This is the time of year when many students are formulating their area of research for the extended essay. This posting and subsequent ones over the next few weeks provide an insight into guiding extended essays in ITGS.

One of the major keys to success is the research question.

The research question should focus on all parts of the Triangle either explicitly or implicitly. When the students begin their research the research question, it is unlikely that it is concisely stated. It will take shape as the students become more engaged in their secondary reseach.

Titles that work:

1. How responsible is Facebook in being the custodian of their user’s information?

The Triangle

Stakeholder(s): Facebook users

IT system: Facebook IT system relating to all aspects of  user information

Scenario: Facebook as custodian of user information

Social and ethical consideration: Facebook’s responsibilities


2. To what extent are flight simulators a reliable source of training for commercial pilots?

The Triangle

Stakeholder(s): commercial pilots

IT system: specific commercial flight simulators used for training commercial pilots

Scenario: flight simulators used to train commercial pilots

Social and ethical consideration: reliability


Titles that DO NOT work:

3. A comparison of the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

First of all the research question is not a question which often results in a lack of focus for the research, organization, analysis and conclusion of the extended esssay.

The second problem is that it is focused on a new technology. There is little opportunity for social and/or ethical considerations in this type of research question.

Research questions that focus only on IT are not appropriate for ITGS.


4. How does gamification support the solving of real life problems?

There is no indication of any ITGS in this title. ‘Gamification’ is a broad area not nessarily related to ITGS.


Titles that MAY work if more focused:

5. What are the benefits and drawbacks of using video games in science at XXX International School?

Most students do not realize that all extended essays require secondary research as a basis of the extended essay. This includes how video games are used in the teaching of science and relating that research to investigating the impacts that using video games in teaching science at XXX International School.

Any data collection within the school needs to compare the results of the primary research with the results from secondary research. Any school-based research question cannot only be based on primary research and the situation as it exists within the school.


6. Employee monitoring in medium-sized companies in Australia.

Extremely broad research question. It is unclear if the focus will be on the IT systems or the social and ethical impacts or both. This may be the first attempt at the research question, but it will require significant refinement as the secondary work progresses.

Next blog: Where to find ideas for the extended essay research question?