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A Complete Guide to Writing Your Anthropology Extended Essay

Anthropology extended essay is a fundamental work where you can share your ideas and research.

In my opinion, writing an Anthropology extended essay can be both challenging and rewarding. Drawing from my experience as an expert in the International Baccalaureate intricacies, I share valuable insights and guidance to help IB students improve academically.

This article will explore the intricacies of writing an outstanding Anthropology extended essay while adhering to the general IB criteria. 

What is a Social and Cultural Anthropology Extended Essay?

The Social and Cultural Anthropology extended essay is like an in-depth research of human societies and cultures. IB students are encouraged to research different aspects of how people live and interact, moving from simple reading to asking questions, observing, and thinking critically.

This essay is a significant project where you conduct independent research and scholarship. You’ll spend around 40 hours researching primary and secondary sources and, if needed, conducting fieldwork. The goal is to assemble a formal piece of writing at most 4,000 words. In my opinion, when working on your Anthropology extended essay in IB, here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Take the lead and use your intellect to plan and carry out your research project.
  • Create a clear and specific research question.
  • Find and understand information from sources that match your research question.
  • Make a logical argument based on the information you’ve gathered to answer your research question.
  • Present your extended essay in a way that suits the subject, and give credit to your sources using the methods we’ve learned in IB.
  • Use the right words and phrases for the subject, showing you understand them well.
  • Apply thinking and evaluation skills that fit the subject, understanding how your research fits into the bigger picture.

So, the Anthropology extended essay offers IB students a chance to apply anthropological principles to real-world issues. It nurtures research skills and cultural sensitivity. By choosing an engaging topic and getting into the research process, you can easily succeed in this component of the IB Diploma Programme.

How to Write Anthropology Extended Essay: Choosing the Best Topic

Choosing a topic you are genuinely passionate about is crucial to your Anthropology extended essay. From my experience as an IB writer, I know that your enthusiasm for the issue will be a driving force in your research and writing process.

When you’re passionate about a topic, you’re more likely to stick with it over time. Your enthusiasm will help you stay motivated through the extended essay’s research and writing stages. Sometimes, your personal experiences or interests align with a particular topic. This emotional connection can add depth and authenticity to your essay.

Here are some examples of compelling Anthropology topics:

  • The Impact of Cultural Relativism on Anthropological Research
  • Rituals and Symbolism in Indigenous Societies
  • Gender Roles and Power Dynamics in Tribal Communities
  • The Influence of Globalization on Indigenous Languages
  • Cultural Appropriation in the Fashion Industry
  • Traditional Healing Practices and Modern Medicine
  • Cultural Perceptions of Death and Afterlife
  • Migration and its Effects on Cultural Identity
  • Cultural Significance of Food and Cuisine
  • Music and Dance as Expressions of Cultural Identity
  • Social Media and Changing Communication Patterns in Indigenous Communities
  • Environmental Conservation and Indigenous Knowledge
  • Cultural Responses to Climate Change
  • The Role of Religion in Shaping Cultural Beliefs and Practices
  • Indigenous Art as a Form of Cultural Preservation

So, picking a topic you are interested in can significantly enhance your experience writing your Anthropology extended essay. It will ensure you stay motivated, conduct thorough research, and produce quality work. Also, remember that the issues of Anthropology and racism are both relevant and significant in today’s world.

Writing an Anthropology extended essay requires careful research.

You can check out some Anthropology extended essay examples if you want more inspiration in choosing a relevant topic.

Research and Planning: The Foundation of Anthropology Extended Essay

Now, let’s move to the crucial research and planning phase. As far as I know, according to general IB criteria, thorough research is the bedrock for an outstanding extended essay in Anthropology. 

Use Only Reputable Sources

It’s not just about conducting research; it’s about using reliable and credible sources. In my work, I get into reputable academic journals, books, and databases specific to Anthropology. It will ensure the information you gather is of high quality and relevant to your topic:

  • Look for peer-reviewed Anthropology journals such as “American Anthropologist” or “Cultural Anthropology.”
  • Find books authored by renowned anthropologists like Margaret Mead, Claude Lévi-Strauss, or Clifford Geertz.
  • Your school or local university library can be a goldmine of anthropological resources.
  • Check websites and publications from professional anthropological associations like the American Anthropological Association (AAA).
  • Museums dedicated to Anthropology often have resources related to their collections and exhibitions.

While focusing on Anthropology-specific sources is vital, feel free to broaden your horizons. Check out interdisciplinary materials that offer unique perspectives on your chosen topic. Sometimes, insights from related fields can enrich your research.

State a Well-Defined Research Question

You must formulate a well-defined research question for a robust and compelling essay. This question should serve as your guiding star throughout the work. Here’s some more information to help you in this critical step:

  • Your research question should be crystal clear and precise. Avoid vague or overly broad inquiries. Instead, narrow it down to a specific aspect of your topic that you can thoroughly investigate.
  • Consider the relevance and significance of your research question. Ask yourself, “Why does this question matter in the context of Anthropology?” I believe the best research questions address real issues or gaps in knowledge within the field.
  • Feel free to consult with your supervisor during this process. They can offer valuable guidance and help ensure that your research question aligns with the expectations of the extended essay.

Remember, your research question is the cornerstone of your work, guiding your investigation and analysis. Stating it thoughtfully and precisely is crucial to success in your Anthropology extended essay.

Structure of the IB Extended Essay: Social Cultural Anthropology

The structure of your essay is critical. It serves as a framework that helps you organize your argument effectively and use the evidence you’ve gathered best. Here are the essential elements that must be included in your Anthropology extended essay:

  • Title Page. It is the first page of your essay and contains essential information such as the title, name, essay number, and date.
  • Abstract. It’s a concise summary of your essay’s main points and findings. It’s usually a short paragraph that gives readers an overview of what to expect.
  • Table of Contents. It outlines the structure of your paper, listing the sections and their corresponding page numbers.
  • Introduction. It is where you introduce your topic and present a clear thesis statement. It sets the stage for the rest of your paper.
  • Body (Development/Methods/Results). It is the heart of your paper. The body paragraphs provide details of your research, including the methods you used and the results you obtained. Each section of the body should flow logically from one to the next.
  • Conclusion. This part summarizes the main points and findings of your paper. It’s your chance to reinforce your thesis statement and leave your readers with a clear understanding of the significance of your research.
  • References and Bibliography. This section lists all the sources you’ve used in your research. It’s important to follow your chosen academic referencing system consistently.

The appendices are optional but can include additional information supporting your paper, such as charts, graphs, or other data. Consider using such details in your Anthropology extended essay.

Need help with your IB extended essay?

From research and analysis to structuring and editing, our skilled mentors will be by your side, helping you craft an exceptional extended essay that not only meets the wordcount and stringent IB criteria but also reflects your passion for selected IB group.

If you have trouble writing an extended essay at the very beginning, don’t despair! Our experienced IB writers are ready to help you!

International Baccalaureate Extended Essay in Anthropology: Final Touches

As you approach the final stages of your IB extended essay in Anthropology, it’s time to add those finishing touches that will make your work stand out.

Proper Citations and Referencing Styles

From my experience, proper citations and referencing are vital to avoiding plagiarism and maintaining academic integrity. You should choose a specific citation style like APA or MLA and make sure it’s consistently applied throughout your essay. It meets academic standards and adds a professional touch to your work. Remember, citing your sources is like crediting those who contributed to the construction of your essay.

Maintaining Clarity and Originality

Avoid repeating the same phrases repeatedly, like “release” or “initiate,” when discussing your findings. It’s crucial to keep your writing clear, fresh, and original. In my opinion, this makes your essay more engaging and demonstrates your ability to communicate your ideas effectively. Think of your essay as a unique piece of art where your words and ideas should shine.

Self-Editing Techniques

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of self-editing and seeking peer review. It’s like polishing a gem to make it shine even brighter. Such techniques can significantly enhance the quality of your essay. Look for common errors, ensure your writing is clear and concise, and check for inconsistencies. Seeking input from peers or mentors can provide valuable insights and suggestions for improvement.


To wrap it up, creating an Anthropology extended essay that meets the rigorous IB criteria requires careful planning and skillful execution. Following our guidelines, you can write exceptional work that achieves a high grade. And remember that your passion for the subject will undoubtedly shine through, leading to a remarkable essay in Social Cultural Anthropology that you can be proud of!

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