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Choosing a Global Politics Extended Essay Research Question

Choosing your EE Research Question in Global Politics can be particularly challenging. This article will tell you how.

The GP guide says that you are to “deeply analyze an important, contemporary global political issue.” If you aren’t sure what is considered a political issue in Global Politics, this page makes it really simple to understand what a political issue is (and what to do with one).

The 3 Tests of a Good Global Politics EE Research Question

Test 1: Is it Contemporary?

One rule you need to remember for Global Politics is that your issue needs to be contemporary means it is something that happens during your lifetime (so during the past 18 years). It also can’t be the same political issue that you’ve used for another assessment component (i.e. the EA or an extension presentation). .

Test 2: Can you be more specific?

Keep focused on a tightly defined question. Not broad. The most common feedback I give to my students (and those I help online) is that you want to tighten your question. For example, make it about more of a specific case or more of a specific time-period. Obviously it is possible to make it too specific (i.e. so not enough data is available). We’ll explore how to handle this challenge in more depth online.

Test 3: How can you explore this?

We’ve seen before (i.e. with the 7 Areas) that GP is different from other Group 3 courses. Here again, there’s an important difference. In Business or Economics certain topics just ARE clearly appropriate topics. As a Business and Econ teacher I can tell students almost right away whether their topic will work. For GP quite a range of possible topics can be workable. What matters is HOW you are going to explore it. If you can explore it using the 7 Areas for Global Politics and it’s contemporary you’re

Here are some RQ examples

Students can explore quite a big variety of types of questions for their Global Politics EE. Here are some explanations of what topics you would explore, with example questions for each:

How media portrayals can differ from government information

  • For example: “A comparison of how the Hong Kong protests of late 2014 were portrayed in the official media in Singapore versus the reporting undertaken by NGOs X, Y and Z active in Singapore” (Example from the GP Guide).

How the success of a political party in one country can influence outcomes in another country.

  • For example: “The influence of the election success of Syriza in Greece on the campaign and outcomes of the 2015 parliamentary election in Spain” (Example from the GP Guide).

How particular groups or individuals have struggled for political power.

  • “An evaluation of the ability of Mexican migrants to achieve a political voice in county X in Arizona” (Example from the GP Guide).

Political trends in a particular country.

  • “To what extent should we be worried about the use of “big data” in election campaigns? The case of the Obama 2012 campaign.” (Example from the GP Guide).

A comparison of global political trends have had different effects in two countries.

  • “To what extent are the ideological and practical forces that drive urbanization global instead of nation-specific? A comparison of the political rhetoric, government policies and impact of global forces in driving migration from rural areas into cities in Australia and Indonesia.” (Example from the GP Guide).

How a single crisis has affected political relations between two countries.

  • To what extent is the evolution in the Russia–China relationship during and after the 2014– 15 Ukraine crisis evidence that a realist view on international politics still has applicability?”  (Example from the GP Guide).

There are a few more tests

All of the above questions would be potentially-acceptable EE research questions.

However, there are a few reasons that they still might not work for you. You can talk your RQ ideas through with me here (IBMastery Coaching) or you can access my online Global Politics Mastery Resources to better understand what EE question would be a best fit for you.


Written by Tim Woods

Tim’s passion for supporting students led to him creating IBMastery in 2009. Since then he’s helped many thousands of IB students and teachers around the world. Tim is now available for personal tutoring every day, to help you get your best possible marks in IB. Click here to work with him.