Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

Extended Essay: the dreaded Word Count

Recommended Posts

My extended essay is due pretty pretty darn soon. I have been cutting out tonnnns and tonnnnns of words, but I have yet to cut out another 300 to reach the 4000-word word-limit.

Seeing as I have already cut out almost half of my EE (yes, those smart people can do the math and deduce what I started with), I have tried to be rather sneaky. Below are the questions I have about my sneakyness, and some good answers would be much appreciated.

1) I have used many footnotes, which do not count for the word-limit. My supervisor says it's OK, but I am very worried that they are too crammed. Some of them are sentences explaining, for example, a particular word not fully explained in the text. How do I know if they are too crammed?

2) I had one part in my essay where I talked for about 200 words about how a certain document relevant to my essay was described by a professor. Because I desperately need to cut down on the word-count, I put this into a table with the "word used" in the one column, and the "reason why" in the next column. It looks professional, but will they penalize me for doing so?

3) The exact research-question has to be stated in the introduction, but I can't squeeze in ANY more words. I have added a text-box with the question in it. Does this count towards the total word count?

4) Do the headings and section-titles count for the word-count?

Any intelligent advice would be seriously appreciated!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1) You just have to judge it for yourself. If your supervisor says it's okay it probably is, but if you're worried maybe cut down the words that you have in the footnotes a bit: try to be clear and concise.

2) Not sure.

3) Probably.

4) No.

If you want, I'm happy to look at your EE and try to cut down some words for you. I did this for one of my friends during the year and in one sitting cut out about 600 words.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey! I don't know about the definition/explanation footnotes, all of my footnotes were purely to reference a source such as website/date or book/page number. I was never really told I could do what you've done, but hey that doesn't mean it's definitely not acceptable, someone else will have to comment on that one. The text box explaining that document confused me a little, and I'm sure it looks professional, but it still counts. I don't think any text in appendices or something counts in the word count, but I didn't have an appendix, and I stuck with the rule that anything in the middle of the essay will still get counted, so be wary of it. Plus, you may see it as professional, but if they find it random or that it breaks the flow of the text, they might deduct marks for formal presentation, even if you got under the word limit. As for the title in the introduction, no unfortunately as far as I'm aware it's important that it is stated in the introduction, having it in a text box won't help there, and I'm fairly sure they would count what's in that text box, otherwise people would be sticking headings in text boxes and passing it off as not part of the word count.

Which brings me to another of your questions - unfortunately, headings do count. Basically think of it as everything from introduction - conclusion counts unless it is a footnote. I did a history EE which I used many headings for, like Introduction, or part i) context, and even suheadings like 'Germany and Berlin split between the Allies', or 'Construction of the Wall.' It all counts! I had to cut an extra 100 from my EE to keep my headings once I found out, and I'd already had to cut over a 1000, so I know your pain somewhat :(

Edited by TykeDragon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Sarahlouise, I was told that they did count. The ones saying 'Introduction' or indicating a shift in topic, like for me I had 'Berlin Blockade and Airlift' for example? Initially I thought the same as you but my supervisor corrected me and I had to adjust because it all counts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Sarahlouise, I was told that they did count. The ones saying 'Introduction' or indicating a shift in topic, like for me I had 'Berlin Blockade and Airlift' for example? Initially I thought the same as you but my supervisor corrected me and I had to adjust because it all counts.

I was told that they didn't haha. I'm pretty sure they only count words that are in the body of your essay - which does not include headings. I didn't include headings in my word count and it wasn't a problem.

They're not too picky about the word count anyway. It's only if it looks a bit long that they will actually count it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahh still, surely it's not worth gambling the 4 mark penalty? :P And well I was told that all the headings counted as being the body of the essay because they are optional to help structure it and stuff,,,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Q4 - Headings in essays (basically - anything in the body of the essay) do count - but as observed, they make up such a tiny number of words that nobody tends to notice.

With footnotes, it's a little context-dependent. If the footnotes are literally just points of explanation/clarification where the examiner could well know what the point is that you're explaining (e.g. a specific word like Anschluss in history, where anybody familiar with the area would know what you're on about), then I wouldn't worry. However it's important to remember that:

- too many footnotes piss examiners off and one of the criteria is holistic. They can tell if you're trying to skip the word count via footnotes.

- any stuff which forms an integral part of your essay should NOT be in the footnotes

- the examiner doesn't have to read the footnotes, so your whole essay should be intelligible (bar things like definitions, minor clarifications, as I said before) if they don't even glance at the footnotes

Ideally you should keep footnotes to an absolute minimum.

For your second question, it depends what your essay is on. Essay-based subjects really require a proper essay format out of etiquette e.g. English Lit., History, Philosophy etc., but science and maths subjects nobody will care. You'll pretty much never ever in a million years find any papers written in essay subjects where tables have been used, outside of textbooks.

Question 3, yes it does count towards your work count if it's in the introduction. Can't you just make your research question into your title and put it on the front page where it won't count? I don't understand how or why these two things would be different. Even if it means your title is something like "The Diet of the Monkey: Do they prefer green or brown bananas?" with the 'title' and then the research Q. Or it could just be "Do monkeys prefer green or brown bananas?" so the title IS your RQ and problem solved.

With editing out words, you have some options which you may (or may not) have explored. Firstly, grammatical/wording editing to make your writing very sparing. Instead of "and at the time of the war" --> "during wartime", that sort of thing. Just be careful to keep it intelligible and formal. No "do not" --> "don't", for instance. You can also cut out a small section if there are any slightly peripheral parts to your essay. It's a big step but sometimes better than sabotaging the whole thing. If needs be, you can slightly narrow your research question to do this. Anyway, if you haven't done the wording editing, it's a massively powerful tool and can cut reams and reams of words out without you realising if you just scour back through the whole essay fixing things up. I've eliminated easily 500 words out of a 2,000 word essay in this way before! Just some ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can't you just make your research question into your title and put it on the front page where it won't count? I don't understand how or why these two things would be different.

The research question has to be "stated in both the abstract and introduction of the essay" (EE guide, 2013) so unfortunately it has to be in the intro. Maybe look at your points and see if there is one that you don't think you have argued as effectively and cut it. Also, make sure there isn't too much narrative, if you are using more than 200 words to explain an example then you definitely need to reword it. If you have in text citations such as historian johnny said "..." then cut it and put that sort of stuff in a footnote.

Check out this thread if you already haven't for more ideas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.