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Extended Essay - Criteria: Criterion C: Critical Thinking

Criterion C: The Strands

Main Body and Conclusion

Because critically evaluating evidence in order to produce a reasoned argument and sound conclusion is the key focus of any research paper, Criterion C has the most marks allocated to it.

There are three key strands that you should address in Criterion C:

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Discussion and evaluation


All research materials must be relevant to answering the research question.


The research findings must be effectively analyzed in order to produce a reasoned argument. 

The analyses must be supported by relevant evidence.

Discussion and Evaluation

You must develop a coherent and well-reasoned argument that is supported by the evidence presented. 

You should provide a critical evaluation of source material.



The conclusion should reiterate your key findings and main points developed in the body of the essay and provide a resolution to your research question.

Recommended word count for the conclusion: 350-450 words.

When writing your conclusion, you should:

  • Respond to the actual research question as stated on your title page.
  • Comment on any inconclusive findings or multiple interpretations if that is what your research has indicated.
  • Disprove your thesis if your evidence has lead you to this conclusion.
  • Offer an evaluation of the value and limitations of the methodology or sources you have used.
  • Mention any unresolved or additional questions that have arisen as a result of your research and explain why answering those questions goes beyond the scope of your current work.
  • Summarize the key points raised in the main body and synthesize them into a final analysis.


  • Introducing new material.
  • Offering no conclusion at all.
  • Including any personal statements.
  • Including any accusations.
  • Answering a question that is different from the one on your title page.