28 Jun ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS AND SOCIETIES EXTENDED ESSAY
Choice of topic
Environmental systems and societies focuses upon the interaction and integration of “natural” environmental systems and human societies.
Your topic should:
• have a sharp focus on the interaction between environmental systems and societies,
• should give significant (though not necessarily equal) weight to both the ecological processes and societal activities
• be interdisciplinary in nature,
• be open to analytical argument,
• allow you to demonstrate some grasp of how both environmental systems and societies function in the relationship.
Your study must explore the context of some human interaction with the environmental system.
Before a final decision is made about the choice of topic the relevant subject guidelines should be carefully considered.
You should aim to choose a topic that is both interesting and challenging. The topic chosen should be limited in scope and sufficiently narrow to allow you to examine an issue or problem in depth. It should present you with the opportunity to collect or generate information and/or data for analysis and evaluation. You are not expected to make a contribution to knowledge within a subject.
A crucial feature of any suitable topic is that it must be open to analytical argument. If the topic chosen fails in this regard, and lends itself only to a descriptive or narrative treatment, then you will be denied a large proportion of the available credit according to the assessment criteria. For example, it would be of minimal value simply to describe a given nature reserve; it would be necessary to evaluate its relationship with a local community possibly, or compare its achievement with original objectives or with a similar initiative elsewhere. The topic must, in some way, leave room for an argument that you construct and support from your own analysis of the information, rather than simply reporting analyzed data obtained from other sources.
Some topics are unsuitable for ethical or safety reasons, such as those requiring experiments that might:
• inflict pain on living organisms
• cause unwarranted environmental damage
• put pressure on others to behave unethically
These guidelines should be read in conjunction with the IB extended essay general guidelines.