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Extended Essay: Step 3. Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS)

A guide to the research and writing process required for students completing the IB Extended Essay.

Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS)

The Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS) is a personal learning environment that can be either a physical or virtual support tool - like a research or process journal  You use it to record reflections on what you are reading, writing and thinking. The use of the RRS will help you prepare for your reflection sessions with your supervisor and inform the discussions that take place.

Writing notes - Britannica ImageQuestIn preparing for your reflection sessions you could use your RRS to:

  • record your reflections
  • respond to items that have come up in your research, such as photos, newspaper clippings, twitter feeds, blogs, and so on
  • respond to prompts and questions that may arise in your subject area, TOK class or other aspects of the Diploma Programme
  • create MindMaps ®
  • record emerging questions

You may already be keeping a research journal on the planning, researching and writing phases of your work on the extended essay - that's your RRS!  Having a RRS will provide you benefits in terms of the management of your workload and focus on your extended essay. 

For more ideas on how to record your thoughts and ideas, see:

Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS) examples

Online Note-taking Tools:  Avidnote, and Evernote

Using Brainstorming and Mind Maps

Road sign - Britannica ImageQuestIB subject chosen? Check!  RRS set up? Check! Now...what are you going to write about?

Once you have decided on which IB subject to use for your Extended Essay, you need to choose a topic - something that you can write 4,000 words about and something that will keep you interested and engaged.  For help with this, see Step 4. Choose a Topic.


Avidnote enables researchers to take more efficient notes. Users can keep research notes, lab notes, field notes and study notes secure, organized, easily searchable, and always accessible. Avidnote is free for individual use. The free individual license gives registered users full access to use the app. Users own all the data/content that they store on Avidnote, and can retrieve, change, or delete that data/content anytime they wish.

Watch the video tutorial below to learn how to use Avidnote.


Watch this video from the Center for Technology in Learning and Teaching at Iowa State University for an introduction to how you can use Evernote to organize your research.

How To Use Evernote 2020: A Complete Evernote Tutorial For Beginners, 20 Sep. 2019. Web. 8 Jan. 2021. 

Twelve-step Plan for Researching the Extended Essay - Step 3

3. Set up the Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS) and use this as the key planning and reflection tool for the extended essay process.

Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS) Examples


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