The IB extended essay is an independent research project that allows students to delve deeper into a topic of their choice. For biology and anthropology, there are a wide range of topics that can be explored, from the study of human evolution to the impact of environmental factors on living organisms. In this essay, we will discuss some potential topics for the extended essay in biology and anthropology, and provide some tips on how to approach the research process.
The impact of environmental factors on the growth and development of plants: This topic could involve studying the effects of various environmental factors such as light, temperature, and water on the growth and development of a particular plant species. The research could involve conducting experiments to measure the plant’s growth rate under different conditions, and analyzing the data to draw conclusions about the impact of these factors on the plant’s development.
The impact of diet on the gut microbiome: The gut microbiome refers to the collection of microorganisms that live in the human digestive system. This topic could involve studying the impact of different diets on the composition of the gut microbiome, and how changes in the microbiome can affect human health. The research could involve collecting fecal samples from individuals on different diets, and analyzing the microbial content of these samples using techniques such as DNA sequencing.
The impact of pollution on aquatic ecosystems: This topic could involve studying the effects of different types of pollution on aquatic ecosystems, such as the impact of oil spills on marine life. The research could involve conducting experiments to measure the effects of pollutants on different aquatic organisms, and analyzing the data to draw conclusions about the impact of pollution on these ecosystems.
The evolution of human language: This topic could involve studying the evolution of human language from its earliest origins to modern-day languages. The research could involve analyzing the linguistic features of different languages and tracing their historical development, as well as studying the cognitive and social factors that have influenced the evolution of language.
The impact of culture on mental health: This topic could involve studying the impact of cultural factors on mental health, such as the stigma surrounding mental illness in certain cultures. The research could involve conducting surveys or interviews with individuals from different cultural backgrounds to gather data on their attitudes towards mental health, and analyzing the data to draw conclusions about the impact of culture on mental health.
The impact of globalization on traditional societies: This topic could involve studying the impact of globalization on traditional societies, such as the impact of Western cultural values on indigenous communities. The research could involve conducting interviews or ethnographic observations of individuals from traditional societies to gather data on their experiences and perceptions of globalization, and analyzing the data to draw conclusions about the impact of globalization on these societies.
Approaching the Research Process:
When approaching the research process for the extended essay, it is important to begin by selecting a topic that is of interest to you and that is feasible to research within the time constraints of the project. Once you have selected a topic, you should begin by conducting a thorough literature review to gather information on the topic and identify any gaps in the existing research that you could address in your own research.
Next, you should develop a research question or hypothesis that will guide your research. This question or hypothesis should be specific, focused, and answerable within the scope of the project.
You should then develop a research plan outlining the methods you will use to collect and analyze data, and a timeline for completing each step of the research process. It is important to be realistic about the time and resources available to you, and to adjust your plan as needed throughout the research process.
Finally, you should write up your research findings in a clear and organized manner, following the guidelines provided by the IB for the extended essay. This should include a clear introduction, a detailed methodology section, a thorough analysis of your data, and a conclusion that summarizes your findings and their implications.
The IB extended essay in biology and anthropology provides an opportunity for students to engage in independent research on a topic of their choice, and to develop important research skills that will be valuable in their future academic and professional pursuits. By selecting a topic that is of interest to them and approaching the research process in a systematic and organized manner, students can produce a high-quality research project that demonstrates their knowledge and skills in these fields.