How to write Design Technology IA

Table of Contents

Design Technology is an educational subject that provides students with the skills to create products and systems that meet human needs and wants. It focuses on the creative, technical and practical aspects of design and manufacturing, drawing on the knowledge and understanding from a variety of fields such as science, engineering, mathematics and art. In the IB program, DT is studied by students in years 7-10 for an internal assessment (IA).

The IA is one of the most important components of the DT course. It requires students to use the knowledge and skills gained in the course to complete a project that showcases their problem-solving skills, creativity, and understanding of design briefs. The IA is marked using criteria set out by the International Baccalaureate Organisation, along with the assessment criteria developed by your school.

The IA encourages independent learning, allowing students to work on a task of their choosing while being supported by teachers and other resources. The IA gives students the opportunity to refine their skills and put into practice what they have learnt in the classroom.

Completing any IA can be daunting, however careful planning and organisation, as well as the right attitude, can help make it an enjoyable and rewarding experience. This guide will cover the different elements of the DT IA, including how to write a design brief, conducting research, creating prototypes, preparing for submission and presenting findings.

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How to write Design Technology IA

Overview of Different Elements of Design Technology Course

Design Technology is a course that teaches students how to think creatively and solve problems through scientific, engineering, and technological methods. The Internal Assessment for Design Technology is a project-based assessment, requiring the student to design, develop, create, and evaluate a product or system using their gained knowledge and skills in the field.

The different elements of the Design Technology course that students need to become familiar with in order to produce a successful Internal Assessment are the design brief, research, and prototyping.

Design Brief

The design brief is the starting point for any Internal Assessment project as it outlines what the project should entail. A well-drafted design brief should include the following points:

  • Project name and purpose
  • List of specifications or criteria for the project
  • Budget, timeline and resources available
  • Evaluation plan and any safety measures necessary


Once the design brief has been written, research needs to be conducted. Appropriate research is absolutely vital to a successful project outcome. Research provides access to new ideas, solutions and materials which can be used to produce innovative results. Students should read extensively about their topic and analyse existing solutions applied to similar situations for inspiration. In addition, it is also good practice to contact professionals working in the field to obtain expert advice and opinion.


The final element of the Design Technology course is prototyping. This comprises of producing a working model of the proposed solution in order to test, evaluate, and refine the design. Prototyping requires careful decisions on which materials and tools to use, as well as the implementation of any fabrication techniques necessary. In the event that the prototype does not perform as expected, modifications must be made, and the process repeated until the desired outcome is achieved.

In conclusion, a successful Design Technology Internal Assessment project requires a thorough understanding of the design brief, research, and prototyping elements of the course. Mastering these components will give students the confidence and skills to produce a great Internal Assessment project.

Step-by-step guide to writing a Design Brief

The design brief is the most important part of any project you undertake in Design Technology. It sets the tone and direction for the whole piece of work and provides a focus for your research. The design brief needs to answer three questions: Why are you creating this product, who will it be used by, and what is the purpose of the product?

When you have thought about these questions, you must then use them as the basis for your written design brief. Here are some steps to help you write an effective design brief:

  • First, you need to define the concept or problem you are trying to solve and explain the goals and objectives of your project.
  • Secondly, make sure you include the specific requirements of the user. What do they need from you? How should the product look? What size or shape should it be?
  • Thirdly, consider any relevant legal or ethical issues that should be addressed.
  • Fourthly, outline any constraints on the design. For example, budget, materials, or time limitations.
  • Finally, make sure you include a section on evaluation criteria. This will help you judge the success of your project as you will be able to measure it against your goals.

In conclusion, writing a design brief is essential to make sure that your project is properly planned and researched. Following the steps outlined above will ensure that you have all the relevant information before you start your design process. Good luck!

Steps to Conduct Appropriate In-Depth Research for Your Task

Research is a fundamental part of the Design Technology Internal Assessment. You need to have an understanding of the context of the task and be able to justify any decisions you make throughout the design process. To do this, you must conduct in-depth research. This involves finding out as much information as you can, not just a quick Google search.

Before you begin your research, it is helpful to identify the key questions you are trying to answer. Define what you already know, what you need to find out, and how you will go about finding the answers. Make sure you keep all your notes organised so you can easily refer back to them.

You can use a variety of methods for gathering information, such as interviews and surveys, to gain insight into a topic or concept. Online searches, magazines, and books are also great resources for additional information. When researching online, always double-check the accuracy of your sources by looking for reliable websites like .gov, .org, and .edu. Additionally, make sure that the information you find is up-to-date.

Once your research is complete, review your findings and decide which elements are relevant to your task. You should then create a reference list of any sources you have used. This will help you when writing your conclusions and will also allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the topic.

If you follow these steps, you can be confident that you have conducted appropriate in-depth research for your task. You will now have access to the right materials to help you come up with creative ideas and innovative solutions for your Internal Assessment.

Advise on generating creative ideas and innovative solutions

Design Technology is all about problem solving, and creating an innovative solution to a given challenge. To come up with the most exciting solution, you will need to generate some creative ideas. Creative thinking means looking at problems in different ways, and coming up with ideas that are original and unorthodox.

One great way to generate creative ideas is to brainstorm. Start by writing down basic ideas for your design in a very open-ended way – without worrying about the details. Make a list of keywords related to your design, and then write down as many ideas as possible. By letting your imagination run wild, and connecting seemingly unrelated concepts, you can come up with some truly innovative ideas.

It’s also a good idea to look at what other people in your field have done. Pay attention to the designs that stand out, and try to understand why they are so special. You might not be able to use their exact concept, but you can still draw inspiration from the different approaches and style. And don’t forget to look outside your comfort zone – do some research outside of Design Technology and see how experts in other industries tackle similar challenges.

Finally, if you find yourself stuck, take a break! Step away from your project for a few days and let your subconscious process the information it needs to develop creative ideas. Give yourself plenty of time to mull over your ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if needed.

Generating creative ideas and innovative solutions is a key part of the Design Technology course. With a bit of practice and creativity, you can design a product that stands out from the rest.

Creating Suitable Prototypes

When creating a prototype for Design Technology Internal Assessment, it’s important to consider the best materials and tools to use. Depending on the task, different materials may be suitable. It’s important to think about the form and function of the product when deciding what materials should be used.

When considering form, things such as size, shape and colour can have an impact on the success of the product. Function is also critical, so you must make sure the materials are suitable for the job the product needs to do.

Different materials have different properties, so select ones that will work best for the design. For example, if the product needs to be robust and durable, then tougher materials such as metal or plastic might be better than delicate materials like cardboard or fabric.

The materials used will also determine the tools needed to construct the prototype. Materials such as metal and acrylic require more specialised tools than those used for wood or cardboard.

It is worth considering safety when selecting materials and tools. For example, it might not be a good idea to use power tools such as saws or sanders when using less robust materials, or when working in a small space.

By considering both form and function, and selecting appropriate materials and tools, you can create a suitable prototype that is fit for purpose.

Evaluating design decisions

Evaluating design decisions is an important step in the Design Technology process. It involves looking critically at your ideas and considering the practical implications of each option. This helps to ensure that the end result will be the most successful possible solution.

Before you begin, it can be helpful to set yourself some criteria; these are the standards you are aiming to meet. For example, you may decide that your final design should be cost effective to produce, or that the materials you use must fit within a certain budget. Remember that your criteria should be specific and measurable- this will help you make effective decisions.

Once you have set your criteria, you need to research each idea thoroughly before committing to a particular path. Start by brainstorming potential solutions and making a list of pros and cons for each. Carefully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each decision, taking into account the specific criteria you have set for yourself. This will help you identify the best way forward.

Finally, you should also consider whether any of the options could present ethical problems. Is there a potential risk of harm to people or the environment? Could any of the solutions lead to financial difficulties? Asking yourself questions like this ensures that you are making responsible choices and taking into account any potential issues.

Evaluating design decisions is an important part of the Design Technology process. By setting specific criteria, researching potential solutions and considering ethical implications, you can make sure that your final decisions are responsible and successful.

Testing and Modifying to Improve the Product

Design Technology is all about using a process known as ‘iterative design’. This means its not just about producing the end result, but it’s also about how you get there. An integral part of this process is testing and modifying your product in order to improve it. This can be done in several ways:

  • Testing: running experiments on the product to see if it works correctly and efficiently.
  • Modifying: making necessary changes to the product in order to improve its performance.
  • Refining: honing and polishing details on the product, such as edges and finishes, in order to make it look more visually appealing.

It is important to make sure that each stage of modification or refinement is tested as it is implemented, so that any errors can be identified and rectified quickly. The aim is to reduce the amount of time taken to perfect the final product, without cutting corners or sacrificing quality. In Design Technology, it’s essential to understand that the iterative design process helps to ensure the finished product is one of the best possible. Through testing and modifying, you can ensure that your product meets the requirements set out in the brief.

With some simple testing and modification techniques, you can improve the performance of your design and make sure it looks as good as possible. As with any project in Design Technology, you should always be aiming for excellence, and testing and modifying can help you achieve this.

Prepare for Any Eventuality Prior to Submitting

You’ve worked hard on your design, but before you submit it, it is a good idea to check it over and make sure that you have everything in place. This means that you have all the relevant documents, have considered all of the required elements and have had someone review your work and provide feedback. This is an important step, as it ensures that you don’t miss any key details before submitting.

The following tips will help you to prepare for any eventuality before you submit your Internal Assessment:

  • Review your purpose and scope statement to make sure it is up-to-date and that it accurately reflects your aims for the project.
  • Check all your documentation for accuracy, including your research notes, sketches, photographs and other resources.
  • Document your process and consider if it includes hands-on experience with the product you are designing.
  • Ensure that you have assessed how well your product meets your design brief, and document the testing methods used.
  • Have someone review your work to ensure accuracy and completeness.
  • Make sure you have listed any resources used in your design process, including references and citations.

By doing this, you can be confident that you have everything in place before submitting your Internal Assessment. If you take the time to do this, you can be sure that your efforts won’t be wasted and that you have put forward your very best work.

Presenting your Findings and Conclusions

Presenting your findings and conclusions correctly is an important part of your Design Technology Internal Assessment. You should be able to demonstrate your understanding of the Design Brief and your ability to apply appropriate research methods.

When presenting it is important to make sure you communicate your process effectively and efficiently. Take the time to create a visual presentation with both images and text to illustrate how you developed your ideas and how they were finally realised as a prototype.

You will also want to include any calculations, sketches and historical information you may have uncovered during your research phase. This will help to demonstrate your creative thinking and understanding of the task.

It is also important to include a final evaluation of the success of your design and the prototype you have created. Make sure to include feedback from testing and modifications made during the design process, as this will help your assessors understand that you have considered the different aspects of the project.

Presenting your findings and conclusions requires time and effort. Make sure you create an attractive display that is easy to follow. Pay attention to the formatting and presentation standards for the assignment, including any requirements for format and font size.

You may want to refer back to the initial objectives of the design brief and the design process which you implemented throughout the project. This will help you to signpost how the project went if you are running low on time by the end.

Finally, make sure you review your presentation and proofread it prior to submission. Your Internal Assessment is an important part of your Design Technology course and you want to make sure you submit the best work you can.

Referencing Sources

When writing any kind of assignment, it’s important to reference any sources or materials you have used. This is especially true for the Design Technology Internal Assessment. Here are a few tips to help you with referencing:
  • Make sure that you cite every source: Any images, books, websites, people or ideas that you use must be cited. This shows that you have done your research and gives credit to the creator of the source.
  • Be consistent and accurate: As with all assignments, use the same format for citing references throughout the entire essay or report. Make sure these references are accurate and include as much detail as possible.
  • Include a bibliography: At the end of your IA, include an extensive list of all of your sources. This should include the title, author and year of the source.
  • Follow your school’s guidelines: If your school has specified a certain referencing system, make sure you stick to that.
It is important to take the time to correctly cite all of your sources, so you don’t risk being accused of plagiarism. Taking this extra step will also demonstrate a good level of research skills. In all cases, taking the time to understand your school’s guidelines is essential. If you are still unsure about referencing sources, you can refer to the IB Design Technology guide which has an entire section dedicated to referencing. Alternatively, there are many online resources available that provide more guidance on referencing correctly.

Conclusion: A Brief Summary of Design Technology and Internal Assessment

Design Technology is an exciting subject that can help you to explore ways of creating innovative solutions for real-world challenges. The IB Internal Assessment provides the opportunity to use creative problem-solving and research methods to design, make and evaluate your own products.

By following this guide, you have been empowered with the knowledge to confidently craft a well-researched Design Brief, generate creative ideas and innovative solutions, create suitable prototypes and evaluate your design decisions. You have also learnt how to test and modify to improve the product, prepare for any eventuality prior to submission, present your findings and conclusions, and learn how to reference sources correctly.

By engaging in all these activities, you will have gained valuable design skills, including research, analysis, planning and developing a product, as well as presentation and communication.

In this guide, we have presented all the relevant information needed to successfully complete your IB Internal Assessment. We hope that you have gained new insights and skills to apply in your design projects going forward.

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a passionate educator, marketer, and management expert with over 15 years of experience in the education sector. After graduating from business school in 2016, Nick embarked on a journey to earn his PhD, fueled by his dedication to making education better for students everywhere. His extensive experience, beginning in 2008, has made him a trusted authority in the field.

Nick's groundbreaking article, published in Routledge's "Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization," showcases his keen insights and commitment to improving the educational landscape. Guided by his motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to simplify students' lives and promote efficiency in learning. His innovative ideas and leadership have helped transform countless educational experiences, setting him apart as a true pioneer in his field.

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