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It depends slightly on the topic. 

Books and other written material are more important for non-science ones. 

IB likes to see written work. They will dock points for just internet sources Human Rights EE See page 22, the candidate lost 2 marks for no books. It is not going to kill your score to not use written works but it seems dumb to lose points over something that simple.


EDIT: "The student uses too many internet sources (although these are reliable) but no books." Websites are perfectly fine if used in moderation. They are best as supplemental research. 

Also both history teachers at my school continue to make reference to the fact that IB wants written material. My teachers require at least half of all material to be in print, not websites. (Journal articles published on a database count as print material.) 

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Hey there, 


As IB_taking_over said, it depends slightly on the topic that you have chosen. However, I think he misunderstood slightly the implications of the feedback given on the sample. Although the examiner does show discontent with the lack of books, that - from my understanding - does not mean that you HAVE to have books in order to get full marks. What it does mean is that the author of that sample needed to find more academic sources. If you have a look through the sources that person had used, they're - with one exception - all UN and governmental webpages. That won't do. You need to have sources from a number of different sources so that you get different perspectives on the topic you're analysing, and you won't get that if you only use UN sources. What I think the 'no books' comment actually implies, is that the research lacks academic depth, as no source are truly academic. The Nieman report cited might be from Harvard, but cannot be said to be of an academic nature, and is a very short piece (half a page) with no citations. It is written by a retired journalist, not an academic researcher.


It is most likely this lack of academic literature, rather than a lack of books particularly, that caused such a comment. Of course, when it comes to well-established topics, books are incredibly useful for the EEs, particularly for overarching topics (like in that sample, Human Rights theories) - and if you have the chance, do read a few  - but I don't believe they are, strictly speaking, necessary for good marks. Engagement with academic literature is required, however. There are many books that are non-academic (i.e. not written by a scholar), and there are some that are (though these are often more expensive should you wish to buy them). 


Academic literature are usually considered to be journal articles (particularly peer-reviewed journals), academic books, academic reports, etc. You have to be careful about websites, as anyone can publish anything online and make it look professional. You have learnt about basic source evaluation, right? 



Good luck! 



EDIT: Just to make something clear, here: Depending on the subject you're writing in, you're not restricted to the use of only academic literature. For instance, if your EE is in History, then by all means use first-hand sources and relevant newspaper articles. Grey material can be used with great effect, if done correctly.  My point is that you have to engage with an academic literature and use that as the vehicle behind your arguments, you cannot write your essay with only non-academic work (this even if your focal point is some non-academic materials). 

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