Using Extended Essay Topics That Are Already on the Internet. Is It Good?

EE topics

As a seasoned IB writer, I’ve observed many students searching the Internet for Extended Essay topics. From my experience, this initial search is often a crucial step in tackling the demanding IB DP Programme. However, is relying on online-sourced topics a sound strategy? While the Internet is a goldmine of ideas, how students use these ideas can make a significant difference.

Advantages of Sourcing Essay Topics from the Internet

Each of these advantages underscores the Internet’s potential to enrich the Extended Essay process. However, from my perspective, it is crucial to approach online resources with a critical eye, ensuring originality and depth in your academic work.

Accessibility and Variety

Firstly, in my extensive experience with the IB curriculum, the Internet has proven invaluable resource offering unmatched accessibility to various topics. Students can find numerous essay prompts at their fingertips, which is incredibly beneficial when brainstorming. As I’ve observed, this wide variety enables students to investigate topics beyond typical classroom discussions, providing fresh perspectives and unexpected insights.

Inspiration and Ideas

Moreover, online topics can serve as an excellent source of inspiration. For instance, you might research a theme you hadn’t considered before, which could lead you to a unique essay angle. In my opinion, the real art lies not just in finding these topics but in how you transform them into something uniquely yours. Using a generic online topic to craft a personalized and in-depth question is a skill that aligns well with the IB’s emphasis on individual thought and analysis.

Efficiency in Topic Selection

From my experience, using the Internet significantly streamlines the topic selection process. This efficiency is critical given the demanding nature of the IB Extended Essay. By quickly identifying a viable topic, students can dedicate more time to refining their research questions and delving into substantial academic research.

Cross-Disciplinary Opportunities

Accessing topics online often exposes students to interdisciplinary themes that may not be highlighted within their school curriculum. As I know, the IB curriculum values the integration of knowledge across different disciplines, and the Internet facilitates this by offering topics that blend areas such as science, humanities, and arts, enhancing the depth and breadth of the student’s research.

Real-time Updates on Current Topics

Lastly, the Internet is a dynamic resource that reflects the latest trends and developments in almost real-time. According to general IB criteria, engaging with current topics can add a layer of relevance and urgency to an Extended Essay. This aspect is particularly beneficial for students keen on addressing contemporary issues, ensuring their research is aligned with ongoing global conversations.

Potential Pitfalls of Relying on Internet-Sourced Topics

While the Internet offers vast resources for sourcing Extended Essay topics, it also presents several pitfalls that students should be wary of. As a seasoned IB writer, I have seen many students fall into these traps, which can undermine their work’s academic integrity and originality.

One of the most significant challenges with using Internet-sourced topics is the risk of choosing an overused theme. In my experience, when many students tap into the same online resources, they often select similar themes. This redundancy can inadvertently lead to essays that lack original thought — a crucial element according to general IB criteria. Students can also fall into other common pitfalls:

  • Plagiarism. Without careful management, using a topic from the Internet leads to direct copying of ideas, a severe violation of academic standards.
  • Surface-Level Analysis. Popular online topics are sometimes researched only superficially, leading students to miss the depth required for an Extended Essay.
  • Generic Content. There’s a tendency to stick too closely to the examples found online, resulting in essays that fail to showcase a student’s unique perspective and analytical skills.

Furthermore, the quality of information available online can be inconsistent. From my perspective, not all sources are reliable, and distinguishing between credible and dubious content requires a discerning eye. An essay built on weak foundations can significantly impact the final grade, as thorough research and well-supported arguments are fundamental to the IB assessment criteria.

Another pitfall is becoming overly reliant on Internet sources. As far as I know, the IB program highly values critical thinking and independent inquiry. When students rely too heavily on the Internet for their topics and supporting material, they risk developing a research approach that lacks depth and personal engagement. It harms the learning process and their development as thinkers and writers.

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Best Practices for Using Online Extended Essay Topics

Drawing from my extensive experience as an IB writer, I’d like to share some best practices for effectively using online resources when selecting Extended Essay topics. Over the years, I’ve observed that using the Internet wisely is crucial to crafting a distinguished IB essay.

Customize and Adapt Topics

In my opinion, the first step in using online essay topics effectively is customization. It’s essential to adopt a topic as you find it and adapt it to suit your specific academic interests and personal insights. Here’s how:

  • Narrow down broad topics to fit more specific investigative criteria. It aligns better with the IB’s requirements and increases your essay’s originality.
  • As I have learned from guiding students, integrating unique perspectives or contrasting viewpoints can significantly enrich an essay.

This approach demonstrates a comprehensive understanding and critical analysis of key components according to general IB criteria.

Ensure Academic Integrity

Always ensure that all the information and ideas from the Internet are appropriately cited. According to general IB criteria, academic honesty is not just a recommendation but a strict standard. From my experience, using tools to check for plagiarism is a good practice to ensure the originality of your essay. Even when paraphrasing, staying too close to the source material is possible without realizing it.

Develop a Critical Approach

Not all information found online is credible or accurate. It’s essential to assess the reliability of your sources. Peer-reviewed journals, reputable publications, and academic books are preferable to unsupported online content.

When refining your topic, challenge the norms and ask questions that provoke more profound thought and analysis. This strategy encourages a more profound engagement with the topic and aligns well with the IB’s analytical expectations.

Use Analytic Tools

Advancements in technology offer a range of analytical tools that help refine your research and analysis. Tools such as data analytics software or content analysis programs can provide insights that are not immediately obvious through manual research alone. For instance, analyzing trends, patterns, or frequencies in your topic area can lead to a deeper understanding and innovative angles for your essay. This use of technology enriches your research process and aligns with the creative spirit encouraged by the IB.

Engage in Scholarly Communities

Engaging with online scholarly communities can be highly beneficial. For example, academic sections of forums such as Reddit allow you to discuss your ideas with peers and experts in the field. This interaction can provide valuable feedback, broaden your understanding, and even inspire new directions for your essay. From my experience, such engagement deepens your knowledge and helps build a scholarly network that supports your academic and professional growth.

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Case Studies of Successful Extended Essays

A few years ago, I mentored a student who was initially overwhelmed by the breadth of potential topics in environmental science. From my experience, it’s a common issue; students often feel swamped by the vast options available. However, rather than opting for a broad and commonly discussed topic, this student focused on a specific local issue — the impact of agricultural runoff on a nearby lake. This localized angle was unique and rich with data and personal relevance, as the student lived in the community affected by this issue.

In my opinion, the success of this approach was multifaceted:

  • The student was genuinely invested in the topic because it impacted their community. According to general IB criteria, personal engagement is highly valued as it enhances the authenticity of the research.
  • By narrowing the focus, the student conducts a more thorough investigation. They engage with local environmental groups, gather original data, and interview farmers and environmental scientists. This depth of research, as I know from IB expectations, is critical to developing a well-rounded essay.
  • The student’s work contributed new insights into an issue minimally researched in existing literature. This approach satisfied the IB’s requirement for originality and added real value to the community by highlighting a significant, ongoing environmental issue.

The essay received an excellent score, and more importantly, it exemplified how a well-chosen topic can lead to a deeply rewarding research experience. From this case, and many others in my career, I have learned that the key to a successful Extended Essay is not just in covering a topic but engaging with it in a way that connects personal passion with scholarly rigor.


So, while online Extended Essay topics can be a helpful starting point, they should not be the end of your topic selection process. Instead, use them as a launchpad to develop more profound, personalized research questions. Remember, a great Extended Essay is not just about covering the topic but engaging with it meaningfully and innovatively. Also, our writers at IB Writing Service are always ready to help you with EE writing on any topic you choose.