Research Questions

How do I come up with a good research question?
It isn't easy, but it is important!
  1. Decide on a subject in which to write the essay
    • Check the list of available subjects here
    • Read the IB's criteria for your subject
    • Read an exemplar essay in your subject
  2. Decide on a topic within this subject
  3. Explore some possible research questions relating to this topic
    • This means you will need to do some research!
  4. Discuss these with your advisor
    • During the first meeting with your advisor, discuss the research you've done, your ideas, and the requirements for your subject.
  5. Decide on the most suitable research question
    • Your revised research question proposal is due May 16.
Adapted from O'Farrell, Finbar. Approach your assessment the IB Way: Extended Essay. pg. 13

Sample RQs

• In what ways did the Cold War impact American public education? (History)

• To what extent have Maori non-violent struggles for their land been effective?
(Peace and Conflict Studies)

• How is the subject of death treated in selected poems by Emily Brontë and Emily
Dickinson? (English A1)

• Why has the market capitalization of XYZ Plc increased more than the market
capitalization of its competitor ABC Plc? (Business and Management)

• Has the introduction of new materials improved the performance of modern
racing bicycles? (Design Technology)

• How could the UN intervention in the Rwandan genocide be justified? (Human

• Is it politically possible for the US government to win the drugs war? (Politics)

• What female stereotypes did Brecht employ in his plays, and how can these be
compared and contrasted in performance, based on an analysis of a selection of
Brecht's plays? (Theatre)

• Picasso: individual genius or cultural thief? (Visual Arts)

• What are the differences in the understanding of prophecy in Judaism,
Christianity and Islam? (World Religions)