Effective Research for Your IB Internal Assessment

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If you’re an IB student looking for the most effective way to conduct research for your Internal Assessment, then you’ve come to the right place! The Internal Assessment is a compulsory assignment, and it requires detailed research in order to assess a particular topic. Contrary to what some may believe, researching effectively isn’t always easy, which is why we’ve created this blog guide: to provide you with actionable tips on how to successfully execute reliable and innovative research. From understanding specific terminology used in academic papers, defining key terms related to your IA subject, utilizing productive search engine strategies – to name just a few – we’ll cover various ways that can make your IA research process much more efficient and enjoyable. So get ready and let’s dive into conducting powerful research that can help boost the quality of your internal assessment paper!

This article is a part of The Ultimate Guide to IB Internal Assessment: Tips, Strategies, and Best Practices

The Value of Research in Writing an IB Internal Assessment.

To ensure that your IA is properly written and meets the standards set by the International Baccalaureate organization, it is important to understand why research is such an integral part of this process. 


Citing Sources Properly 

Submitting an IA without citing sources could result in plagiarism accusations, which is something that no student ever wants to deal with. Therefore, it is essential to not only do your own research but also cite all sources accurately. The last thing you want is to have your work rejected because you failed to cite sources correctly or omitted them altogether. It’s important to note that there are many different citation styles and formats used throughout academia, so make sure that you familiarize yourself with the requirements for each one before submitting your paper. 

Gathering Supporting Evidence 

When writing an Internal Assessment, it’s important to include evidence that supports your arguments and points. This means going beyond just citing sources; it means actually doing the legwork necessary to find relevant evidence that backs up what you are trying to say in your paper. This could mean searching through scholarly journals or even conducting interviews with experts in the field if necessary. Gathering evidence helps bolster your argument and makes it more convincing overall. 

Gaining Deeper Knowledge Of Your Topic Researching for an IA gives you an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of your topic since you will be digging into every facet of it over a period of time. Doing comprehensive research will help you uncover new insights about the subject matter which can be included in your paper, as well as give you a better grasp on how everything fits together as a whole instead of just having a limited view from studying textbooks or online resources alone. As a result, researching when writing an IA can help produce better papers overall!  

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Determine your Internal Assessment research question.

Research questions are essential in any study or project, as they help focus on a particular issue and guide the development of the entire project. For example, if you’re studying the effects of climate change, your research question could be, “How is climate change affecting the environment?” 


When determining a research question, it’s important to keep in mind the following criteria: 

1) It should be specific and clear – Your research question should be narrow enough that you can adequately cover it within the scope of your internal assessment. Avoid using general terms like “why” or “how come,” as these do not provide enough direction. Instead, opt for more specific phrases such as “what factors led to…” or “in what ways does….” 

2) It should be relevant – Make sure that your research question is relevant to the topic you are researching. Don’t choose a research question simply because it sounds interesting; instead, make sure that it will actually help answer questions about the topic at hand. Additionally, ensure that your research question is narrow enough that you can provide concrete answers with data and evidence. 

3) It should be feasible – Consider whether it is realistic to complete your proposed research within the given time frame and resources available. If not, modify your research question accordingly until it becomes feasible.  

4) It should have an impact – Your research should have implications beyond its immediate findings; ask yourself whether this project could potentially lead to larger conversations or further studies on related topics.  

5) It should have a purpose – The last step in determining a good research question is ensuring that its purpose is clear and valid; consider why you chose this topic in particular and why it matters today.

How to Choose Credible Sources for Your Internal Assessment.

Know Your Topic: before you even start researching potential sources, it’s important that you have a good understanding of what you’re looking for. You should have a clear purpose in mind when researching so that you can narrow down your search for more specific results. Familiarize yourself with the subject matter before starting your search; this will help ensure that the sources you find are relevant and useful. 


Search Wisely: start by using keywords related to your topic when searching for research material; this will help narrow down the results and give you more focused results. Additionally, be sure to include any other relevant terms or phrases in order to broaden or refine your search further. For example, if you’re looking for information on gender inequality in education, try searching “gender inequality education” instead of just “education,” as this will yield more precise results. Also, consider using specialized databases such as Google Scholar, which allow users to easily search through academic journals, books, and other resources specifically tailored toward scholarly research. 


Evaluate Your Sources: Once you’ve identified some potential sources of information, it’s important that you evaluate them carefully before using them in your paper. Make sure that the source is from a reputable organization or institution, and make sure that it has been published within the last five years – outdated information isn’t helpful! It’s also important that any data cited is up-to-date, so double check any statistics provided with other reliable sources if possible. Lastly, be sure to read through all of the material thoroughly; if something doesn’t sound right or seems too biased, then it may not be appropriate for use in your paper.

Five Research Methods for Your IB Internal Assessment


Reading is one of the most common methods of doing research. Whether it’s online or in print, reading is a great way to gain insight into your topic. Make sure to read multiple sources so that you have a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter. Additionally, take notes as you read so that you can easily refer back to what you’ve learned during the writing process. 



If possible, try to interview someone who has knowledge about the topic that you are researching. Interviews are especially useful if your topic is related to current events or if you need input from an expert on the subject matter. Make sure to record or otherwise document all interviews so that their contents can be referenced later on when writing your paper. 


Another method of doing research is by observing people in action or by looking at data related to the topic at hand. For example, if you are researching voter behavior in a particular election cycle, then observe how people interact with each other while they wait in line at polling stations or look at data related to voting patterns across different demographics and age groups. This type of observational research can provide valuable insights into the dynamics of human behavior and decision-making processes which may not be available through other methods.   


Analyzing & Synthesizing Data 

Once you have collected all the necessary data for your research project, it’s time to start analyzing and synthesizing it into something meaningful and actionable. This involves looking for trends within datasets and interpreting them in order to draw conclusions about the underlying causes behind them or identify potential solutions based on those results. It also involves comparing different sets of data side-by-side in order to look for correlations between them and draw even more detailed conclusions about any given phenomenon under study.   


Collecting Testimonials & Stories 

Finally, don’t forget about collecting testimonials and stories from individuals who have experienced first-hand what it’s like dealing with whatever issue or problem you are studying as part of your internal assessment project! These personal accounts can provide invaluable insight into how people feel or think about certain topics and may uncover entirely new dimensions which could not have been identified via more traditional methods such as reading or interviewing experts alone. Just make sure that any stories collected remain anonymous!

How to Take Thorough and Organized Notes on Your Research for your Internal Assessment

Organize Your Notes Strategically 

Having an organized system for taking notes is essential when conducting research for the IA. One way to keep track of all the information you have gathered is by using topic-based folders. This means that you create separate folders for each subtopic related to your research question, such as “Literature Review” or “Methodology.” You can then store all relevant documents and notes into these folders so that everything is easy to find when it comes time to write up your IA. 


Another helpful strategy is setting aside specific times during the day or week for researching and note-taking. This helps make sure that you are dedicating enough time to both tasks without getting behind in either one of them. Additionally, make sure you take advantage of tools like Evernote or Google Keep, which allow you to easily organize and categorize notes in one central location. 

Be Selective When Taking Notes 

When gathering information from books, articles, or other sources, it’s important to be selective when jotting down notes. Try not to copy down entire paragraphs verbatim; instead, focus on summarizing key points so that they are easier to remember when writing up your IA later on. Additionally, make sure that whatever sources you are citing in your notes match up with what is cited in your final paper; otherwise, it can lead to plagiarism issues down the line. 


Another good practice is highlighting or underlining keywords or phrases as well as recording page numbers from where the information was taken; this way, it’s easier for you later on when referencing back to those materials in your final paper. Also, try noting any questions about the source material that may pop up while reading—this helps ensure that there are no gaps in understanding prior to writing up the paper itself.

How to Check Sources for Quality and Credibility

Using Relevant Databases 

The first step in evaluating the quality and credibility of your sources is to make sure that they come from a reputable source. One way to do this is by using relevant databases, such as EBSCOhost or JSTOR. These databases contain articles from academic journals, magazines, newspapers, and other publications that have been checked for accuracy by experts in the field. When using these databases, make sure that you search only for sources related to your topic. This will help ensure that any information you use is accurate and up-to-date.   

Checking for Peer-Reviewed Sources 

Another way to check for quality and credibility is by looking for peer-reviewed sources. Academic journals often require authors to submit their work for review by other experts in the field before publication. These reviews help ensure that the article contains accurate information and that all claims made within it can be backed up with evidence. If a source does not mention anywhere in its text or bibliography that it has been peer-reviewed, then it may not be credible enough for an IB internal assessment paper. 

Reading Reviews from Others 

After you’ve found a few potential sources, take some time to read reviews from people who have used them before. For example, if you find an article on a website or blog post written by someone who claims they have expertise on your topic, check out their biography page or resume page to see if they actually have credentials related to the topic they are discussing. Additionally, reading reviews from others can provide insight into whether the source is trustworthy or not; if no one else has had positive experiences with it, then chances are, neither will you

Ten Tips on How to Conduct Effective Research for Your IB Internal Assessment

  1. Understand the research question: Before beginning any research, make sure you fully understand the research question and what is expected of you. This will help you to focus your research and ensure that you are collecting relevant information.
  2. Use a variety of sources: To conduct effective research, it is important to use a variety of sources. This includes books, journal articles, websites, and interviews. Using a variety of sources will provide a well-rounded view of your topic and increase the credibility of your research.
  3. Use reputable sources: When using sources, make sure they are reputable. Avoid using unreliable sources such as personal blogs or Wikipedia. Instead, use sources from reputable organizations or universities.
  4. Keep track of your sources: Keeping track of your sources is important for the accuracy of your research and to avoid plagiarism. Use tools such as citation software to help you organize your sources and create a reference list.
  5. Take notes: While conducting research, take notes on important information and keep them organized. This will make it easier to review and analyze your research later on.
  6. Analyze your sources: Don’t just read your sources; analyze them. Look for patterns, trends, and similarities. This will help you to identify key information and make connections between sources.
  7. Use a research method: There are many research methods to choose from, such as qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods. Choose the one that is best suited to your research question and the information you are collecting.
  8. Write an outline: Before you begin writing your internal assessment, create an outline. This will help you to organize your thoughts and ensure that your work is structured and easy to follow.
  9. Proofread and edit your work: Before submitting your internal assessment, proofread and edit your work to ensure that it is free of errors. This will make your work look more professional and increase your chances of getting a good grade.
  10. Get feedback: Finally, get feedback on your work from your teachers or peers. This will help you to identify any areas that need improvement and make sure that your internal assessment is of the highest quality.


Research is a crucial component of the IB Internal Assessment. In order to produce a high-quality and well-researched IA, students must first take the time to consider their research question carefully and select appropriate sources that will help them answer this question effectively. Additionally, it is important for students to keep organized notes on their research as they progress in order to ensure that they have all the information they need when it comes time to write their final paper or presentation. Finally, students should be sure to evaluate the quality and credibility of their sources before incorporating them into their IA in order to avoid any issues with plagiarism or incorrect data. By following these tips, students can conduct effective research for their IB Internal Assessment and produce a strong final product.

Internal Assessment Related Article and Guides 

Valerie Green

Valerie Green

Valerie Green is a dedicated educator who spends her time helping high school and college students succeed. She writes articles and guides for various online education projects, providing students with the tools they need to excel in their studies. Friendly and approachable, she is committed to making a difference in the lives of students.

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