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World Studies Extended Essay: Interdisciplinary Study

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

What is interdisciplinary study?

In interdisciplinary study, students incorporate knowledge and modes of thinking from two or more disciplines to gain a deeper understanding of an issue. Most importantly, they would not have been able to gain this understanding if they only looked at the issue from the perspective of one of the disciplines.

The interdisciplinary essay

A strong interdisciplinary essay exhibits the following characteristics:

Clear purpose - The writer seeks to describe, explain, compare or offer solutions to a problem that is best examined in an interdisciplinary way. The writer has a sense of the significance of the research.

Disciplinary grounding - The writer draws on knowledge, theories, concepts, perspectives, methods, tools and forms of communication from two or more disciplines.

Productive integration - The writer incorporates disciplinary perspectives in ways that advance understanding.
The writer understands the illuminating connections among/between disciplines.

Thoughtfulness - The writer reflects on the significance, power and limitations of his or her findings.

See the other pages in this section for information on:

Interdisciplinary research
Examples of interdisciplinary research

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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