How to Pick an Interesting Topic for Your Extended Essay

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Writing an extended essay can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Choosing an interesting topic that engages you as the writer is just as important as any other stage of the process. To help you understand the importance of selecting the right topic and how you can go about choosing one, we have created this guide.

Your extended essay grade will ultimately depend on your chosen topic and its relevance to the subject you’re writing about. If you select a topic that fails to capture the attention of your reader, then chances are, your extended essay will also fail to generate interest. A good topic should show something new and give the reader unfamiliar or unique insights, as well as create a document that can easily be read and understood.

Additionally, a good topic should be one that speaks to the student’s passion and interests. If you select a topic you believe in and care about, you will inherently be more engaged in researching it, writing about it, and ultimately presenting it to your peers or readers.

After all, your topic should be relevant to your academic performance and should help you learn more about the particular subject. Choosing the right topic for your extended essay should not be taken lightly, so it’s best to take the time to research and plan out your topic carefully.

How to Pick an Interesting Topic for Your Extended Essay​

Understanding Your Options

When considering topics for an extended essay, it’s important to understand your options. There are a variety of potential topics available to choose from, and by broadening the range of subjects you consider, you may find the perfect one for you.

If your school has a uniform research topic, such as philosophy, then you may need to do a little more research to get ideas. It’s best to look through academic journals and textbooks to find inspiration, or read articles and opinion pieces that pertain to the subject matter you’re interested in.

Alternatively, if your school allows you to pick a more open-ended topic, then the possibilities become endless. Think about the areas you are most interested in, whether it be history, literature, geography or something else entirely. Then, start exploring these topics to find a niche area you can focus on.

By broadening your range of potential topics, you can open yourself up to other possibilities that may not have occurred to you at first and increase the chances of finding the ideal project. Additionally, choosing a unique topic may help you to stand out from the crowd and ensure your essay is given the attention it deserves.

Once you have identified a potential topic, take some time to research it thoroughly. Gather as much information as possible and read relevant material to get a better understanding before making a final decision.

Research First

Research is one of the most important steps you can take when choosing your extended essay topic. By researching thoroughly and taking your time, you can ensure that you select an appropriate and interesting subject for your essay. Here are some tips to help you research thoroughly before selecting a topic.

1. Brainstorm Ideas

Start by brainstorming different topics that interest you. What have you enjoyed learning about in school? Are there any topics or classes that you have found particularly fascinating? Try to think of topics that are broad enough to allow further investigation in your essay but not so broad that the essay becomes vague and unfocused.

2. Use Online Resources

Take advantage of the wealth of information available online. Read articles and opinion pieces related to the topics you are considering. Look through TED talks and lectures to gain a different perspective on the subject. While doing this, make notes of any ideas that stand out to you.

3. Consult Experts

Reach out to teachers and professionals in the field to gain more insight into the topics you are interested in writing about. Ask them what topics they find most interesting and which ones they believe could be successfully developed into an extended essay. They may be able to provide helpful advice and suggest areas of research to explore.

4. Research On-Going Projects

If possible, try to find out about any on-going research projects being conducted in the field of study you are considering. This can help you get a better understanding of the topic and provide some potential angles to approach your research from. It can also help you identify potential sources that could be used in your essay.

5. Organize Your Research Notes

Before making a final decision about the topic you want to pursue in your essay, it’s important to organize your research notes. This will help you gain a better understanding of the information you have collected and identify what topics have captured your interest the most.

By taking the time to research thoroughly and consult experts, you can ensure that you select a suitable and interesting topic for your extended essay. Doing this can help you produce an essay that is engaging and insightful.

Generate Ideas

Coming up with an interesting topic for an extended essay can be tricky. To help you, we’ve put together some tips on how to generate unique topics.

The first step is to brainstorm possible ideas. Try writing your general topic at the top of a sheet of paper and draw lines from it in all directions. Then write key words and concepts related to the chosen topic next to the lines.

You can also get inspiration from reading articles, opinion pieces, and blog posts related to the chosen topic. Additionally, looking through TED talks can give you new ideas or provide a different perspective on the subject.

It is important to remember that while you want your topic to be unique and your approach original, you still need to make sure the topic is relevant to the course. For example, if you are studying history, choose a topic related to history.

Finally, think of ways to expand upon the topic. This can help make it more interesting and will give you a better chance of writing a successful extended essay.

Planning ahead is an important part of selecting an interesting topic for your extended essay. Taking the time to plan out your approach to finding an interesting topic can help you narrow down your choices and eventually settle on one.

Benefits of Planning Ahead

When it comes to selecting a topic for your extended essay, it’s important to take the time to map out your plan of attack. Planning ahead can help you figure out which topics you find interesting, as well as what your options are. It can also help you identify potential topics that you might have overlooked or not considered. Here are some of the advantages of planning ahead before you select a topic:

  • Identifying topics that interest you
  • Brainstorming different ideas
  • Evaluating the amount of research needed for each topic
  • Considering the expertise required to adequately research the topic
  • Figuring out how you can make your extended essay unique

By taking the time to plan ahead, you will be able to narrow down your potential topic choices more easily. This can be beneficial when it comes to deciding which topic you want to write your extended essay on.

Ways to Plan Ahead

There are many ways to plan ahead when it comes to choosing a topic for your extended essay. Here are some helpful tips that can help you decide on an interesting topic:

  • Do some research – Researching available topics is an important first step in finding one that interests you. Look at books, websites and scholarly journals. You can also speak to teachers and peers who may be able to provide useful advice.
  • Write down ideas – Writing down any ideas that come to mind can give you a better understanding of what topics you find interesting. These notes can also help you quickly come up with ideas if you get stuck while brainstorming.
  • Set goals – Once you have identified a few possible topics, set some specific goals that you want to achieve with your extended essay. This can help you narrow down your choices.
  • Evaluate your resources – Evaluate whether you have enough resources to adequately research a particular topic. If not, consider finding an alternative topic that requires fewer resources.

By considering these tips, you can plan ahead more effectively and ensure that your extended essay is focused and well-researched. Planning ahead can also help you select an interesting topic that will allow you to demonstrate your knowledge and skills.

Select a Narrow Topic

Choosing a narrow and interesting topic is essential for making sure your extended essay meets the requirements, and that it isn’t too general or broad. To begin selecting a topic, think about the area you are passionate about and use this as your starting point. Whether it’s history, science, music, or another field, pick something that both interests and excites you.

It can be helpful to start by asking yourself some questions to help get an idea of the type of topic you want to focus on. What topics have you learned about recently? What are your hobbies and interests? Are there particular books, films, or TV shows that have been inspiring you? Having a good understanding of what you want to write about will help ensure your topic is narrow enough and that your essay will be interesting and engaging.

When selecting a narrow topic, try to think of something that has not already been extensively researched or written about. This will make it easier to come up with original ideas and arguments. Additionally, focus on topics that are both relevant and timely, as this will help make your essay more engaging and have a greater impact.

It is also important to consider the word count of your essay. Aim to pick a topic that fits within the word limit and that is specific enough to adequately cover all of the points you wish to discuss. If you are having difficulty choosing a topic, it can be helpful to ask an instructor or mentor who is familiar with your coursework for advice.

By taking the time to research and plan ahead, you will be able to select a narrow and interesting topic that suits your aims for the extended essay. Make sure to take into account your interests, the requirements of the essay, and the word count when choosing a topic, and do not be afraid to reach out for help!

Identifying Your Focus

When choosing a topic for your extended essay, it is important to identify a clear focus that will drive the rest of your research and writing. A focus provides the essay with direction and structure. It helps to ensure that the research you conduct is relevant, and that the essay does not become too generalised. Having a narrow focus also makes it easier for you to convey your ideas and make an argument that is both clear and concise.

To identify your focus, it is important to spend some time thinking about what it is that interests you most about that particular topic. Do you have any particular questions or assumptions that you would like to explore further? What do you want the readers to learn from this essay? Try to come up with specific, achievable goals that you can use to guide your research and writing in the right direction.

Once you have identified a focus, make sure to analyse the various research methods that could be used in order to investigate the topic further. Consider which primary sources will be most relevant, such as books, journals or interviews. If using secondary sources, examine their validity and determine whether they provide information that will be useful to your essay. All of these steps will help to make sure that the research you conduct is both relevant and useful for the essay.

Identifying a focus for your extended essay is essential for ensuring that the essay meets its learning objectives. Taking the time to brainstorm ideas, set clear goals and evaluate potential research methods will help to ensure that the essay is focused and well-structured. From there, you can start conducting research and begin the drafting process.

Analyse Your Sources

When researching for your extended essay, it’s important to analyse the sources you’re using. This will give you a better understanding of the topic and help you accurately prepare your essay. There are various research methods you can use such as primary sources or interviews.

Primary Sources

Primary sources are information collected first-hand by an individual who was present at the event or topic they’re researching. Examples of primary sources include photographs, journals, videos, surveys, interviews, and market research. Using primary sources can give you valuable insight into the topic and add depth to your extended essay.


Conducting interviews adds a personal element to your essay that can be incredibly beneficial. Interviews can help to bring the topic to life and give the reader a more detailed understanding of the subject. Furthermore, incorporating interviews in your extended essay can make it stand out from other essays, as it shows you’ve put extra effort into the essay.

Tips for Conducting Interviews

  • Plan your interview questions carefully, making sure they’re specific and tailored to the topic.
  • Take notes during the interview, or record it if the person you’re interviewing is comfortable with it.
  • Make sure you understand the answers given to you, and ask follow-up questions if needed.
  • Always get permission to use details of the interview in your essay.

By utilising the above methods, your extended essay should be informative and comprehensive on the chosen topic. Researching thoroughly and analysing sources will help you create a well-rounded essay that readers will find both enjoyable and informative.

Establish Goals

Having specific goals for your extended essay is an essential part of the writing process. The goals you set will help determine the learning outcomes and provide clarity in the essay. When formulating your goals, it’s important to think about what you want to achieve with your essay. Are you looking to argue a particular point? Do you want to explore a certain idea more thoroughly? It may be helpful to write down a list of aims for your essay. This can be a great way to start off your writing process. You can use this list to keep track of where you want to go with your essay and how to get there. You can also use your goals to set deadlines for yourself. This can help keep you on track and ensure that you don’t get sidetracked by other projects. Having a timeline can also help you stay motivated when working on your essay. Take some time to think about the goals you want to set for your essay. Make sure they are realistic and achievable. Once you have written them down, use this list as a guide throughout your essay-writing process. Having specific goals will help to keep you focused and provide clarity in your extended essay. This can help to ensure that you produce a successful piece of work.

Evaluate Your Choices

When you have narrowed down your potential topics for your extended essay, you need to evaluate each one. It is important to choose a topic that is appropriate for the essay, as well as one that interests you. Evaluation is an important part of the research process, and can help you decide which topic will be a successful one.

The first step in evaluating your choices should be to determine how much knowledge you already have on the subject. This will give you an idea of how much research will be required and how long it will take to build up your understanding. Additionally, having some knowledge of the topic can give you inspiration or help you come up with ideas for the essay.

When evaluating your topics, consider how relevant they are to the assignment. Make sure that the topic you choose is specific enough so that you can adequately cover it within the length of the essay. You also want to make sure that the topic is not overly broad or too narrow. A good balance is essential for producing a successful essay.

Finally, ask yourself whether the subject is interesting enough to generate enthusiasm for the writing process. Writing about a topic that does not excite you can make the writing process tedious and difficult. Although it is important to choose a topic that is appropriate for the essay, it is equally as important to pick something that you find intriguing and engaging.

By undertaking a thorough evaluation of your potential topics, you can ensure that you select a suitable subject for your extended essay. This will help you produce a well-written, interesting and engaging essay that will impress your readers.

Reaching Out For Advice

When it comes to choosing a topic for an extended essay, it is important to reach out for advice from both teachers and peers. Having someone with more knowledge and experience in the field can give you a great insight and can help you to make your decision.

Talking to your teacher is the best place to start, as they will know what topics are suitable and can guide you in the right direction. Ask them what topics they would recommend based on your interests and skill set. They may also be able to introduce you to other resources that can help, such as books, articles, or websites.

In addition to your teacher, your peers can provide valuable insight on selecting a topic. Talking with friends or classmates who have written similar essays can be beneficial, as they will be familiar with the process and may have good ideas or advice to share. You could also join an online discussion or forum related to the essay topic, and get opinions and ideas from other writers.

By reaching out for feedback from teachers and peers, you will get a better understanding of the types of topics that are suitable for an extended essay and be more confident when it comes to making a decision. It is also essential to be open-minded and willing to consider different opinions and ideas. This will ensure you have the best chance of creating an interesting and successful extended essay.


At the conclusion of this guide, it’s important to reiterate the main points and stress why selecting an interesting topic for your extended essay is so important. Doing so helps develop your knowledge on a specific subject, allows you to refine research skills and ensures that you can provide a comprehensive report.

When starting an extended essay, it can be quite overwhelming thinking about all of the components, such as narrowing down topics, researching and analysing sources. However, with some careful planning, goal setting and asking advice from teachers and peers, choosing an interesting topic can be much easier!

  • Understand your options when it comes to topics
  • Research thoroughly before selecting a topic
  • Generate ideas through reading articles or TED talks
  • Plan ahead to narrow your topic choices
  • Identify your focus within the chosen topic
  • Analyse your sources and use primary sources or interviews where possible
  • Set goals to help guide your essay
  • Evaluate your choices to ensure the topic is suitable for a successful extended essay
  • Reach out to teachers and peers for advice

By following these tips and taking the time to analyse which topic will be the most interesting and engaging, you can ensure that the process of creating an extended essay is enjoyable and rewarding.

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a devoted educator, marketing specialist, and management expert with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector. After obtaining his business degree in 2016, Nick embarked on a quest to achieve his PhD, driven by his commitment to enhancing education for students worldwide. His vast experience, starting in 2008, has established him as a reputable authority in the field.

Nick's article, featured in Routledge's "Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization," highlights his sharp insights and unwavering dedication to advancing the educational landscape. Inspired by his personal motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to streamline students' lives and foster efficient learning. His inventive ideas and leadership have contributed to the transformation of numerous educational experiences, distinguishing him as a true innovator in his field.

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