Essay structure

In brief there are two kinds of Extended Essays: investigative essays and analytical essays. Investigative essays are more appropriate for maths and sciences. Analytical essays are more appropriate for languages, arts and humanities. Each kind of essay has an appropriate structure to present ideas and arguments. In other words, the Extended Essay is not uncharted territory. Instead think of a ready-made coat rack on which you will hang your research and arguments. Study either the analytical or investigative structure below with your supervisor or candidate and discuss answers to the following questions:

  1. How ready are you to put your research and arguments into this investigative or analytical structure?

  2. If you were to write an outline of your essay, in which order would your write your headings?

  3. Where do you see weaknesses in your argument? In what ways is your methodology effective or ineffective in answering your question? Where do you see a need to do more research?


Have you learned about reasoning in TOK? For your Extended Essay to score well on Criterion C: Critical thinking, you will need to apply inductive and deductive reasoning. What does this have to do with the structure of your essay? Everything! An argument is 'valid' when the truth of its conclusion rests on the truth of its premises. Premise 1 should come before Premise 2. Premise 2 should come before Premise 3, and so on and so forth. In other words: The order in which you make your points and present your evidence determines the strength of your arguments.

Last modified: Wednesday, 3 June 2020, 12:28 PM