Preliminary interview

As part of our responsibilities as supervisors, we are supposed to monitor the progress of our candidates. After they have defined their research question, the next step is for them to become familiar with research that is available. Many students struggle with this part of the task.

As a supervisor with many candidates, sometimes it is difficult to touch base with them. And yet I strongly believe that only when a student can discuss their topic will s/he be able to write about it.

The purpose of this activity is to provide the student with feedback on their initial reading on their topic without having to schedule personal conferences. It also requires the student to be more prepared to discuss their research progress.


I have students create a video to update me on their research process. It can simply be done as YouTube videos which students either download or send a link to the supervisor.

The first step is for the student to read about their topic in relation to the question which they have chosen to investigate. After having read - and hopefully understood - three sources, they are now ready to do their interview.

Either alone or with a partner, students are to prepare a YouTube video in which they present their knowledge of the topic so far. If they do it alone, it will be like a news report; if they do it with a partner, it may be more like a television interview. In the presentation, they need to answer the following three questions:

  1. What is important for the listener to know about your topic? Define terms and give some background to your question.
  2. What have you found out so far with regard to your research question?
  3. What are your next steps? What do you need to find out in order to develop an argument? What difficulties are you having at this stage of the process?

When students send you the link to a Youtube video, you can comment directly on the video if they have enabled comments.  You may also give audio comments rather than written ones. Finally, you may want to have other EE candidates in psychology also give feedback in order to reinforce the importance of the early research process with all of your candidates.

Extended essay preliminary interview handout

All materials on this website are for the exclusive use of teachers and students at subscribing schools for the period of their subscription. Any unauthorised copying or posting of materials on other websites is an infringement of our copyright and could result in your account being blocked and legal action being taken against you.