many articles (and, depending on your topic, possibly books and plays as well!). As such, it's imperative that you start your research as soon as possible.
Each school has a slightly different deadline for the Extended Essay. Some schools want them as soon as November of your senior year; others will take them as late as February. Your school will tell you what your deadline is. If they haven't mentioned it by February of your junior year, ask your IB coordinator about it.
Some high schools will provide you with a timeline of when you need to come up with a topic, when you need to meet with your advisor, and when certain drafts are due. Not all schools do this. Ask your IB coordinator if you are unsure whether you are on a specific timeline.
Below is my recommended EE timeline. While it's earlier than most schools, it'll save you a ton of heartache (trust me, I remember how hard this process was!):
- January/February of Junior Year: Come up with your final research topic (or at least your top three options).
- February of Junior Year: Approach a teacher about being your EE advisor. If they decline, keep asking others until you find one. See my notes above on how to pick an EE advisor.
- April/May of Junior Year: Submit an outline of your EE and a bibliography of potential research sources (I recommend at least seven to 10) to your EE advisor. Meet with your EE advisor to discuss your outline.
- Summer Between Junior and Senior Year: Complete your first full draft over the summer between your junior and senior year. I know, I know—no one wants to work during the summer, but trust me—this will save you so much stress come fall when you are busy with college applications and other internal assessments for your IB classes. You will want to have this first full draft done because you will want to complete a couple of draft cycles as you likely won't be able to get everything you want to say into 4,000 articulate words on the first attempt. Try to get this first draft into the best possible shape so you don't have to work on too many revisions during the school year on top of your homework, college applications, and extracurriculars.
- August/September of Senior Year: Turn in your first draft of your EE to your advisor and receive feedback. Work on incorporating their feedback into your essay. If they have a lot of suggestions for improvement, ask if they will read one more draft before the final draft.
- September/October of Senior Year: Submit the second draft of your EE to your advisor (if necessary) and look at their feedback. Work on creating the best possible final draft.
- November-February of Senior Year: Schedule your viva voce. Submit two copies of your final draft to your school to be sent off to the IB. You likely will not get your grade until after you graduate.
Remember that in the middle of these milestones, you'll need to schedule two other reflection sessions with your advisor . (Your teachers will actually take notes on these sessions on a form like this one , which then gets submitted to the IB.)
I recommend doing them when you get feedback on your drafts, but these meetings will ultimately be up to your supervisor. Just don't forget to do them!
The early bird DOES get the worm!
How Is the IB Extended Essay Graded?
Extended Essays are graded by examiners appointed by the IB on a scale of 0 to 34 . You'll be graded on five criteria, each with its own set of points. You can learn more about how EE scoring works by reading the IB guide to extended essays .
- Criterion A: Focus and Method (6 points maximum)
- Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding (6 points maximum)
- Criterion C: Critical Thinking (12 points maximum)
- Criterion D: Presentation (4 points maximum)
- Criterion E: Engagement (6 points maximum)
How well you do on each of these criteria will determine the final letter grade you get for your EE. You must earn at least a D to be eligible to receive your IB Diploma.
Although each criterion has a point value, the IB explicitly states that graders are not converting point totals into grades; instead, they're using qualitative grade descriptors to determine the final grade of your Extended Essay . Grade descriptors are on pages 102-103 of this document .
Here's a rough estimate of how these different point values translate to letter grades based on previous scoring methods for the EE. This is just an estimate —you should read and understand the grade descriptors so you know exactly what the scorers are looking for.
Here is the breakdown of EE scores (from the May 2021 bulletin):
How Does the Extended Essay Grade Affect Your IB Diploma?
The Extended Essay grade is combined with your TOK (Theory of Knowledge) grade to determine how many points you get toward your IB Diploma.
To learn about Theory of Knowledge or how many points you need to receive an IB Diploma, read our complete guide to the IB program and our guide to the IB Diploma requirements .
This diagram shows how the two scores are combined to determine how many points you receive for your IB diploma (3 being the most, 0 being the least). In order to get your IB Diploma, you have to earn 24 points across both categories (the TOK and EE). The highest score anyone can earn is 45 points.
Let's say you get an A on your EE and a B on TOK. You will get 3 points toward your Diploma. As of 2014, a student who scores an E on either the extended essay or TOK essay will not be eligible to receive an IB Diploma .
Prior to the class of 2010, a Diploma candidate could receive a failing grade in either the Extended Essay or Theory of Knowledge and still be awarded a Diploma, but this is no longer true.
Figuring out how you're assessed can be a little tricky. Luckily, the IB breaks everything down here in this document . (The assessment information begins on page 219.)
40+ Sample Extended Essays for the IB Diploma Programme
In case you want a little more guidance on how to get an A on your EE, here are over 40 excellent (grade A) sample extended essays for your reading pleasure. Essays are grouped by IB subject.
- Business Management 1
- Chemistry 1
- Chemistry 2
- Chemistry 3
- Chemistry 4
- Chemistry 5
- Chemistry 6
- Chemistry 7
- Computer Science 1
- Economics 1
- Design Technology 1
- Design Technology 2
- Environmental Systems and Societies 1
- Geography 1
- Geography 2
- Geography 3
- Geography 4
- Geography 5
- Geography 6
- Literature and Performance 1
- Mathematics 1
- Mathematics 2
- Mathematics 3
- Mathematics 4
- Mathematics 5
- Philosophy 1
- Philosophy 2
- Philosophy 3
- Philosophy 4
- Philosophy 5
- Psychology 1
- Psychology 2
- Psychology 3
- Psychology 4
- Psychology 5
- Social and Cultural Anthropology 1
- Social and Cultural Anthropology 2
- Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
- Sports, Exercise and Health Science 1
- Sports, Exercise and Health Science 2
- Visual Arts 1
- Visual Arts 2
- Visual Arts 3
- Visual Arts 4
- Visual Arts 5
- World Religion 1
- World Religion 2
- World Religion 3
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Extended Essay Abstract: What You Need to Know in 2023
by Antony W
October 28, 2023
One of the major concerns we need to address is the inclusion of an abstract in an extended essay . Should your work include a mini-version of the essay that stands on its own? Or should you not include the abstract in the essay?
For what it’s worth, an abstract in the essay helps a potential reader to determine whether your paper is useful and worth reading.
In other words, it gives them a complete picture of your ideas and expression, and acts as the deciding factor on whether to read the rest of the paper.
In this guide, we’ll share everything you need to know about abstracts in an extended essay with the intention of helping you to structure the essay the right.
- Your extended essay must NOT include an abstract.
- You can use the introduction section of your work to give a summary of what you'll discuss in your project.
- The structure of the EE hasn't changed that much except for the removal of the abstract section.
Do you need help with your Extended Essay work? Our expert writers are here to help you get the work completed on time.
What’s an Abstract in an Extended Essay?
An abstract in an extended essay is a paragraph that gives an overview of the essay.
It clearly expresses the central idea of the assignment and outlines the key points of the essay. Moreover, the abstract indicates the application of the research or its implication thereof.
An abstract should be at most 300 words long. Some are shorter, with the length ranging between 150 and 200 words.
Also, the summary should be concise, so that anyone reading it will know what to expect from the essay even before proceeding to the introduction to the extended essay.
Understand that an abstract is an overview of a paper, not a proposal. In other words, the intention is not to tell a reader what the research will accomplish.
Rather, the goal is to express your ideas in a condensed form to make it easier for your target readers to determine whether the essay will be worth reading in the first place.
Should an Extended Essay Include an Abstract?
In 2018, IB made changes to the extended essay in which they excluded the need to have an abstract in the assignment, so your extended essay should NOT have an abstract regardless of the type of subject group you choose to work on.
Nowadays, including an abstract in an extended essay is a clear expression for lack of engagement.
Also, IB argues that the summary uses up 300 words and it might even make the reader not read to the conclusion of the assignment.
Remember, adding an abstract to your extended essay can cause you many marks, as it’s generally a writing practice based on the old criteria. Use the latest marking criteria instead.
What’s the Current Structure for an Extended Essay?
With the abstract removed from the extended essay format , what should the outline of the assignment look like?
Well, except for the removal of the abstract, everything else remains the same. So your teacher will expect to see a higher level of organization of your argument and evidence for the support of your position.
There are currently six elements that your extended essay must have. These are as follow in their respective order:
The title page of your extended essay should have the following information:
- The essay’s title
- Your research question
- The subject of the essay
- The word count
Note that the word count of your extended essay must not exceed 4,000 words. IB strongly advises examiners NOT to read materials that exceed the word limit.
And don’t forget that writing more words can easily lead to the self-penalization across all criteria.
Make sure you provide all the contents page right at the beginning of the essay.
Each page should have number. Examiners often disregard the index page and won’t consider it if they see one in your essay.
The introduction of an extended essay shouldn’t be difficult to write, in part because you’re working on a subject of your choice.
However, you need to make sure it clearly explains to the reader what to expect in the essay.
Body of the Essay
This is where a lot of work is, and your presentation should be in the form of reasonable argument.
Although this form will vary depending on the subject, the argument you develop should clearly show the evidence you’ve discovered and demonstrate how it supports your claim in the essay.
As you work on your essay, please consider the expected conventions of the subject you’re working on.
Include as much relevant information in the essay as you possibly can, making sure you don’t include significant information in the footnote because that might make your essay read as incomplete.
In the conclusion, your extended essay should clearly explain what your research has achieved. Also, this is the section where you include questions your research failed to solve and the limitations noted in your work.
Note that the conclusion of your essay must relate to the research question.
References and bibliography
Use the given style of academic referencing. We strongly recommend that you include references in your essay as soon as you start writing so that you don’t forget the citations.
What Formatting Should I Use for my Extended Essay?
IB recommends that you write your EE in a clear, correct, and formal academic style, without an exception for any subject.
In other words, your extended essay is a formal piece of writing that should sound professional in tone and remain 100% academic in format from the start to the end of the essay.
Your teacher and supervisor looks forward to seeing the following formatting reflected in your extended essay:
- Times New Roman, 12-point font
- Page number positioned at the top right corner
- No student, school, or supervisor name on the page headers or title page
About the author
Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.
Writing an Abstract for Your Research Paper
Definition and Purpose of Abstracts
An abstract is a short summary of your (published or unpublished) research paper, usually about a paragraph (c. 6-7 sentences, 150-250 words) long. A well-written abstract serves multiple purposes:
- an abstract lets readers get the gist or essence of your paper or article quickly, in order to decide whether to read the full paper;
- an abstract prepares readers to follow the detailed information, analyses, and arguments in your full paper;
- and, later, an abstract helps readers remember key points from your paper.
It’s also worth remembering that search engines and bibliographic databases use abstracts, as well as the title, to identify key terms for indexing your published paper. So what you include in your abstract and in your title are crucial for helping other researchers find your paper or article.
If you are writing an abstract for a course paper, your professor may give you specific guidelines for what to include and how to organize your abstract. Similarly, academic journals often have specific requirements for abstracts. So in addition to following the advice on this page, you should be sure to look for and follow any guidelines from the course or journal you’re writing for.
The Contents of an Abstract
Abstracts contain most of the following kinds of information in brief form. The body of your paper will, of course, develop and explain these ideas much more fully. As you will see in the samples below, the proportion of your abstract that you devote to each kind of information—and the sequence of that information—will vary, depending on the nature and genre of the paper that you are summarizing in your abstract. And in some cases, some of this information is implied, rather than stated explicitly. The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , which is widely used in the social sciences, gives specific guidelines for what to include in the abstract for different kinds of papers—for empirical studies, literature reviews or meta-analyses, theoretical papers, methodological papers, and case studies.
Here are the typical kinds of information found in most abstracts:
- the context or background information for your research; the general topic under study; the specific topic of your research
- the central questions or statement of the problem your research addresses
- what’s already known about this question, what previous research has done or shown
- the main reason(s) , the exigency, the rationale , the goals for your research—Why is it important to address these questions? Are you, for example, examining a new topic? Why is that topic worth examining? Are you filling a gap in previous research? Applying new methods to take a fresh look at existing ideas or data? Resolving a dispute within the literature in your field? . . .
- your research and/or analytical methods
- your main findings , results , or arguments
- the significance or implications of your findings or arguments.
Your abstract should be intelligible on its own, without a reader’s having to read your entire paper. And in an abstract, you usually do not cite references—most of your abstract will describe what you have studied in your research and what you have found and what you argue in your paper. In the body of your paper, you will cite the specific literature that informs your research.
When to Write Your Abstract
Although you might be tempted to write your abstract first because it will appear as the very first part of your paper, it’s a good idea to wait to write your abstract until after you’ve drafted your full paper, so that you know what you’re summarizing.
What follows are some sample abstracts in published papers or articles, all written by faculty at UW-Madison who come from a variety of disciplines. We have annotated these samples to help you see the work that these authors are doing within their abstracts.
Choosing Verb Tenses within Your Abstract
The social science sample (Sample 1) below uses the present tense to describe general facts and interpretations that have been and are currently true, including the prevailing explanation for the social phenomenon under study. That abstract also uses the present tense to describe the methods, the findings, the arguments, and the implications of the findings from their new research study. The authors use the past tense to describe previous research.
The humanities sample (Sample 2) below uses the past tense to describe completed events in the past (the texts created in the pulp fiction industry in the 1970s and 80s) and uses the present tense to describe what is happening in those texts, to explain the significance or meaning of those texts, and to describe the arguments presented in the article.
The science samples (Samples 3 and 4) below use the past tense to describe what previous research studies have done and the research the authors have conducted, the methods they have followed, and what they have found. In their rationale or justification for their research (what remains to be done), they use the present tense. They also use the present tense to introduce their study (in Sample 3, “Here we report . . .”) and to explain the significance of their study (In Sample 3, This reprogramming . . . “provides a scalable cell source for. . .”).
Sample Abstract 1
From the social sciences.
Reporting new findings about the reasons for increasing economic homogamy among spouses
Gonalons-Pons, Pilar, and Christine R. Schwartz. “Trends in Economic Homogamy: Changes in Assortative Mating or the Division of Labor in Marriage?” Demography , vol. 54, no. 3, 2017, pp. 985-1005.
Sample Abstract 2
From the humanities.
Analyzing underground pulp fiction publications in Tanzania, this article makes an argument about the cultural significance of those publications
Emily Callaci. “Street Textuality: Socialism, Masculinity, and Urban Belonging in Tanzania’s Pulp Fiction Publishing Industry, 1975-1985.” Comparative Studies in Society and History , vol. 59, no. 1, 2017, pp. 183-210.
Sample Abstract/Summary 3
From the sciences.
Reporting a new method for reprogramming adult mouse fibroblasts into induced cardiac progenitor cells
Lalit, Pratik A., Max R. Salick, Daryl O. Nelson, Jayne M. Squirrell, Christina M. Shafer, Neel G. Patel, Imaan Saeed, Eric G. Schmuck, Yogananda S. Markandeya, Rachel Wong, Martin R. Lea, Kevin W. Eliceiri, Timothy A. Hacker, Wendy C. Crone, Michael Kyba, Daniel J. Garry, Ron Stewart, James A. Thomson, Karen M. Downs, Gary E. Lyons, and Timothy J. Kamp. “Lineage Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Proliferative Induced Cardiac Progenitor Cells by Defined Factors.” Cell Stem Cell , vol. 18, 2016, pp. 354-367.
Sample Abstract 4, a Structured Abstract
Reporting results about the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis, from a rigorously controlled study
Note: This journal requires authors to organize their abstract into four specific sections, with strict word limits. Because the headings for this structured abstract are self-explanatory, we have chosen not to add annotations to this sample abstract.
Wald, Ellen R., David Nash, and Jens Eickhoff. “Effectiveness of Amoxicillin/Clavulanate Potassium in the Treatment of Acute Bacterial Sinusitis in Children.” Pediatrics , vol. 124, no. 1, 2009, pp. 9-15.
“OBJECTIVE: The role of antibiotic therapy in managing acute bacterial sinusitis (ABS) in children is controversial. The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of high-dose amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate in the treatment of children diagnosed with ABS.
METHODS : This was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Children 1 to 10 years of age with a clinical presentation compatible with ABS were eligible for participation. Patients were stratified according to age (<6 or ≥6 years) and clinical severity and randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin (90 mg/kg) with potassium clavulanate (6.4 mg/kg) or placebo. A symptom survey was performed on days 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 20, and 30. Patients were examined on day 14. Children’s conditions were rated as cured, improved, or failed according to scoring rules.
RESULTS: Two thousand one hundred thirty-five children with respiratory complaints were screened for enrollment; 139 (6.5%) had ABS. Fifty-eight patients were enrolled, and 56 were randomly assigned. The mean age was 6630 months. Fifty (89%) patients presented with persistent symptoms, and 6 (11%) presented with nonpersistent symptoms. In 24 (43%) children, the illness was classified as mild, whereas in the remaining 32 (57%) children it was severe. Of the 28 children who received the antibiotic, 14 (50%) were cured, 4 (14%) were improved, 4(14%) experienced treatment failure, and 6 (21%) withdrew. Of the 28children who received placebo, 4 (14%) were cured, 5 (18%) improved, and 19 (68%) experienced treatment failure. Children receiving the antibiotic were more likely to be cured (50% vs 14%) and less likely to have treatment failure (14% vs 68%) than children receiving the placebo.
CONCLUSIONS : ABS is a common complication of viral upper respiratory infections. Amoxicillin/potassium clavulanate results in significantly more cures and fewer failures than placebo, according to parental report of time to resolution.” (9)
Some Excellent Advice about Writing Abstracts for Basic Science Research Papers, by Professor Adriano Aguzzi from the Institute of Neuropathology at the University of Zurich:
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APA Abstract (2020) | Formatting, Length, and Keywords
Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 3, 2022.
An APA abstract is a comprehensive summary of your paper in which you briefly address the research problem , hypotheses , methods , results , and implications of your research. It’s placed on a separate page right after the title page and is usually no longer than 250 words.
Most professional papers that are submitted for publication require an abstract. Student papers typically don’t need an abstract, unless instructed otherwise.
Table of contents
How to format the abstract, how to write an apa abstract, which keywords to use, frequently asked questions, apa abstract example.
Follow these five steps to format your abstract in APA Style:
- Insert a running head (for a professional paper—not needed for a student paper) and page number.
- Set page margins to 1 inch (2.54 cm).
- Write “Abstract” (bold and centered) at the top of the page.
- Do not indent the first line.
- Double-space the text.
- Use a legible font like Times New Roman (12 pt.).
- Limit the length to 250 words.
- Indent the first line 0.5 inches.
- Write the label “Keywords:” (italicized).
- Write keywords in lowercase letters.
- Separate keywords with commas.
- Do not use a period after the keywords.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
The abstract is a self-contained piece of text that informs the reader what your research is about. It’s best to write the abstract after you’re finished with the rest of your paper.
The questions below may help structure your abstract. Try answering them in one to three sentences each.
- What is the problem? Outline the objective, research questions , and/or hypotheses .
- What has been done? Explain your research methods .
- What did you discover? Summarize the key findings and conclusions .
- What do the findings mean? Summarize the discussion and recommendations .
Check out our guide on how to write an abstract for more guidance and an annotated example.
Guide: writing an abstract
At the end of the abstract, you may include a few keywords that will be used for indexing if your paper is published on a database. Listing your keywords will help other researchers find your work.
Choosing relevant keywords is essential. Try to identify keywords that address your topic, method, or population. APA recommends including three to five keywords.
An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:
- To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
- To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.
Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarizes the contents of your paper.
An APA abstract is around 150–250 words long. However, always check your target journal’s guidelines and don’t exceed the specified word count.
In an APA Style paper , the abstract is placed on a separate page after the title page (page 2).
Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:
- The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
- The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.
There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.
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Research Skills: Write an abstract
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- IB - Extended Essay
- A-level - Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)
Write an abstract
Write an abstract
An abstract must be included for the IB Extended Essay but not for the A-level Extended Project Qualification (EPQ).
An abstract is seperate from the actual essay and provides a preview of the whole essay.
In the 'Present' section:
Quote, paraphrase and summarise
Reference your sources
Plan a presentation
The abstract for the Extended Essay must:
- Be a maximum of 300 words in length
- Contain your research question
- Include your main conclusions
- Explain how you went about gathering the information, evidence and data that you have used
Quick tip: Write your abstract when all other parts of your essay have been completed.
Find more information in this slideshow:
Presentation by Mrs J Makselon, Tanglin Trust School
(Extended Essay students are not required to prepare a presentation)
(don't forget, an abstract is NOT required for EPQ)
- Last Updated: Apr 3, 2023 10:38 AM
- URL: https://libguides.tts.edu.sg/research
International Baccalaureate/Extended Essay Tips
- 1.1 Recommendations
- 22.214.171.124 Essay Competitions
- 1.3.1 Citing Sources
- 1.3.2 Organization
- 1.3.3 IBO Official Guide
Introduction and Getting Started!
Start Working NOW!
The Extended Essay (EE) is one of the requirements of the IB Diploma Programme. It provides students with an opportunity to conduct independent research on a topic of interest to them. It is written on a freely-chosen topic as long as there is a subject teacher in school, as the candidate must have a subject supervisor.
The IBO recommends that candidates spend approximately 40 hours in total on their extended essays, and if you put it off until that last weekend, your work won't be nearly as good as it can be. Talk to your IB school supervisor, as it is his or her job to set internal school deadlines (i.e. choosing a topic, formulating an outline, rough draft, final draft, etc).
- Firstly, find a topic you're actually interested in, or you'll never work on it.
- Don't stress. After doing all your research 4,000 words is nothing (your first draft could be 6,000-8,000 words). While the Extended Essay has the potential to make you hate your own topic (as many academic assignments do), an interest in the topic can motivate you to pull through in the end.
- Many students are appalled at the sheer number of words that this task requires. But by following the guidelines set out for you, you'll quickly realize how hard pressed you will be to contain your work to the limit.
- Make sure that your focus is somewhat specific, or that you have a specific topic in mind (instead of just a general subject area).
- Example : Your final essay title should be somewhat similar to the style used in the Internal Assessments for the 20th Century World Issues course - specific and focused with some form of cause and effect. Check the official Extended Essay guidelines for more on this - it offers sample essay titles (along with title choosing advice and essay titles to avoid) for each subject area.
- If the above example does not apply to you, perhaps ask your IB Coordinator for examples from students past. Many of them keep a record of every essay, mainly to ensure there is no plagiarism.
- Make sure you stay on top of the work.
- Look over the guidelines and the explanations.
To get a diploma, you need to complete the TOK Essay and the Extended Essay. At best, you can achieve 3 bonus points towards your IB diploma, so don't ignore your schoolwork, as your courses are worth much more. The point matrix is outlined in the "Diploma Points Matrix for the Extended Essay and TOK" grid in the IBO form. You can still get your diploma if you get a "Mediocre" on one and an "Elementary" on another. NOTE: As of May 2010, an 'Elementary' on both TOK and Extended essay is an automatic fail, but you may still pass with an 'Elementary' on either one, just not both. An 'Elementary' on either is a so called 'failing condition' which requires a minimum 28 points rather than the usual 24 to obtain your diploma.
However, you can make a very good essay, provided you allot yourself enough time to write about something you are interested in. The IBO knows that you are between 16 and 18 years old and thus does not require a perfect essay or a groundbreaking new discovery. They just want to see that you can work on and complete a big project.
Picking a Topic
You'll want to write about a topic or subject you're fairly familiar with. For instance, if you've nailed the process of writing labs, do a science investigation. It'll be just like a big lab write-up, and writing the method, materials, qualitative/quantitative observations are all part of the word count, and take up a significant amount of words.
Find out if there are competitions or scholarship opportunities in which you can enter your essay. Why not kill two birds with one stone and head off to university with a scholarship? If you don't win, at least you'll get feedback, something the IBO neglects to give.
Writing a Good Extended Essay
Everyone wants to write a good Extended Essay, but just remember that it's really not as overwhelming as it sounds. Some candidates will find their first drafts are in the 6,000 to 8,000 range, while others will reach about 2800-3500. In fact, keep in mind that 4,000 words is the maximum word count and not where you must get to. While most essays have a word count in the 3,900 range, it is perfectly acceptable to submit an essay that is 3,500 words. While there is no actual minimum word count, you would probably want to write over 3,000 words, since a short essay might imply that the topic was not investigated thoroughly enough. However, some topics - mathematics among them - may require only 2,000 words to fully investigate them.
Keep legible, consistent and accurate notes that include bibliographic information. There's nothing more annoying than browsing through a 1200 page book looking for where that key quotation came from. Cite your sources in a consistent manner (either in MLA or APA format, or some other recognized format). IBO is very strict with plagiarism, so remember that the text has to be your own and do not forget to make references. You will have to sign an IBO form certifying that your EE is your own, and has no unsourced material in it, before they will even read your essay. Failure to submit an Extended Essay will result in no diploma being awarded.
Use the internet to find information but do include books in your research especially if your essay is not on the Sciences. Be skeptical in your use of the internet. Anyone can post anything, so read with a critical eye. Generally, university and academic websites are good sources to refer to. News sources are generally reliable, but be sure to stay away from "gossip" media which often contorts the truth.
Keep in mind that a general guide line used in many schools is 5 sources minimum for the IA in History, so if you are doing a History paper aim to have as close to ten sources as possible if not more for the EE.
Once you have researched your topic, you should spend a lot of time structuring and organizing your essay. Make sure your essay has a clear introduction, research question/focus (i.e. what you will be investigating), body, and conclusion. A poorly organized or unclear essay will hurt the assessment of your essay. You should also spend some time making sure that your 300-word abstract is clear and succinct in summarizing your essay. An unclear abstract will make your essay difficult to understand and will also hurt the assessment of your essay.
Although this is stated in the "General Requirements" for the Extended Essay, I feel it is necessary to repeat: if you are doing a paper in a subject not offered at your school, be very careful , especially if doing your paper in World Religions. You might want to either reconsider your choice of topic, or make sure you have several people with good credibility in that topic reading your paper. If you don't, especially in World Religions, you could end up offending your reader, and I promise you, you do not want to do that.
You can do your extended essay on any topic for which an IB class exists - i.e. something like Islamic History, which only about 100 candidates a year write about. However, you cannot do your extended essay in Theory of Knowledge, most pilot subjects and school-based syllabus subjects (check with your IB coordinator). Bear in mind that getting a good score in your extended essay, combined with your score for your Theory of Knowledge essay, may reward you with up to 3 bonus points. So aim high!
IBO Official Guide
The IBO's official guide to writing the Extended Essay can be found here: http://xmltwo.ibo.org/publications/DP/Group0/d_0_eeyyy_gui_1012_1/html/production-app3.ibo.org/publication/258/part/1/chapter/1.html
The above site is quite useful in perusing tips and hints for writing the essay, in addition to viewing the IBO standards for the essay. Note that the above link is for consideration purposes only.
"three: The Ultimate Student's Guide to Acing the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge" by Alexander Zouev - a book full of tips and time savers for IB EE.
- Book:International Baccalaureate
The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.
One component of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) core, the extended essay is mandatory for all students.
Read about the extended essay in greater detail.
You can also read about how the IB sets deadlines for the extended essay , find examples of extended essay titles from previous DP students and learn about the world studies extended essay .
Learn more about the extended essay in a DP workshop for teachers .
DP subject briefs
Find out about what each subject offers within the Diploma Programme (DP).
Our DP subject briefs—for both standard and higher level—contain information about core requirements, aims and assessment.
- Explore the DP subject briefs
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Writing an abstract - a six point checklist (with samples)
Posted in: abstract , dissertations
The abstract is a vital part of any research paper. It is the shop front for your work, and the first stop for your reader. It should provide a clear and succinct summary of your study, and encourage your readers to read more. An effective abstract, therefore should answer the following questions:
- Why did you do this study or project?
- What did you do and how?
- What did you find?
- What do your findings mean?
So here's our run down of the key elements of a well-written abstract.
- Size - A succinct and well written abstract should be between approximately 100- 250 words.
- Background - An effective abstract usually includes some scene-setting information which might include what is already known about the subject, related to the paper in question (a few short sentences).
- Purpose - The abstract should also set out the purpose of your research, in other words, what is not known about the subject and hence what the study intended to examine (or what the paper seeks to present).
- Methods - The methods section should contain enough information to enable the reader to understand what was done, and how. It should include brief details of the research design, sample size, duration of study, and so on.
- Results - The results section is the most important part of the abstract. This is because readers who skim an abstract do so to learn about the findings of the study. The results section should therefore contain as much detail about the findings as the journal word count permits.
- Conclusion - This section should contain the most important take-home message of the study, expressed in a few precisely worded sentences. Usually, the finding highlighted here relates to the primary outcomes of the study. However, other important or unexpected findings should also be mentioned. It is also customary, but not essential, to express an opinion about the theoretical or practical implications of the findings, or the importance of their findings for the field. Thus, the conclusions may contain three elements:
- The primary take-home message
- Any additional findings of importance
- Implications for future studies
Example Abstract 2: Engineering Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone.
Abstract from: Dalstra, M., Huiskes, R. and Van Erning, L., 1995. Development and validation of a three-dimensional finite element model of the pelvic bone. Journal of biomechanical engineering, 117(3), pp.272-278.
And finally... A word on abstract types and styles
Abstract types can differ according to subject discipline. You need to determine therefore which type of abstract you should include with your paper. Here are two of the most common types with examples.
The majority of abstracts are informative. While they still do not critique or evaluate a work, they do more than describe it. A good informative abstract acts as a surrogate for the work itself. That is, the researcher presents and explains all the main arguments and the important results and evidence in the paper. An informative abstract includes the information that can be found in a descriptive abstract [purpose, methods, scope] but it also includes the results and conclusions of the research and the recommendations of the author. The length varies according to discipline, but an informative abstract is usually no more than 300 words in length.
Descriptive Abstract A descriptive abstract indicates the type of information found in the work. It makes no judgements about the work, nor does it provide results or conclusions of the research. It does incorporate key words found in the text and may include the purpose, methods, and scope of the research. Essentially, the descriptive abstract only describes the work being summarised. Some researchers consider it an outline of the work, rather than a summary. Descriptive abstracts are usually very short, 100 words or less.
(Adapted from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136027/ )
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- Knowledge Base
- How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples
How to Write an Abstract | Steps & Examples
Published on 1 March 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on 10 October 2022 by Eoghan Ryan.
An abstract is a short summary of a longer work (such as a dissertation or research paper ). The abstract concisely reports the aims and outcomes of your research, so that readers know exactly what your paper is about.
Although the structure may vary slightly depending on your discipline, your abstract should describe the purpose of your work, the methods you’ve used, and the conclusions you’ve drawn.
One common way to structure your abstract is to use the IMRaD structure. This stands for:
Abstracts are usually around 100–300 words, but there’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check the relevant requirements.
In a dissertation or thesis , include the abstract on a separate page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
Table of contents
Abstract example, when to write an abstract, step 1: introduction, step 2: methods, step 3: results, step 4: discussion, tips for writing an abstract, frequently asked questions about abstracts.
Hover over the different parts of the abstract to see how it is constructed.
This paper examines the role of silent movies as a mode of shared experience in the UK during the early twentieth century. At this time, high immigration rates resulted in a significant percentage of non-English-speaking citizens. These immigrants faced numerous economic and social obstacles, including exclusion from public entertainment and modes of discourse (newspapers, theater, radio).
Incorporating evidence from reviews, personal correspondence, and diaries, this study demonstrates that silent films were an affordable and inclusive source of entertainment. It argues for the accessible economic and representational nature of early cinema. These concerns are particularly evident in the low price of admission and in the democratic nature of the actors’ exaggerated gestures, which allowed the plots and action to be easily grasped by a diverse audience despite language barriers.
Keywords: silent movies, immigration, public discourse, entertainment, early cinema, language barriers.
Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.
You will almost always have to include an abstract when:
- Completing a thesis or dissertation
- Submitting a research paper to an academic journal
- Writing a book proposal
- Applying for research grants
It’s easiest to write your abstract last, because it’s a summary of the work you’ve already done. Your abstract should:
- Be a self-contained text, not an excerpt from your paper
- Be fully understandable on its own
- Reflect the structure of your larger work
Start by clearly defining the purpose of your research. What practical or theoretical problem does the research respond to, or what research question did you aim to answer?
You can include some brief context on the social or academic relevance of your topic, but don’t go into detailed background information. If your abstract uses specialised terms that would be unfamiliar to the average academic reader or that have various different meanings, give a concise definition.
After identifying the problem, state the objective of your research. Use verbs like “investigate,” “test,” “analyse,” or “evaluate” to describe exactly what you set out to do.
This part of the abstract can be written in the present or past simple tense but should never refer to the future, as the research is already complete.
- This study will investigate the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
- This study investigates the relationship between coffee consumption and productivity.
Next, indicate the research methods that you used to answer your question. This part should be a straightforward description of what you did in one or two sentences. It is usually written in the past simple tense, as it refers to completed actions.
- Structured interviews will be conducted with 25 participants.
- Structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants.
Don’t evaluate validity or obstacles here — the goal is not to give an account of the methodology’s strengths and weaknesses, but to give the reader a quick insight into the overall approach and procedures you used.
Next, summarise the main research results . This part of the abstract can be in the present or past simple tense.
- Our analysis has shown a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
- Our analysis shows a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
- Our analysis showed a strong correlation between coffee consumption and productivity.
Depending on how long and complex your research is, you may not be able to include all results here. Try to highlight only the most important findings that will allow the reader to understand your conclusions.
Finally, you should discuss the main conclusions of your research : what is your answer to the problem or question? The reader should finish with a clear understanding of the central point that your research has proved or argued. Conclusions are usually written in the present simple tense.
- We concluded that coffee consumption increases productivity.
- We conclude that coffee consumption increases productivity.
If there are important limitations to your research (for example, related to your sample size or methods), you should mention them briefly in the abstract. This allows the reader to accurately assess the credibility and generalisability of your research.
If your aim was to solve a practical problem, your discussion might include recommendations for implementation. If relevant, you can briefly make suggestions for further research.
If your paper will be published, you might have to add a list of keywords at the end of the abstract. These keywords should reference the most important elements of the research to help potential readers find your paper during their own literature searches.
Be aware that some publication manuals, such as APA Style , have specific formatting requirements for these keywords.
It can be a real challenge to condense your whole work into just a couple of hundred words, but the abstract will be the first (and sometimes only) part that people read, so it’s important to get it right. These strategies can help you get started.
Read other abstracts
The best way to learn the conventions of writing an abstract in your discipline is to read other people’s. You probably already read lots of journal article abstracts while conducting your literature review —try using them as a framework for structure and style.
You can also find lots of dissertation abstract examples in thesis and dissertation databases .
Not all abstracts will contain precisely the same elements. For longer works, you can write your abstract through a process of reverse outlining.
For each chapter or section, list keywords and draft one to two sentences that summarise the central point or argument. This will give you a framework of your abstract’s structure. Next, revise the sentences to make connections and show how the argument develops.
Write clearly and concisely
A good abstract is short but impactful, so make sure every word counts. Each sentence should clearly communicate one main point.
To keep your abstract or summary short and clear:
- Avoid passive sentences: Passive constructions are often unnecessarily long. You can easily make them shorter and clearer by using the active voice.
- Avoid long sentences: Substitute longer expressions for concise expressions or single words (e.g., “In order to” for “To”).
- Avoid obscure jargon: The abstract should be understandable to readers who are not familiar with your topic.
- Avoid repetition and filler words: Replace nouns with pronouns when possible and eliminate unnecessary words.
- Avoid detailed descriptions: An abstract is not expected to provide detailed definitions, background information, or discussions of other scholars’ work. Instead, include this information in the body of your thesis or paper.
If you’re struggling to edit down to the required length, you can get help from expert editors with Scribbr’s professional proofreading services .
Check your formatting
If you are writing a thesis or dissertation or submitting to a journal, there are often specific formatting requirements for the abstract—make sure to check the guidelines and format your work correctly. For APA research papers you can follow the APA abstract format .
The word count is within the required length, or a maximum of one page.
The abstract appears after the title page and acknowledgements and before the table of contents .
I have clearly stated my research problem and objectives.
I have briefly described my methodology .
I have summarized the most important results .
I have stated my main conclusions .
I have mentioned any important limitations and recommendations.
The abstract can be understood by someone without prior knowledge of the topic.
You've written a great abstract! Use the other checklists to continue improving your thesis or dissertation.
An abstract is a concise summary of an academic text (such as a journal article or dissertation ). It serves two main purposes:
- To help potential readers determine the relevance of your paper for their own research.
- To communicate your key findings to those who don’t have time to read the whole paper.
Abstracts are often indexed along with keywords on academic databases, so they make your work more easily findable. Since the abstract is the first thing any reader sees, it’s important that it clearly and accurately summarises the contents of your paper.
An abstract for a thesis or dissertation is usually around 150–300 words. There’s often a strict word limit, so make sure to check your university’s requirements.
The abstract is the very last thing you write. You should only write it after your research is complete, so that you can accurately summarize the entirety of your thesis or paper.
Avoid citing sources in your abstract . There are two reasons for this:
- The abstract should focus on your original research, not on the work of others.
- The abstract should be self-contained and fully understandable without reference to other sources.
There are some circumstances where you might need to mention other sources in an abstract: for example, if your research responds directly to another study or focuses on the work of a single theorist. In general, though, don’t include citations unless absolutely necessary.
The abstract appears on its own page, after the title page and acknowledgements but before the table of contents .
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The IB extended essay is a paper of up to 4,000 words that is required for students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program. The extended essay allows students to engage in independent research on a topic within one of the available subject areas.
The extended essay should be an original piece of academic writing that demonstrates the following student's abilities:
- Formulating a research question
- Conductig independent investigation
- Presenting key findings in a scholarly format.
Check out this article by StudyCrumb to discover how to write an IB extendend essay properly. We will give you a complete writing guide and critical tips you need for this essay type.
IB Extended Essay: What Is It?
An extended essay is independent research. Usually students choose a topic in consultation with a mentor. It is an integral part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) degree program. This means that you won't receive a degree without a successfully written paper. It requires 4,000-word study on a chosen narrow topic. To get a high score, you should meet all required structure and formatting standards. This is the result of approximately 40 working hours. Its purpose is giving you the opportunity to try independent research writing. It's approved that these skills are critical for student success at university. The following sections explain how to write an extended article with examples. So keep reading!
Choosing a Mentor for Extended Essay
IB extended essay guidelines require supervisor meetings, totaling 3-5 hours. They include three critical reflections. A mentor won't write a paper instead of you but can help adjust it. So it is important to consult with them, but no one will proofread or correct actual research for you. In general, initially treat an essay as an exclusively individual work. So your role and contribution are maximal.
Extended Essay Outline
Let's take a look at how to write an extended essay outline. In this part, you organize yourself so that your work develops your idea. So we especially recommend you work out this step with your teacher. You can also find any outline example for essay . In your short sketch, plan a roadmap for your thoughts. Think through and prepare a summary of each paragraph. Then, expand annotation of each section with a couple more supporting evidence. Explain how specific examples illustrate key points. Make it more significant by using different opinions on general issues.
Extended Essay: Getting Started
After you chose an extended essay topic and made an outline, it's time to start your research. Start with a complete Table of Contents and make a choice of a research question. Select the subject in which you feel most confident and which is most interesting for you. For example, if at school you are interested in natural science, focus on that. If you have difficulties choosing a research question, rely on our essay topic generator .
Extended Essay Introduction
In the introduction of an extended essay, present a thesis statement. But do it in such a way that your readers understand the importance of your research. State research question clearly. That is the central question that you are trying to answer while writing. Even your score depends on how you develop your particular research question. Therefore, it is essential to draw it up correctly. Gather all relevant information from relevant sources. Explain why this is worth exploring. Then provide a research plan, which you will disclose further.
Extended Essay Methodology
In accordance with extended essay guidelines, it's mandatory to choose and clearly state a methodological approach. So, it will be apparent to your examiner how you answered your research question. Include your collection methods and tools you use for collection and analysis. Your strategies can be experimental or descriptive, quantitative or qualitative. Research collection tools include observations, questionnaires, interviews, or background knowledge.
Extended Essay Main Body
Well, here we come to the most voluminous part of the extended essay for IB! In every essay body paragraph , you reveal your research question and discuss your topic. Provide all details of your academic study. But stay focused and do it without dubious ideas. Use different sources of information to provide supporting arguments and substantial evidence. This will impress professors. For this section, 3 main paragraphs are enough. Discuss each idea or argument in a separate paragraph. You can even use supporting quotes where appropriate. But don't overcomplicate. Make your extended essay easy to read and logical. It's critical to stay concise, so if you aren't sure how to make your text readable, use our tool to get a readbility test . Following the plan you outlined earlier is very important. Analyze each fact before including it in your writing. And don't write unnecessary information.
Extended Essay Conclusion
Now let's move on to the final part of IB extended essay guidelines. In conclusion, focus on summarizing the main points you have made. No new ideas or information can be introduced in this part. Use conclusion as your last chance to impress your readers. Reframe your own strong thesis. Here you must show all key points. Do not repeat absolutely every argument. Better try to make this part unique. This will show that you have a clear understanding of the topic you have chosen. And even more professional will be recommendations of new areas for future research. One good paragraph may be enough here. Although in some cases, two or three paragraphs may be required.
Extended Essay Bibliography & Appendices
To write an impressive extended essay, you should focus on appropriate information. You must create a separate page for bibliography with all sources you used. Tip from us: start writing this page with the first quote you use. Don't write this part last or postpone. In turn, appendices are not an essential section. Examiners will not pay much attention to this part. Therefore, include all information directly related to analysis and argumentation in the main body. Include raw data in the appendix only if it is really urgently needed. Moreover, it is better not to refer to appendices in text itself. This can disrupt the narrative of the essay.
Extended Essay Examples
We have prepared a good example of an extended essay. You can check it by downloading it for free. You can use it as a template. However, pay attention that your paper is required to be unique. Don't be afraid to present all the skills you gained during your IB.
Final Thoughts on IB Extended Essay
In this article, we presented detailed IB extended essay guidelines. An extended essay is a daunting academic challenge to write. It is a research paper with a deep thematic analysis of information. But we have described several practical and straightforward tips. Therefore, we are sure that you will succeed!
If topics seem too complex, turn to our top essay writers. They will accomplish any IB assignment in the best way your professor can evaluate it!
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How to Write an Extended Essay: from Outline to Conclusion
Writing an Extended Essay
As a student, especially those pursuing International Baccalaureate (IB), you will be faced with the challenge of coming up with an extended essay. But few students do not know how to write long essays like an extended essay. That is where we come in.
In this comprehensive guide, I will guide you on the 8 steps to follow when writing a good extended essay and provide you with examples of topics you can use.
As noted by one of our top essay writers for hire , extended essays are not like your ordinary essays. As the name suggests, they are extended versions of essays and it may take longer and a unique approach to writing them.
However, before delving into such details, it is important to first understand what extended essays are.
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What is an extended essay.
An extended essay (EE) is a form of writing that provides learners with a chance to carry out independent research concerning a topic of their interest. It is part of the requirements for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and its content is based on a freely-selected topic provided that there is an instructor for the subject in school since candidates should have a supervisor for the subjects.
To be more precise, an extended essay can be regarded as a 4000-word structured piece of writing centered on an International Baccalaureate student’s topic and it may take various forms.
What is meant by “it may take various forms” is that the way it looks depends on the topic selected. The next section will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write an extended essay.
How to Write an Extended Essay
When writing an extended essay, there 8 steps that should be taken to effectively complete it on time. Carefully read through the 8 steps to fully understand how to write an extended essay.
Step 1: Selecting a topic and researching on it
This is the first step that you should take before writing your extended essay.
As noted, extended essays will allow you to write on the topic of your interest.
However, various topics are provided by your instructor and it is upon you to select the topic that interests you.
You should keep in mind that the topic selected should have enough material and resources to support your topic and the position of your arguments concerning the topic.
Some topics may have limited resources.
At the same time, select a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow. A narrow topic may lack enough material to have a 4000-word extended essay while a broad topic may require a lot of supporting material that may exceed the 4000-word limit.
If you find the first step confusing or you find it difficult to tackle it on your own, it is advisable to seek a mentor/advisor. You should select an advisor or mentor with whom you will connect well and the one who understands the topic and what is required when writing extended essays.
Such a mentor will help you select the topic that fits your interest. While helping you select a topic that is not too narrow or broad, they should push you to deliver your best. Mentors/advisors can be your instructors or friends who have completed extended essays.
Once this is done, research extensively concerning your topic and ensure that the sources of your information are peer-reviewed and credible. They should provide the most recent research or information concerning your topic.
Note the sources of your information so that you can cite and reference them in your extended essay.
Step 2: Coming up With a Research Question
This is an important step because selecting a research question will provide you with a focused and clear summative statement to be used during your research.
It will act as a roadmap or a guideline that will help you during the writing process. It will also help you formulate a clear and concise thesis statement that will summarize your arguments and the position you will take in your extended essay.
Step 3: Structuring Your Extended Essay
As aforementioned, extended essays should always take an academic format. This means that it should have an acceptable academic structure.
At the same time, since International Baccalaureate (IB) guidelines are constantly updated, you should follow the latest guidelines so that you can utilize the latest format.
The acceptable format for your extended essay will include an introduction, methodology, main body, conclusion, bibliography, and appendices.
This will be the general structure for your extended essay.
It should be noted that this structure is not an outline.
What this means is that the structure should be considered when coming up with an outline.
Once you have decided the structure of your extended essay, come up with an outline based on your topic, thesis, and arguments.
An outline will act as a guide during the drafting process and it will save a lot of time.
This is because you will have already outlined your extended essay and what you will be doing is to add content to the points you have highlighted. Ensure that individual points translate to a single paragraph.
You should also note that the extended essay will have a table of contents. Therefore, the outline will be very important when coming up with your table of contents that is located after the cover page of your extended essay.
Step 4: Writing the Introduction
Once you have completed the above steps and you have come up with an outline based on the extended essay’s structure, the next step is to introduce your topic and elaborate it to your target readers.
There are various things you should consider when coming up with an introduction.
First of all, the introduction should be catchy and interesting.
This is because your readers will read it before deciding on whether to continue with the rest of the paper.
The best way to do this is to begin your introduction with something catchy or attention-grabbing sentence.
This will arouse the reader’s curiosity to know more about the topic.
The second thing you should know about the introduction is that it should offer a crisp and clear description of what you are going to talk about and the various strategies you will use to explore the topic. It all depends on the topic.
You can decide to highlight the issues that will be explored and the ways of addressing such issues. It is all about proving some brief background of what you will be exploring in the rest of the paper.
Do you remember that you formulated a research question after researching your topic? While introducing the topic of your extended essay, you should provide the context of your research question where you address the situation or the background from which the question comes.
While doing so, you should state the research question and elaborate on why answering the question is important for the paper’s findings.
The introduction should also tell the readers why the research you present in your extended essay is important, interesting, and/or valuable to the discipline and the audience.
Finally, you should conclude your introduction by writing your thesis statement. This should be the last sentence of your introduction paragraph(s).
Step 5: Methodology
This is also a very important step when writing an extended essay. To make sure that all the important aspects of the methodology are covered, you should divide this section into two.
The first section of the methodology explains your sources of information and the second section explores the related theories, topics, and arguments that will be used to explore your topic.
In the first section, you should describe every primary and/or secondary source used, why the sources are important, and their limitations.
Sources of secondary research can include news articles, annual reports for companies, business textbooks, magazine articles, and encyclopedias. The final thing you should do while in section 1 is to state the adjustments made in your research.
For the second section, you should provide a brief explanation of the theories that are going to be applied and the reason why they are the most appropriate in explaining your arguments.
Also, give the limitations of each theory, topic, or argument applied. Finally, state the changes made during the research and writing process.
Step 6: Drafting the Main Body
This should be the most elaborate part of your extended essay because you will concentrate on the research, analysis of the research, discussion, and evaluation.
You should try to retain the flow of step 5 that has steps 1 and 2. This will demonstrate that you understand the concepts of the International Baccalaureate while still addressing your topic using the relevant sources.
In the first section, for each of the theories, arguments, and topics used to address your topic, include about 4 examples of each to help you answer the research question effectively. Also, address the qualitative tools applied before the quantitative tools.
The second section goes beyond the course to educate your evaluator and/or readers concerning your topic. Explore the related concepts and theories deeply while providing different perspectives on the topic.
Remember that you should be evaluating the findings here. Use analytical insight to further explain your arguments and points of view. Graphs and other forms of data presentation can be used. However, they should apply to the research.
Step 7: Writing the Conclusion
In this step, you should sum up your arguments from all your sections. It is important to stipulate what has been researched and how it has helped answer the research question.
It should be noted that no new information should be added in the conclusion. Mention some limitations of the research and their impact, and the reasons behind such limitations.
Finally, state the thing(s) you can do differently if you were to write another extended essay.
Step 8: Bibliography and Appendices
On a different page or the next page after the conclusion, reference your sources of information using the correct format (APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard styles). Always remember to arrange the references from A to Z. Bibliography or references are not part of the word count.
The appendices section showcases the extra work you have done such as transcripts of the interviews conducted, additional analysis, and any other data that you found interesting but did not include in the body of your paper.
Once you are done with writing, thoroughly proofread your work and correct any grammatical or spelling errors made. Make sure that the work is well formatted with all the sections included.
At the same time, make sure that nothing in your paper is copy-pasted because it will be regarded as plagiarism. Always do this before submitting your extended essay.
Best Length of an Extended Essay
While there is no universally agreed minimum word count for an extended essay, you should not write less than 3,000 words. This is because lesser than that will demonstrate that you did not adequately research your topic.
Since the acceptable word limit on the upper side is 4,000 words, always strive to write more than 3,500 words. Unlike other types of essays like a GRE Essay that is short, an extended essay is long in terms of word count.
In other cases, the minimum word count is 1,500 words, and the maximum word count is 4,000 words. It is up to the student to decide what their word count should be. It is important not to go over or under the prescribed word count by more than 10%. The upper limit of 4000 words should be a guideline rather than a firm rule.
Can the extended essay be over 4000 words?
Yes, the extended essay may be up to 4000 words in length. The upper limit is 4,000 words for all extended essays. This upper limit includes the introduction, the body, the conclusion, and any quotations, but does not include:
- the abstract
- the contents page
- any diagrams, charts, tables, and graphs
- the bibliography
How many pages is an extended essay?
4000 words is 8 pages single spaced, and 16 pages double spaced. The number of pages changes depends on the number of words, the font, and the font size. Usually, the extended essay is 4000 words in length, so it is quite a bit longer than your average essay. Double-space, Times New Roman 12 is pretty much universal, in college anyway.
What are the extended essay minimum and maximum word count?
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12 Examples of Extended Essay topics
- What is the effect of age and gender on the photoreceptor cells in the human retina?
- How is climate change impacting the appearance of coral reefs?
- An evaluation of how antioxidants work in our bodies?
- Is there an association between viewing violence on television and the display of violent acts?
- What motivational climate should a coach employ to achieve optimal performance in athletes?
- How does the X hormone affect human behavior?
- How were women treated differently in the 1920s and 1950s Great Britain?
- What role did economics play in the unification of Germany from 1834 to 1871?
- How does the sugar concentration affect the refractive index of water?
- What factors influence the location of industries in country/city X?
- An investigation into the significance of preserving the quality of water in a continent/country/city?
- What effect does the coating of aspirin tablets have on the hydrolysis of aspirin?
Can You Redo an Extended Essay?
Yes. You can redo an extended essay if you appeal to the relevant institution about the reason(s) why you failed on the first try. You should provide credible and sensible reasons for you to be considered. It is only then that you are granted a retake.
Can You Fail an Extended Essay?
Yes. You can fail an extended essay if you do not follow the essay’s requirements, instructions, or rubric.
What Happens if You Fail an Extended Essay?
If you fail an extended essay, you will not graduate with a diploma. Therefore, if you fail, you should request a retake and do your best to write a good extended essay.
How many points is the extended essay worth?
The Extended Essay is a 4,000-word essay that you write on a topic of your choice. This counts towards your IB Diploma and it’s worth 3 points of your overall score.
The Extended Essay is often the most rewarding part of the IB Diploma. It gives you the chance to study something that you want to learn about in-depth, and it can be on any topic you choose – as long as there’s an expert to supervise it!
Can I publish my extended essay?
You may publish your extended essay. There are some things to consider before you do though: • Check that the subject of your essay is appropriate for publishing. Some subjects, such as science and math, may not be appropriate for publication because of how quickly the field develops. Also, check that your advisor approves of publishing the essay. • Check that you have gotten all the necessary permissions you need before you publish. • Check with your advisor if you have any doubts about these things.
Josh Jasen or JJ as we fondly call him, is a senior academic editor at Grade Bees in charge of the writing department. When not managing complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In his spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.
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Essay and dissertation writing skills
Planning your essay
Writing your introduction
Structuring your essay
- Writing essays in science subjects
- Brief video guides to support essay planning and writing
- Writing extended essays and dissertations
- Planning your dissertation writing time
Structuring your dissertation
- Top tips for writing longer pieces of work
Advice on planning and writing essays and dissertations
University essays differ from school essays in that they are less concerned with what you know and more concerned with how you construct an argument to answer the question. This means that the starting point for writing a strong essay is to first unpick the question and to then use this to plan your essay before you start putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).
A really good starting point for you are these short, downloadable Tips for Successful Essay Writing and Answering the Question resources. Both resources will help you to plan your essay, as well as giving you guidance on how to distinguish between different sorts of essay questions.
You may find it helpful to watch this seven-minute video on six tips for essay writing which outlines how to interpret essay questions, as well as giving advice on planning and structuring your writing:
Different disciplines will have different expectations for essay structure and you should always refer to your Faculty or Department student handbook or course Canvas site for more specific guidance.
However, broadly speaking, all essays share the following features:
Essays need an introduction to establish and focus the parameters of the discussion that will follow. You may find it helpful to divide the introduction into areas to demonstrate your breadth and engagement with the essay question. You might define specific terms in the introduction to show your engagement with the essay question; for example, ‘This is a large topic which has been variously discussed by many scientists and commentators. The principle tension is between the views of X and Y who define the main issues as…’ Breadth might be demonstrated by showing the range of viewpoints from which the essay question could be considered; for example, ‘A variety of factors including economic, social and political, influence A and B. This essay will focus on the social and economic aspects, with particular emphasis on…..’
Watch this two-minute video to learn more about how to plan and structure an introduction:
The main body of the essay should elaborate on the issues raised in the introduction and develop an argument(s) that answers the question. It should consist of a number of self-contained paragraphs each of which makes a specific point and provides some form of evidence to support the argument being made. Remember that a clear argument requires that each paragraph explicitly relates back to the essay question or the developing argument.
- Conclusion: An essay should end with a conclusion that reiterates the argument in light of the evidence you have provided; you shouldn’t use the conclusion to introduce new information.
- References: You need to include references to the materials you’ve used to write your essay. These might be in the form of footnotes, in-text citations, or a bibliography at the end. Different systems exist for citing references and different disciplines will use various approaches to citation. Ask your tutor which method(s) you should be using for your essay and also consult your Department or Faculty webpages for specific guidance in your discipline.
Essay writing in science subjects
If you are writing an essay for a science subject you may need to consider additional areas, such as how to present data or diagrams. This five-minute video gives you some advice on how to approach your reading list, planning which information to include in your answer and how to write for your scientific audience – the video is available here:
A PDF providing further guidance on writing science essays for tutorials is available to download.
Short videos to support your essay writing skills
There are many other resources at Oxford that can help support your essay writing skills and if you are short on time, the Oxford Study Skills Centre has produced a number of short (2-minute) videos covering different aspects of essay writing, including:
- Approaching different types of essay questions
- Structuring your essay
- Writing an introduction
- Making use of evidence in your essay writing
- Writing your conclusion
Extended essays and dissertations
Longer pieces of writing like extended essays and dissertations may seem like quite a challenge from your regular essay writing. The important point is to start with a plan and to focus on what the question is asking. A PDF providing further guidance on planning Humanities and Social Science dissertations is available to download.
Planning your time effectively
Try not to leave the writing until close to your deadline, instead start as soon as you have some ideas to put down onto paper. Your early drafts may never end up in the final work, but the work of committing your ideas to paper helps to formulate not only your ideas, but the method of structuring your writing to read well and conclude firmly.
Although many students and tutors will say that the introduction is often written last, it is a good idea to begin to think about what will go into it early on. For example, the first draft of your introduction should set out your argument, the information you have, and your methods, and it should give a structure to the chapters and sections you will write. Your introduction will probably change as time goes on but it will stand as a guide to your entire extended essay or dissertation and it will help you to keep focused.
The structure of extended essays or dissertations will vary depending on the question and discipline, but may include some or all of the following:
- The background information to - and context for - your research. This often takes the form of a literature review.
- Explanation of the focus of your work.
- Explanation of the value of this work to scholarship on the topic.
- List of the aims and objectives of the work and also the issues which will not be covered because they are outside its scope.
The main body of your extended essay or dissertation will probably include your methodology, the results of research, and your argument(s) based on your findings.
The conclusion is to summarise the value your research has added to the topic, and any further lines of research you would undertake given more time or resources.
Tips on writing longer pieces of work
Approaching each chapter of a dissertation as a shorter essay can make the task of writing a dissertation seem less overwhelming. Each chapter will have an introduction, a main body where the argument is developed and substantiated with evidence, and a conclusion to tie things together. Unlike in a regular essay, chapter conclusions may also introduce the chapter that will follow, indicating how the chapters are connected to one another and how the argument will develop through your dissertation.
For further guidance, watch this two-minute video on writing longer pieces of work .
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