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Extended Essay - Criteria: Criterion A: Focus and Method

Criterion A: The Strands

The Introduction

Four things must be mentioned in your introduction:

  • the research question
  • context that situates your question in existing knowledge
  • why your question is worthy of investigation
  • the source material and/or scientific methodologies used

Recommended word count for the introduction: 300-450 words.

Research Question

Refer explicitly to your research question, but blend it into the prose of your introduction. For example, "This paper seeks to explore the extent to which..."


Situate your research question within existing knowledge. Mention any theories, approaches, or factors that have already been suggested to answer your research question.


You must mention why your question is worthy of investigation or why readers should find your question interesting. You can even use the phrase, "this research question is worthy of investigation because..." 

Some reasons a question is worthy of investigation could be:

  • has contemporary application
  • offers a different interpretation
  • issues explored are controversial
  • uses a different methodological approach
  • clarifies existing misconceptions
  • challenges existing assumptions, viewpoints, or interpretations
  • has not been investigated before
  • is important to the reading of a "text"
  • investigates the reliability or validity of a theory or approach

Methodological approach or sources used

The introduction should outline your methodological or source-based approach so the reader understands how you went about answering your research question. Be specific.

You should consider the following:

  • For a scientific or other methodological approach:
    • Why did you choose this method?
    • How does this method help answer your question?
  • For a source-based approach:
    • Why did you choose the sources you used?
    • How are they going to be used or how will you respond to their claims?