The IA

The Internal Assessment
The Topic
• You are allowed to choose any topic you
wish, so long as:
1) It does not involve events that have occurred
in the last 10 years.
2) You have some interest in it
3) It is recommended that IB candidates choose
a topic that will help them to develop
adequate knowledge base for the Paper 1, 2,
and 3 exams.
The Topic
Some suggested topics are:
To what extent was FDR and interventionist /
isolationist before US entry into WWII
Was Chamberlain’s appeasement of Hitler a mistake?
Was Hitler a typical German statesman?
Why did the Japanese decide to bomb Pearl Harbor?
What was the impact of strategic bombing on the
outcome of the World War II in either Europe or in
the Pacific?
How did Gaius Marius’ military reforms contribute
to the collapse of the Roman Republic?
The Topic
Some suggested topics are:
What was the consequence of FDR’s declaration at
Casablanca that the war would be fought to
unconditional surrender?
Was the conference at Yalta a success or a failure?
Why did the United States drop atom bombs on
To what degree was Germany the cause of the Cold
To what degree was Stalin responsible for the
beginning of the Cold War?
The Topic
Some suggested topics are:
What motivated the US to adopt a policy of
containment towards communism at the start of the
Cold War?
What issues motivated the drafting of NSC-68?
Why did North Korea invade South Korea in June of
Why did the Chinese intervene in the Korean War?
Evaluate the Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower.
The Topic
Some suggested topics are:
Why did Khrushchev send nuclear weapons to Cuba?
Why did the Cuban Missile Crisis not escalate into
Why did the United States escalate its involvement
and the conflict in Vietnam?
An examination of British policies in the Palestinian
Mandate towards Jewish immigration prior to WWII
or during WWII.
To what extent did British intervention cause the
Arab-Israeli conflict?
The IA should be put together in the following manner, using these
section headings. Your project MUST have a cover page with the
research question, your name, and if you’re taking the exams your
IB number. You MUST have a table of contents as well.
Cover Page
Table of Contents
A. Plan of Investigation
B. Summary of Evidence
C. Evaluation of Sources
D. Analysis
E. Conclusion
Word Count (1500-2000)
F. Sources
(3 Marks)
(6 Marks)
(5 Marks)
(6 Marks)
(2 Marks)
(3 Marks)
25 Marks
A. Plan of Investigation (3 Marks )
• State the question that you will explore and
attempt to answer in the paper
• Describe how you will find the answer
– What kind of evidence will you use
– Where will you have to go in order to find this
– What are some potential problems that you may face
in answering your question.
• Keep it SHORT
** You may also discuss how you did your
research; though, the first way is preferable.
Suggested word count: 100–150
B. Summary of Evidence (6 Marks)
• No general statements that are unsubstantiated
• Just the facts, Jack – A narrative of the relevant events
– Important conflicts that have arisen in the
historiography of the event – not commentary, merely
state their existence.
– All sources that are used must be cited in this section
• Best done in paragraphs, though a bullet point
approach may work or a strict summary of each
source used.
B. Summary of Evidence (6 Marks)
• Cite your sources
– Obvious info that could come from multiple
places does not need to be cited
– That which is specific to a source, such as an
idea, opinion, or very specific piece of data,
must be cited.
• Use a consistent method of citing sources –
MLA is a standard.
Suggested word count: 500-600
C. Evaluation of Sources (5 Marks)
• Evaluate TWO sources only
– It is preferred that you evaluate one primary
and one secondary source, but this is not a
– Evaluation needs to address the following:
• Origin and Purpose
• Value and Limitations
NOTE: This is what will be done for Paper 1 Exams
– The focus of the evaluation is on how the
source contributes to the investigation
C. Evaluation of Sources (5 Marks)
• You may easily organize your evaluation
by using the former criteria:
Relevance to research
C. Evaluation of Sources (5 Marks)
• Stay away from web sites – it may be done
but there is still a faintly bad odor around
• If you state something is biased, state WHY
it is biased, what the bias may arise from,
how it may influence the use of the source,
– Not everything is biased!
Suggested word count: 250-400
D. Analysis (6 Marks)
• BEGIN: Why does your research even matter – what
makes it important?
– Why is it important to understand the event or issue in terms of
what was happening at the time of the event itself – historical
• Keep a list of questions that arise during your research
about the events
– Analysis is an attempt to answer these questions, or at least
address that such questions exist and need an answer
• What is the quality of the available evidence and how
does it contribute to an understanding of the event being
• What are the other interpretations of the event
Suggested word count: 500-650
E. Conclusion (2 Marks)
• This is essentially the end of the last section
• It is your answer, based on the evidence found
and used, to the original research question.
– It is acceptable to state that a conclusion could not be
reached so long as this is justified.
– A single paragraph is adequate
• DO NOT bring up evidence or information not
previously discussed
• DO NOT ramble – by concise.
Suggested word count: 150-200
Word Count
• Include this immediately after section E.
• The investigation MUST be between
1500 – 2000 words
F. Sources/Word Limit(3 Marks)
• This is a standard bibliography.
• 5 sources is recommended as a minimum.
– 3 is too few
– 10 may be too many – though it is better to
have too many than to have too few.
• Web sites will always be suspect – make
sure they are either from schools or from
reputable places
– .org or .edu good - .com bad
• You will produce a rough draft that will
go through two edits:
1) Student edit
2) Teacher edit
I will do a quick read and comment on your
rough draft. If you wish, I will have a
meeting with you to discuss your IA and
possible changes – this is highly
recommended for those who are IB
Final Thoughts
• The IA will be worth a ¼ of your grade
for both semesters – do not put it off!
• It is not a difficult project, but instead
labor intensive.
Work together at your table to come up with four
research questions. At least one will be presented
to the class for critique.
Your research questions need to be narrow enough
so that they can be reasonably dealt with in the
space allowed (1,500 – 2,000 words)
Planning your historical investigation
1. Start by identifying a general area of interest.
2. Narrow it down to a specific question or area of investigation.
3. Choose a working title that may be changed or refined at a later stage.
4. Make sure sufficient resources can be obtained for the planned investigation.
5. Complete section A, the plan, and evaluate the suitability of the research area.
6. Read widely around the area of study and note down resources used.
7. Review the research question and refine it if necessary.
8. Take notes from resources, gathering evidence and diverse opinions.
9. Ensure accurate use of referencing.
10. Sort evidence thematically or chronologically.
11. Choose two suitable sources to evaluate in section C.
12. Review your analysis. Check for differing viewpoints where appropriate.
13. Write the investigation, according to IB guidelines.

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