ITGS Extended Essay topic ideas

ITGS Extended Essay

It is the time of year again when we start thinking about writing Extended Essays. The blog post Thinking of Writing an ITGS Extended Essay? explains some of the things to consider when deciding whether or not to write an ITGS extended essay. This post is going to focus on topics that are suitable for an ITGS EE.

Note that the ideas listed below are topic ideas and areas, not Research Questions. They need refining into a specific and sharply focused Research Question before they are suitable for an extended essay. However, you receive marks in Criterion A for doing this, so I am not going to do it for you here!

Business and Employment EE topic ideas:

  • The effectiveness of solutions to prevent online fraud
  • The use of employee monitoring technology
  • Cost savings of FOSS compared to commercial software
  • The use of social networks by small businesses

Education EE topic ideas: 

  • The use of computer models to replace science experiments in schools
  • The impacts of 1-1 computer programmes in schools
  • The use of student information systems to improve teaching and learning
  • The privacy impacts of student tracking systems
  • Effective solutions to ensure appropriate technology use in a school

Environment EE topic ideas:

  • The use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) when planning construction projects
  • The awareness and impact of electronic waste
  • The use of virtualisation as a method of reducing server power consumption

Health EE topic ideas:

  • The use of tele-medicine to treat patients in rural areas
  • The impacts of implementing electronic health records in a hospital
  • The effectiveness of mobile phone technology for distributing health advice and education
  • Software and hardware to help disabled users with poor eyesight

Home and Leisure EE topic ideas:

  • The impact of software / music / film piracy

Politics & Government EE topic ideas: 

  • The impacts of open government sites on service provision
  • The use of online technology for election campaigning

This is not a definitive list by any means – there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other possible topics. But remember – these are only topic areas. An extended essay (ITGS or otherwise) needs a sharply focused research question that can be addressed within the 4000 word limit.

23 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I would like like ask you if i can use your posts on my blog with your reference as they are of great help to my students and me.

    Thanks

  2. Hey,

    I wanted to ask if Social and Ethical of social networking is a good topic? Or can you help me in framing a proper research question related to social networking??

    • Well, it is rather vague. I would suggest you look more closely at some articles relating to social networking and check the list of specific ITGS social and ethical issues to see which issues are raised. This should help you better understand the topic options that are out there.

    • Hi,

      It probably needs focusing down: RFID tags are used in a lot of areas and by a lot of different stakeholders (for example, everything from monitoring good in supermarkets to monitoring students). To achieve the level of detail required in the extended essay, you should definitely narrow things down.

    • As an IT system Virtual Learning Environments fall into ITGS, definitely. In fact they are in section 2.2 of the syllabus (Education). However, you cannot just write an extended essay about an IT system – you need to add context so that you can examine the social and ethical impacts of the system in that context. For example, a good topic might be the use of VLEs in schools or the use of VLEs in prisons. Once you have a 'general' topic, then you need to refine it to produce the research question.

  3. Hello,

    I was wondering how you would approach the research question of To what extent has the development of new technologies accelerated the outsourcing of white collar jobs from the United States to Southeast Asia.

    • I'd say you need to narrow it down, a lot. "New technologies" is very vague (and remember that not all technology is information technology and therefore not suitable for ITGS). "White collar jobs" is also very broad. I would focus on a particular area of technology and a particular industry, and perhaps even narrow down the geographical area too.

    • Well, obviously you need to focus on social impacts….so start by finding out who is involved in the e-waste “situation” (the stakeholders). Then you will need to do a little bit of research on each to see how they are affected. This will probably lead you to discard some ideas. You should consider the quality and quantity of research material available, and also what *primary* research you can do. This will help you narrow things down. The focus should be quite narrow: something like “The impacts of e-waste on LEDCs and MEDCs and manufacturers of equipment across the world” is FAR too broad and would make a bad question.

  4. I decided to write my extended essay in ITGS.
    i’m interested in writing about the introduction of IT systems in schools, libraries. its effects on people life style.
    IS IT A GOOD TOPIC???
    IF YES, CAN ANYONE plz RE-FRAME THE QUESTION?

  5. Hi there!

    I’m thinking of writing my essay on ransomware yet I am having difficulty structuring a question. I would like to discuss the impacts of ransomware on different stakeholders and strategies used to tackle the problem of ransomware.

    I was thinking of a question along the lines of “To what extent has the rise of ransomware changed the way technology is used”, however it is too broad and I’m not quite sure how to make it more specific.

    • You’re right, it is too broad. It sounds obvious, but tighten up the bits which are too broad. “Technology” and “is used” are prime candidates. Which technology? And used where? The impacts of ransomware will be somewhat different for home users compared to large businesses. That second question might depend a fair bit on your initial research. Even last week a Canadian university paid ransomware authors to get their data back: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-36478650

    • I’d look to see if you can incorporate some of the ITGS social and ethical issues into the question. “Dependent” isn’t really much of an impact – something either “is dependent” or isn’t, which doesn’t offer you a lot of opportunity to explore the question in depth. It might also be a good idea to narrow it down to a particular industry / type of product – obviously which one would depend on your primary research sources.

  6. Hello there!

    I have this one topic I have been thinking about writing an ITGS Extended Essay on, but I am not certain if it’s completely appropriate. I will elaborate.

    I want to write an essay about the advances of Physically Based Rendering and the effects it had (is still having?) on the field of computer graphics and rendering. (It is not the research question yet, I will narrow it down to something neat and specific later.) It is a subject that I’m knowledgeable about, and I’m confident I should be able to reach some people related to the field to conduct my research. (In fact I originally intended to write a CS EE on the subject, but some of the essay requirements related to that particular subject made me realize that it was unfeasible.) However, I a little worried that it might be a little /too/ niche and insignificant for the ITGS subject. It is the “society” part that worries me a little here. This new trend of rendering methods, while groundbreaking and completely flipping some aspects of computer graphics upside down, may not have the same impact on an average person as implementing electronic health records in a hospital or student tracking systems in schools.

    Furthermore, however you look at it, computer graphics are already a discipline born from information technology, so it really only boils down to one kind of information technology enriching another, something I’m not sure is acceptable as a topic. I am also not completely sure if there are any ethical sides to it at all (although I could probably dig something here, as the opponents on PBR claim that due to introduction of standardized physical parameters it makes all the graphics look the same, which I could potentially spin as an issue against artistic freedom or something to this effect).

    It would really help me if you could advise me on this. I don’t think there’s anyone knowledgeable about ITGS on my continent (let alone my school).

    • I think you’ve really answered your own question there. I agree – it is very niche. That is not necessarily a problem, but I wonder if the impacts of the technology are rather “one dimensional” – it doesn’t seem to me like there would be a lot to analyse. A CS EE would probably need an algorithmic angle, but you say CS has already been discounted?

      • Yes, I would say so unfortunately. The levels of programming and mathematics/physics involved in rendering processes are a bit of an obstacle for me, and I was more interested in practical implications of the technology rater then the meanders of algorithms involved anyway. It would also be somewhat problematic to compare different rendering systems in terms of output in an exact objective “data-ish” way (other then maybe measuring their performance I guess), since their effectiveness is directly related to subjective human perception.

        This said, the implications of the physically based rendering technology aren’t necessarily as one dimensional as they might seem – although they might be contained socially to the group of computer artists and their customers/recipients. I’ve noticed that there are already some topics on the list that are related to businesses and cost savings related to the use of open software, and as such also have their social scopes limited (to entrepreneurs and companies).

        In terms of there not being enough to analyse however I think it’s not quite true. PBR completely changes the way many aspects of computer graphics are handled, not only in terms of internal processing but also content creation. I was thinking about spinning it in such a way as to prove that PBR reduces the amount of work required significantly, averting the existing trend of requiring more and more manpower to produce top-shelf content as the standards of technology improve. I suppose that I could then, in turn, link it to allowing smaller parties to create content comparable to AAA-companies and thus allowing more creative freedom or something to this effect. So, as you can see, the impacts can be pretty complex!

        Thank you a lot for responding! It helps me to know that at least I’m not going into it completely blind anymore.

  7. Hello there

    i have one question regarding the topics, is it okay if i use lets say Pokemon GO as my ee topic or would it be better to find something else?

    • It depends a large amount on what your research question would be. The EE needs to be an investigation rather than a descriptive report, so your first line of thought should be which aspect of Pokemon Go you want to investigate / research.

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