Extended Essay-History

Hello! My school is doing the Extended Essay for the first time and I just wanted to seek out some suggestions/guidance/advice on my RQ.

Here is my research question: What influences other countries to assist China against Japan during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937 to 1945)?

Do you think it’s a good research question that work for my extended essay? How can I improve it/make it better?


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Hey there,

First of all, you should make sure the RQ makes grammatical sense. That's tip #1

Tip #2: Try to be more specific. What other countries are we speaking about? Focus on one or two. What kind of factors are you going to speak about? Consider focusing on only one - or do a comparative analysis about the significance of a couple of factors. 

Tip #3: Do more research. The RQ is never a finished product, you should always consider it a work in progress - as something to refine. For that reason, do more research and refine the question as you go. Good research questions are rooted in good research, not vice versa. 

Tip #4: Make the question analytical, so that you force yourself to satisfy one of the key requirements for the EE. Right now, with a 'what' question, the only required answer is 'X, Y and Z made countries support China in the Second Sino-Japanese War'. If you can answer your question this easily, then you haven't really done a good job on the analytical front. Instead, ask questions such as 'why', 'to what extent', etc. The simplest answer you want to give should be something to the effect of 'County A and B were compelled to support China because of factors X, Y and Z. However, in the case of Country A, X was the most important factor, whereas for Country B, factor Y had a greater significance. This is due to the fact that....' You see where I'm going here?

Tip #5: Through the research, figure out and define the core contention within the RQ. What do academics and experts disagree on when it comes to your RQ? Why do their opinions differ? If there's no contention at all, you will not have an analysis, as you will not be able to provide well-grounded counterclaims to your main arguments in the essay. If you struggle with this, do some broad reading from various authors. If you read only one book about the matter, you will only get one perspective. You want to get as many perspectives as possible. Of course, sometimes this means that you need the tweak your research question a bit, but that's good progress if so.The RQ is never a finished product. 


I think this'll be a good starting point, for now. Good luck! 



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