Extended Essay

The Extended Essay (EE) in Visual Arts will give you opportunity to undertake research in an area of the visual arts of particular interest to you. It’s can actually be very rewarding – and art students that choose to write the EE in ART find that it supplements their art studies (especially the CS) to their advantage.

The outcome of the research should be a coherent and structured piece of writing, with well-integrated and appropriate illustrations, and which effectively addresses a particular research question appropriate to the visual arts. 

The research may be generated or inspired by the student’s direct experiences of creating visual artworks, or by their interest in the work of a particular artist, style or period. This might be related to the student’s own cultural context or another cultural context. Personal contact with artists, curators and other active participants in the visual arts is encouraged, as is the use of local and primary sources. 

NOTE: The visual arts are here broadly defined also to include architecture, design and contemporary forms of visual culture. An EE in visual arts is not an extension of the internal assessment (IA) task. Students must ensure that they understand the differences between the two. 

Before you begin, make sure you understand the criteria. Click here for an in-depth explanation of the EE criteria

Supervisors play an important role here in guiding students on these distinctions. Students risk their diploma if academic misconduct is detected. 

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click here examples of A scoring EEs

Based on your Research Question – you have already given quite a lot of thought to specifically what you are going to compare/explore and what artists/artworks you are looking at. 

You should be able to create a basic 3 segment plan that will organize your research and help you figure out how to approach writing the actual essay.   (Save the introduction and conclusion for later……). So, I encourage my students to plan their question so that it can be segmented into 3 parts. This gives you enough information to analyse, but not too much. So either choose a topic with 3 artworks that you will analyse to support your question, or choose a topic with 1 artwork that can be analysed in 3 components.

NOTE: As you work, make note of every URL you are visiting.  For art, Journal Articles are important – but they are challenging to find.   

You may start looking at wikipedia to begin your search. However wikipedia is NOT A GOOD SOURCE.  I suggest using it to get started – but scroll down to the references listed – and use the sources listed.  Those will be much stronger sources. 


List the 3 Artists/Artworks that you plan to explore based on your RQ.   Then begin to research each artwork, looking for information that will support your topic. It is good is you make detailed notes, noting the references you want to use, quotes that might support and point forms for each of the sections.


What I tell my students, if you have a solid plan, the writing shouldn’t be too difficult. Just a matter of connecting all your thoughts. I also encourage my students to write the body first. That’s how I like to work. I might make some notes for introduction, but as you write your body , you might find your question changing. So I find it easier to write the introduction after the body – because then you have fully realized your ideas and your intro will be more succinct. Write your conclusion last. Obviously.





Click here for an in-depth visual explanation of an Art EE and what creates an A paper.