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CHOOSING A TOPIC

What are you going to research?

Sometimes choosing a topic is the biggest hurdle in doing research. While IB candidates are encouraged to discuss their choice of topics and research questions with their supervisor and the IB librarian at your school, the candidate must "decide on the topic and the research question and develop his/her own ideas" (IB Extended Essay, p. 6).  Knowing where to look for Ideas can facilitate your choice of a topic as well as provide you with background information and a list of keywords.

Where can you get ideas?

Your interests, the things you have been reading, and conversations you have had in class of with others are often good sources of ideas. Think about the subject areas of the hexagon - which area interests you the most?

Sources of background information like general encyclopedias, subject specific encyclopedias, or textbooks can be sources of ideas.

Current periodicals and journals may give you an idea of hot research topics. Look through some recent issues of journals or magazines in the online periodicals databases listed on the Pearson's Database Library section of the Pearson's Virtual Learning Commons Web Page : GALE infotrac, and Alberta Online Reference Centre (ELibrary, Science Resource Centre, Opposing Viewpoints).

Browsing the shelves in the media centre is also a good way to get an idea of topics that have intrigued authors.

You can search Lester B. Pearson's Library Catalogue (e-Library)

What are your information requirements?

When analyzing your assignment, you will also what to consider the type, quantity, and format of information you will need. Answering the following questions may help you organize your extended essay research:

What are the Keywords that describe your topic?

Once you have identified your subject area, and you've completed some background reading think about questions your research might help you answer. State your topic as a question. Think about the significant terms, concepts, and keywords that describe your topic. These terms will become the key for searching online catalogs and databases, the Internet, and print resources for information about your topic. See the appendix on Key words at the end of the page on  Basic Steps in the Research process for additional tips on keywords and phrases.