2.2 From question to method

2.2.4 Submitting a proposal

Your school may ask you to submit a research proposal, before you have permission to work with a supervisor and begin deep research for and writing your extended essay. The research proposal helps clarify thinking. It helps ensure that the research question is feasible and doable, and may suggest or provide a framework for the research and the writing. Here are few questions to answer when pitching your EE idea to a supervisor: 

Sample proposal

  • I am looking at (topic) .........
  • because I want to find out .....
  • so that I can understand .....
  • This leads to my research question ...
  • To answer / respond to this, I will need to .....

In particular, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is the investigation doable, and doable within the time-frame and in 4000 words?
  2. Is the RQ significant? Why is it significant?  (You may, for instance, show why the question is important, or that other studies have discussed the need for more research in this area)
  3. Can you get all the evidence you need? How?
  4. Can you get the materials and equipment, can you do the experiments?
  5. Can you contact the people and get the information you need? Will they give it to you - and if they do, will you be allowed to use it?
  6. Do you have the time for a pilot study as well as the real thing? (a pilot study is especially useful when you are conducting interviews and surveys - more on this later)
  7. What other resources do you need?
  8. Have you checked the Choice of Topic and Treatment of the Topic sections of the EE Guide for your subject, to ensure that your approach meets requirements?
  9. If you have doubts about any of these, you may need to refine or change your research question.  Discuss your doubts with your supervisor.