The Extended Essay (EE) in Business Management

Written by: Sophie M.

Let’s start off with the basics…

The extended essay is an independent piece of research.

4,000-word paper.

Students are required to have three mandatory reflection sessions with their supervisors.

The final session, a concluding interview, is also known as viva voce (oral presentation)

The score a student receives relates to a band. The bands are:

  • A – work of an excellent standard.
  • B – work of a good standard.
  • C –work of a satisfactory standard.
  • D – work of a mediocre standard.
  • E – work of an elementary standard

The Extended Essay (EE) in Business Management is an in-depth study of a focused topic that demonstrates your ability to conduct independent research and communicate your findings effectively. Here are some steps you can follow to write an excellent EE in Business Management (IB DP):

Choose a topic: You should select a topic that interests you and is relevant to business management. It is important to select a topic that is narrow enough to allow for a focused analysis but broad enough to have sufficient research material. You can consult with your supervisor or use resources such as academic journals and textbooks to help you identify a topic.

Define your research question: Your research question should be clear and specific. The research question should be based on a real-world problem or issue related to business management. Here’s a guide on how to refine your title.

Consideration 1: Which Business Management units have you really enjoyed?

E.g. Marketing and more specifically Social Media Marketing

Consideration 2: A country, business, case study, relevant theory, strategy or model (although you don’t have to include every single one!).

Consideration 3: Typical question starters in Business Management EE research questions:

  • To what extent…
  • How effective was…
  • How did [insert model/theory/strategy] contribute to the success of….
  • To what extent can X be attributed to…
  • Should X company implement X
  • What was the influence/cause of X…

Narrowing down the research question:

Think of an inverted triangle, start off broad and slowly narrow the focus of your research question:

 Linking all the ideas from the inverted triangle we can come up with a general title of:

“How does Tesla’s effective use of social media marketing contribute to the company’s success in the electric vehicle industry?”

This is a great start but the question is far too broad, how could we refine the title even more? Let’s think about Tesla’s SMM what do you know about it? Start searching using internet resources…with caution.

There are several reasons why we should be careful when using internet resources, including:

  • Accuracy: Not all websites provide accurate information. It’s important to verify the information presented and to check multiple sources to ensure accuracy.
  • Bias: Many websites have a specific purpose or agenda (such as a blog), and the information presented may be biased or one-sided. It’s important to consider the purpose and audience of the website to determine its bias.
  • Quality: Anyone can create a website, and not all websites are of high quality. It’s important to evaluate the credibility of the author and the website before relying on the information presented.

When considering the purpose and audience of a website, it’s important to ask questions such as:

  • Who is the intended audience for this website?
  • What is the purpose of this website?
  • Is the author an expert in the subject matter?
  • Does the website provide references or sources for its information?
  • Does the website contain advertising or sponsored content that may influence the information presented?

To help refine the question we will use the following Forbes article:

As we can see from the information provided it is interesting to see that Tesla has spent zero dollars on paid campaigns!!!

Let’s use the question starter of “to what extent…” and add into the question our new found information about Tesla’s zero spending on SMM…

“To what extent does Tesla’s organic social media strategy contribute to the company’s success in the electric vehicle industry, despite its minimal spending on paid social media advertising?”

Is there a possibility that this research question might be too narrow? You may find in the process of researching that your research question is too narrow or there is not enough information or data available to answer your question. Don’t panic! Just add a comparative element. In the case of Tesla, we could compare how another auto brand allocates and spends money on its SMM campaign.

“How does Tesla’s organic social media strategy impact its success in the electric vehicle industry, given its minimal spending on paid social media advertising, compared to Toyota, which allocates a significant portion of its budget to social media marketing?”

Now that we’ve refined the question it’s time to:

Conduct research: You should gather information from a variety of sources, including academic journals, books, online databases, and other credible sources. You should critically evaluate the sources to ensure they are reliable and relevant to your research question (see earlier point about caution with online resources).

Fortunately, in the field of Business Management, we have the option to rely on secondary resources for our Extended Essay (EE). However, should you decide to incorporate primary sources, it would typically be to provide quantitative or qualitative data that can assist in addressing your research question.

Using secondary resources in your EE is essential to support your research and provide evidence for your arguments. Here are some tips on how to effectively use secondary resources in your essay:

  1. Choose reliable sources: When selecting secondary resources, it’s crucial to ensure that they are reliable and credible. Consider using scholarly articles, academic journals, books, and reputable websites. Avoid using unreliable sources such as blogs, social media, and personal websites.
  2. Conduct thorough research: Before writing your essay, conduct thorough research to find relevant and reliable sources. Use academic databases such as JSTOR, Google Scholar, and EBSCOhost to search for academic articles and journals related to your research topic.3. Analyse your sources: It’s important to analyse your secondary resources critically and evaluate their relevance to your research topic. Consider the author’s credentials, the publication date (how old is the research), and the source’s overall credibility.4. Incorporate secondary resources effectively: Use secondary resources to support your arguments and provide evidence for your claims. Use direct quotes, paraphrasing, and summarizing techniques to incorporate information from secondary resources effectively.

    5. Cite your sources: Be sure to cite your secondary resources properly to avoid plagiarism. Use a citation style such as MLA, APA, or Chicago to provide proper attribution to your sources. Remember, it’s not just for text sources. Other resources include:

Artistic materials/Letters/Tweets/Visual materials/Lectures/Broadcasts/Blogs/Audio materials/Interviews Maps/Advertisements/Graphics/Conversations/Charts/Photographs

Check out the IB guide on Effective citing and referencing, which can be found at:

But don’t start writing yet. First you should note down:

Create an outline: An outline will help you organize your thoughts and ideas. It should include an introduction, main body, and conclusion. You should also include subheadings and bullet points to help you structure your essay. Check this outline with your supervisor.

Other things to include are:

  • Which theory you used: e.g. SMM/motivational theories of HRM/strategic alliances…
  • Give any definitions: e.g. what does BCG matrix stand for
  • Methodology: e.g. secondary or primary/marketing mix/SWOT analysis

Write your essay: Your essay should be well-structured and clearly written. You should use evidence from your research to support your arguments and conclusions. It’s important to use academic language and cite your sources correctly.

Revise and edit: You should review your essay carefully and make any necessary revisions. You should also check for spelling and grammar errors and ensure that your citations are accurate.

Submit your essay: Once you are satisfied with your essay, you should submit it to your supervisor. They will review it and provide feedback to help you improve your work.

Remember, the EE in Business Management is a significant piece of work that requires dedication, time management, and critical thinking skills. It’s essential to start early and seek guidance from your supervisor throughout the process. Good luck!

IB Business Management EE examples.

In the link below: Four authentic examples of student EE in Business management can be found. These examples come with their respective RPPFs and examiner’s commentaries:


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