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MLA/APA: Samples & Guides

MLA & APA Samples & Guides

The Extended Essay, a compulsory component of the IBDP curriculum, is designed to give you an opportunity to engage in the methods of critical research. It is defined as “an in-depth study of a focused topic” intended to give you experience of the kind of individual, independent, and sustained research work that is encountered in college and university education. 

Getting started, it is wise to consult the Five Steps to Writing a Research Question and to consider the advice provided with the Sample Research Questions

For each subject, there are very particular standards you must follow. Get to know these resources (linked below) as you consider your subject options. After you have chosen a subject, use this very practical advice throughout the rest of the process.

As you work, you should frequently seek the wisdom of your supervisor, communicate with the Extended Essay coordinator, and--as always--ask questions. Because you are producing a significant body of research, you are expected to follow MLA or APA standards. Visit Research 101 to find many additional tips and insights.

*"Effective first submission for assessment May 2021, extended essays submitted in studies in language and literature (Language A registrations) must not be based on a text which has been studied as part of this course. Students may, however, base their essays on different texts by the same author. Please note that this rule applies to all students without exception."

The Use of Footnotes

MLA format requires in-text parenthetical references.

Can I use footnotes?

Not advised for any year level. IB discourages the use of footnotes. Footnotes and endnotes, if used,  do count against your total word count.

"Footnotes and endnotes may be used for referencing purposes and if this is the case will not be included in the word count of the essay. If information is contained in a footnote or endnote and is not a reference, this must be included in the word count. In order to avoid confusion and unwittingly exceed the word limit, students are advised to avoid using footnotes or endnotes other than for referencing purposes unless it is appropriate.

An essay that attempts to evade the word limit by including important material in footnotes or endnotes will be compromised across the assessment criteria. Please note that footnotes and endnotes are added to the word count as they are encountered. ("Footnotes and endnotes").



"As creators/authors, we are expected to acknowledge any materials or ideas that are not ours and that have been used in any way, such as quotation, paraphrase, or summary. The term 'materials' means written, oral or electronic products, and may include the following: 

  • Text, Visual, Audio, Graphic, Artistic, Lectures, Interviews, Conversations, Letters, Broadcasts, Maps.

Basic and common knowledge within a field or subject does not need to be acknowledged. However, if we are in doubt whether the source material is common knowledge or not, we should cite!"

from Effective Citing and Referencing, by the IB Programme of International Education, 2014


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