THE IB INTERNAL ASSESSMENT


Examples of types of investigations and sample questions

The historical investigation is a problem-solving activity that enables students to demonstrate the application of their skills and knowledge to a historical topic that interests them and that need not be related to the syllabus. The internal assessment allows for flexibility and should encourage students to use their own initiative. The emphasis must be on a specific historical inquiry that enables the student to develop and apply the skills of a historian by selecting and analyzing a good range of source material and managing diverse interpretations. The activity demands that students search for, select, evaluate and use evidence to reach a relevant conclusion.

Guidelines to writing your research paper


Your historical investigation is marked out of 25 for both SL and HL and is worth 25% of the final assessment at SL and 20% at HL. Regardless of the type chosen, every candidate must produce a written account consisting of the following six sections

A Plan of the investigation………………………………3 marks
B Summary of evidence …………………………………6 marks
C Evaluation of sources …………………………………5 marks
D Analysis……………………………………………….6 marks
E Conclusion…………………………………………….2 marks
F Sources and word limit……………………..…………3 marks
Total: 1500-2000 words………………………………25 marks

A. Plan of the investigation (3 marks)
The plan of the investigation should include:
  • the subject of the investigation which may be formulated as a question
  • the methods to be used in the investigation.
  • Approximately 100–150 words

B. Summary of evidence (6 marks)
  • indicate what you have found from the sources you have used.
  • Include any illustrations, documents, or other relevant evidence in an appendix and will not be included in the word count.
  • Approximately 500–600 words

C. Evaluation of sources (5 marks)
  • critical evaluation of two important sources appropriate to the investigation and
  • refer to their origin, purpose, value and limitation.
  • Approximately 250–400 words

D. Analysis (6 marks)
The analysis should include:
  • the importance of the investigation in its historical context
  • analysis of the evidence including different interpretations if it’s appropriate.
  • approximately 500–650 words

E. Conclusion (2 marks)
  • The conclusion must be clearly stated and consistent with the evidence presented.
  • Approximately 150–200 words

F. Sources and word limit (3 marks)
  • A bibliography or list of sources must be included although this will not form part of the word count.
  • The investigation is within the word limit of 1500-2000 words.


Downloadable handouts that explain the Historical Investigation aka the Internal Assessment:







Sample Investigations:







Moderator comments for the above investigations: