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What Makes Up a "Discipline"?
Disciplinary inquiry is purposeful
- We seek to understand the past and enrich our sense of ourselves (in history).
- We seek to explain, control and predict natural or social phenomena (in physics, biology, economics).
- We enjoy exploring the human condition or expressing an idea or a feeling (in literature or the arts).
Targeted inquiries also serve specific purposes. Concepts and findings in one discipline are often applied in another, new context to solve problems, create products or explain phenomena.
Questions to ask:
When you are considering whether to include a specific discipline in the design of your research, you should ask yourself:
- What is the purpose of inquiry in this discipline?
- What is the discipline helpful for?
- How might this discipline contribute to my study?
Disciplines hold a rich knowledge base (concepts and findings) on which to draw.
Disciplinary understanding involves the capacity to move flexibly between theories, concepts and specific examples. For example:
- We understand a historical period like the rise of Nazi Germany when we can offer one or more overarching narratives that explain it and illustrate it with particular events, actors, places and dates.
- We understand a biological phenomenon like genetic inheritance when we can articulate and apply accepted theoretical principles to particular cases and findings.
Questions to ask
When you are considering the range of disciplines available to you to form the basis of your research, you should ask yourself:
- What do I need to know about my interdisciplinary topic that may make this disciplinary perspective useful?
- What are some of the big ideas, key concepts or theories in this discipline that may inform my work?
- Are there findings, examples and cases related to these big ideas that will help me understand my topic?
All disciplines have preferred methods—modes of inquiry and criteria by which knowledge is deemed acceptable.
- History—interpretation of primary and secondary sources, the evaluation of actors’ perspectives.
- Biology/chemistry/physics—designing a laboratory experiment to test a given hypothesis.
- Mathematics—the art of advancing mathematical proof.
Different disciplines also hold distinct criteria for determining what is an acceptable result or a trustworthy conclusion. In their interdisciplinary research, students must use the inquiry methods of at least one of the disciplines they study.
Questions to ask
When you are considering the range of disciplines available to you to decide which of their methods to use, you should ask yourself:
- What forms of inquiry does the study of my problem require?
- What are the methods by which knowledge is constructed in this particular discipline? Could they contribute to my study? How?
- What specific tools and instruments are deemed helpful to inquiry in this discipline and would these help me?
- What is deemed a reliable result in this discipline and would these standards apply to my study?
Forms of Communication
Disciplines have preferred forms of communication.
- historical narrative
- scientific report
- policy briefing
- curating a museum exhibit.
Each activity employs a particular form or style in order to communicate with its audience effectively. Disciplines favor the symbol system and form that suit their content and meet the standards or model that their expert community expects to see.
When you are doing academic writing, you will communicate the most effectively when you are reflecting such disciplinary standards. When you are preparing to write your EE, take a look at the models of communication typical of the disciplines you are relying on.
Questions to ask
- How can I best communicate my study, results and conclusions?
- What are the genres, languages and symbols that are typically used in the disciplines I have chosen? For example:
- scientific reports
- poster presentations
- Are there particular disciplinary genres that I could use to communicate my results?
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:
Extended Essay Timeline, Class of 2022
Deadlines for turning in various components of the Extended Essay, for IB Diploma Candidates and IB Course Students in the Class of 2022. Includes due dates and full descriptions of all assignments.
Presentation requirements of the extended essay
Information on formatting the extended essay, covering: word counts (what is included and what is NOT included), illustrations, tables, footnotes and endnotes, appendices and specimen materials. Covers essays submitted in November 2018 and forward (IB Guide 2018).
Required elements of the extended essay
List and description of the six required elements of the final extended essay work that is to be submitted for extended essays for November 2018 and forward (IB Guide 2018).
How to Format the Extended Essay
Tips from the IB on presenting your Extended Essay in a professional manner, with suggestions on font type and size, citations, and referencing. Includes examples showing how choices on font size and type can change the mood and tone of the text being presented.
NoodleTools Quick Guide for Students
This guide covers the following topics: (1) How to create a new account; (2) How to start a new project and a source list; (3) How to create notecards; (4) How to share a project with your teacher; and (5) How to set up a project collaboration with your classmates.
NoodleTools Quick Guide for Librarians & Teachers
This guide covers the following topics: (1) How to create a new account; (2) How to create a new project and add sources and notecards; and (3) How to set up a project inbox to receive student work and provide feedback.
Tutorials! Learn NoodleTools basics with 60-second videos and labeled screenshots.
NoodleTools Tutorials: Projects
When you are ready to begin research, create a NoodleTools project. Add collaborators if you’re working with a group. Share your project with your teacher’s assignment inbox to allow them to view and give feedback on your source citations, notecards, outline, and file attachments.
NoodleTools Tutorials: Citing Sources
Generate accurate MLA, APA, or Chicago-style citations and format your in-text citations or footnotes. Use an ISBN number or DOI to import citation information for books, articles, and reports, or take advantage of our “Export to NoodleTools” database integrations to produce citations from their article metadata.
NoodleTools Tutorials: Notecards
Make connections, develop original ideas and articulate arguments. Use our intuitive, visual “tabletop” to manipulate, tag and pile notecards, then connect them to topics in your outline to prepare for writing.
NoodleTools Help Desk
Step-by-step instructions for how to use all of the different features of NoodleTools. Tutorials include Quick Guides, and help with projects, notecards, source citations, and logins and access.