I am biased, but I would say that choosing to write your 4000-word extended essay in Global Politics is the best decision ever!! Not only do you have so much freedom and flexibility, but you can also really hone in on relevant topical issues going on in our world. I wrote a Global Politics EE and am incredibly excited to share some tips on how to be successful and execute a great essay!
Before I break down the tips, let me give a little bit of context on my Global Politics EE. As a May 2021 grad, I finished my essay during the second half of my senior year. I knew I wanted to write about a topic related to politics in India (my home country) since I wanted to familiarise myself more with that and have a personal connection. I wrote my essay about the revocation of the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) back in August 5, 2019. As India’s only Muslim-majority state, J&K was granted special status under the Indian Constitution, which it could not lose unless the residents were consulted.
Using concepts such as religious identity, security, human rights, and economic development, I studied whether this revocation positively or negatively impacted the promised autonomy of J&K. This included analyzing the draconian measures pursued by the ruling government of India (the Bharatiya Janata Party) such as lengthy lockdowns and cutting off internet connection.
Prior to starting the writing process, I spent a lot of time reviewing relevant documents (certain chapters of India’s constitution and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto) and discussing my research with my advisor. Afterward, we focused on coming up with a structure with claims and counterclaims. I spent about 2 months fully absorbed in research before starting to write.
This was my research question: To what extent has the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir been eroded by the revocation of Article 370 of India’s Constitution and Trifurcation of the State?
Here are some tips to keep in mind and I will delve into each of them separately:
1. Pick an interesting topic that has implications and relevance in the present day
Now, this part is quite personal, but I would highly recommend investigating a global political issue that you find interesting. (possibly one that has personal relevance to you). Perhaps you debated solutions to ending the civil war in Yemen during a MUN conference. And you are eager to explore its long-term political and religious implications. Or maybe you were intrigued by watching Climate Strike protests that were led by Greta Thunberg . And you want to compare the effectiveness of youth-led protests? Whatever it is, try to jot down a few reasons why you want to research it.
Of course, the topic should have significant relevance to the present day (this is not a history EE). I chose to delve into politics in India to learn more about social, religious, and political climate of India. Take your time with this first step because it is the most important!
2. Make a comprehensive and thorough research and sources document
After picking a topic and consulting with your advisor, now: find, compile, organize, and work through your sources. A good starting point is to have 10 sources from a variety of websites, books, and more. For my Global Politics EE, I referred to the New York Times, Economic Times, original copies of India’s constitution, and new sources based in India among others.
3. Plan an appropriate outline
It is important to formulate an appropriate outline for your Global Politics EE. This ensures that you hit on all the important points: the history/context, as well as the different core concepts and levels of analysis that make up your claims and counterclaims.
In this section, you can explain the context behind the global political issue you are highlighting. Remember, this is not a history essay, but be sure to touch on some relevant past events. Explain why this issue is worthy of investigating and you can end by stating your research question.
You can use this section to evaluate some of the main sources you will be using. Also provide a roadmap for your essay. (I.e talk about the concepts or sub-headings you will use to structure your essay). I would recommend keeping this part as concise as possible. Discuss how your sources will provide different perspectives towards the same issue.
The main body can be split into multiple sub-sections based on the different aspects you want to hit on. To avoid lengthy paragraphs, it is important to use subheadings. They also help the examiner to follow the timeline of the event, and the developments of your argument. Do include claims and counterclaims from the perspective of different stakeholders. For me, these were the Kashmiri citizens, the Indian government, international stakeholders, etc…
I split my EE using these subheadings::
- Relevant Articles from the Constitution of India
- The Revocation of Article 370
- Religious Identity
- National Security
- Economic Development
Pull together all your research and come to a synthesis. If you have not talked about the international and global implications of your issue (especially if it’s a national issue), be sure to do so here. You can also add some weaknesses or limitations you experienced during your research and writing process and talk about what you would have done differently next time.
Follow the correct MLA format for all your websites, books, and other resources you use. Make sure you alphabetize this list!
This is optional if you want to include additional analysis or information that you could not fit into your EE and you feel is crucial.
4. Incorporate appropriate Global Politics concepts and theories
The core of IB Global Politics is the concepts covered. This can include sovereignty, equality, development, liberalism, realism, etc. Be sure to incorporate these into your essay and concepts such as liberalism vs realism can serve as your claim and counterclaim. You can even have one overarching core concept tie your entire essay together. For me, that concept was autonomy. However, while exploring whether or not the revocation of Article 370 hinders J&K’s promised autonomy, I still used other core concepts as well. Additionally, include levels of analysis (community, local, national, international, global) to add more nuance to your essay.
I hope that those of you considering an EE in Global Politics found these tips helpful. I can definitely say that the EE was one of the most extensive pieces of work I produced in the IB, and also the one that I enjoyed the most. This is because I was genuinely interested in my topic, as it was personal to me and also relevant to what I want to pursue in the future. One of my final tips for the Global Politics EE would be to always stay up to date with the news to track any updates regarding the topic/issue you have chosen. Best of luck to everyone!