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World Studies Extended Essay: Interdisciplinary Research

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

What Is Interdisciplinary Research?

What is interdisciplinary research?  It means you are using discipline-specific ways of knowing—established knowledge claims, methods, approaches to inquiry and forms of communication—to give you a new understanding.

When you are doing independent interdisciplinary research for your WSEE, you are:

  • exploring problems, ideas and issues from the perspective of two IB subject areas
  • building the inquiry skills you will need to be able to conduct careful and detailed research
  • showing initiative in applying your academic skills to recognize, frame and approach complex problems of global significance.

The WSEE Process

Microscope examining a globe - Britannica ImageQuestThe interdisciplinary research process for the WSEE requires you to:

  • identify a topic of personal, local* and global significance
  • frame a researchable question
  • identify the sources of expertise and disciplinary perspectives to further your understanding of the topic
  • gather relevant information, ideas and tools in such disciplines
  • define a research approach or method
  • synthesize the different perspectives to advance your own interpretation or explanation of, or solution to, the problem your are studying
  • write the essay and reflect on your work, its significance, limitations and possibilities.

*Local is defined in its widest sense to mean specific examples or case studies and does not necessarily imply that the focus must be geographically local to you.

WSEE Documents

WSEE Subject Guide and worksheets

RRS (Researcher's Reflection Space)

RPPF (Researcher's Planning and Progress Form) examples:

IB Extended Essay Guide & Timeline

Check the Extended Essay guide for specific guidance on completing the various steps in the research and writing process of the EE, and these documents:


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