How to Write History IA 

Table of Contents

An Internal Assessment is a key component of the International Baccalaureate History program. An IA gives students the opportunity to research and write about a topic of their choosing related to their study of history.

The purpose of an IA is to develop research and writing skills, as well as learn how to effectively analyze and synthesize historical sources. The IA is an opportunity for students to make an original contribution to the historical literature and demonstrate their ability to apply the concepts learned in the classroom to a real-world context.

The significance of an IA is related to its importance for IB students. Completion of an IA is essential for successful completion of the IB History program. In addition, the IA experience can prepare students for further study of history and other academic fields.

The context of the IA in IB History is embedded in the core curriculum of the course. Students are expected to draw on the knowledge they gained in their prior courses in order to complete their IA. The IA also provides an opportunity for students to dig deeper into a topic that interests them and gain an understanding of how history informs our understanding of the world today.

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How to write history IA

Research for Your Internal Assessment

One of the most important steps of writing history IA is researching a research question and constructing a research proposal. Researching gives you the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the topic and better support your claims.

Tips for Selecting a Research Question

  • Set a manageable scope: Pick a research question that can be answered in the given time frame.
  • Write down ideas: Brainstorm and jot down your ideas. Don’t worry if they seem far-fetched—you can narrow them down later.
  • Find an angle: Look for an interesting angle to your topic that you can explore. Consider if the question has wider implications or is relevant to modern-day interactions.
  • Connect to the syllabus: Check that the research question is directly connected to what is being taught on the IB syllabus.
  • Review the criteria: Make sure that the scope of your question matches the criteria for the assessment.

Constructing a Research Proposal

A research proposal indicates the main points of inquiry for your IA. Here are some tips for constructing a good proposal:

  • Be specific: Narrow down your research question and make sure the proposal directly addresses it.
  • Outline: Provide a brief overview of the key points that you plan to cover.
  • Sources: Identify the sources of evidence that you intend to use.
  • Reasoning: Explain how the evidence supports your argument.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the implications of your argument and outline the potential ramifications.

Sources of Information

Finding reliable sources of information is essential for constructing a strong IA. Start by looking for books, articles, and primary documents related to your topic. Additionally, look for journal articles and news sources that present a variety of perspectives. Use databases such as Google Scholar to find reliable sources from academic publications.

When using online sources, always check the reliability of the website. Make sure the author has the appropriate credentials and qualifications to write on the topic. Additionally, try to avoid websites with biased or one-sided views.

Planning Your Internal Assessment

Writing a successful Internal Assessment (IA) takes detailed planning and careful execution. Creating an outline is a crucial step that allows you to identify the sections of your IA and plan out your arguments beforehand. Without an outline, it’ll be difficult to stay on track as you write! Additionally, you may want to consider creating a timeline so you can effectively manage the time you have available to complete all the necessary steps.

Creating an Outline

An outline will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that your IA flows logically. A basic outline should include an introduction, body, and conclusion. For the body of the IA, you should break down each major argument or point into its own section, and create a few bullet points to help guide your writing. To make sure that your IA adheres to the formal structure and style required by the IB, make sure to include relevant evidence and analysis in each section.

Timeline for Completion

Creating a timeline for completing the IA is also essential for having a successful result. Start with your due date, and work backwards to determine when the different stages of the IA should be finished. For instance, you’ll need to leave enough time for researching, gathering evidence, and planning the outline. Additionally, it’s important to remember to leave yourself ample time for proofreading and editing, since they are essential to ensuring that your IA meets the necessary standards.


Planning and time management are key components of any successful IA. Creating an outline can help ensure that your IA has a logical structure, while creating a timeline can help you manage the workload. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of time for each stage of the process to beat any potential deadlines or issues!

Writing: An Explanation of Writing Conventions and Language Requirements for the IA

One of the most important aspects of writing an Internal Assessment (IA) is ensuring that it meets the appropriate conventions and language requirements. Your IA must be written in a formal academic tone and adhere to the language expectations outlined by the International Baccalaureate (IB). This includes avoiding slang, colloquialisms, contractions, and other informal language.

It’s also important to use consistent language throughout the IA. Consistent language includes spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and verb tense. The writing should flow logically, with transitions between paragraphs that connect your ideas. Additionally, the IA must include only original work. Plagiarism is a serious offense that can result in severe penalties.

Other writing conventions to keep in mind are related to structure. All IAs have a similar structure which includes a research question, introduction, methodology, body, conclusion, and references/bibliography section. Therefore, as you write, make sure to identify each section clearly and ensure that all content is relevant to the research question.

Finally, proofread your IA when finished. Not only should you double-check your work for any errors in the writing conventions mentioned above, but you should also read over your IA to ensure that it is clear and easy to understand. Most importantly, make sure that your argument is supported with evidence from reliable secondary and primary sources. If you do all of this, you will have a great IA that adheres to the necessary language and writing conventions.

Using Sources to Support Your Argument

When writing your Internal Assessment (IA) for IB History, you will need to provide evidence to back up your argument. This evidence can come in the form of primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are firsthand accounts or direct evidence of a topic. Secondary sources refer to scholarly interpretations of primary sources. Both types of evidence are vital for supporting a strong argument in your IA.

To begin, select relevant primary and secondary sources that are appropriate for your research topic. Make sure that both sources significantly add to your argument and counterarguments. Next, read through both sources thoroughly, noting down any useful quotes and facts. This can be done efficiently by utilizing close reading techniques.

When incorporating evidence into your essay, make sure that the primary sources support the conclusion of the secondary sources. Do not simply use sources to prove a point–instead, demonstrate how the primary and secondary sources work together to support a single argument. This will further strengthen your argument.

  • Choose appropriate primary and secondary sources related to your research topic.
  • Use close reading techniques to find key quotes, facts, and information.
  • Demonstrate how primary and secondary sources work together to support a single argument.

In conclusion, primary and secondary sources provide evidence and authority to support your argument in the IA. Make sure to select sources that are appropriate for your research topic and use them to reinforce your argument. With these techniques, you can present your argument effectively.


The analysis section of an Internal Assessment (IA) in IB History is one of the most important elements as it allows readers to see how you draw connections between evidence. This section is a great opportunity to show your depth of understanding when it comes to historical interpretation and evaluation. By deeply analyzing sources, linking evidence to claims, and reflecting on historical arguments, you can create a well-rounded IA that stands out from the crowd.

When it comes to analyzing sources, it’s important to keep a critical eye and look for any biases or inaccuracies. You should ask yourself questions such as: What type of source is this? Who created it? What is the purpose of this source? What evidence or implications can be drawn from this source? Answering these questions will help you determine the reliability of the source and gain a better understanding of the argument.

Linking evidence to claims is another key part of the analysis section. By including relevant primary and secondary sources, you are able to back up each claim and provide support for your argument. When citing sources, make sure to properly reference each source and explain how it connects to your argument. This adds more credibility to your IA and also signals to markers that you have done your research and read widely.

Finally, reflecting on historical arguments is essential to create an IA that stands out. In the analysis section, explore how different interpretations, perspectives, and methodologies shape our view of history. By doing this, you can build a case for your own argument and incorporate different viewpoints. Ultimately, this will help you develop your own unique perspective and produce an IA that demonstrates your knowledge and understanding.

Argument: Techniques for Constructing a Thesis Statement and Supporting Claims

A thesis statement is the fundamental argument at the center of your internal assessment. It’s important that your thesis statement is clear and concise, so that the reader understands the main focus of the IA. To create an effective thesis statement, start by researching your chosen topic, then developing an initial argument. Once you have this argument in mind, narrow it down to a single sentence that captures your main point.

At this stage, it is important to explain how you will go about supporting your argument. To ensure your IA holds up as you move forward, make sure to add evidence to back up your claim. This could be any combination of primary sources, secondary sources, and opinion-based arguments. Select the best sources that reflect your views and support your thesis statement.

Effective analyzation plays a key role in convincing readers of your argument. As you examine your sources, consider the context, perspective, author’s purpose and potential biases. Then, evaluate how effectively you can link evidence and argument together. This allows you to demonstrate your knowledge of the subject matter and opinion on a particular issue.

The structure of your IA should also show the strength of your argument. When writing, avoid stating your argument in isolation. Instead, use each section as an opportunity to build upon your thesis statement. Use evidence logically and in conjunction with analysis and argument to strengthen your case.

By constructing an effective thesis statement, identifying the right sources, and providing an in-depth analysis, you can develop a powerful argument in your Internal Assessment.

Referencing: Detailed Instructions for Acknowledging Sources in the Text and Creating a Bibliography

Accurately referencing sources is an important part of completing your IB History IA. When you use ideas or information from outside sources, it’s essential to give credit to the original author by citing the source. Accurate referencing also avoids plagiarism. Here are some key tips for correctly acknowledging sources in the IA and creating a bibliography.

In-Text Citations

When quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing material from an outside source, you should cite the source directly in the text. Direct quotations should include the author, date, and page number in parentheses. For example, “(Smith, 2020, p. 5)”. If you’re paraphrasing or summarizing, you can replace the page number with the author’s last name. For example, “(Smith, 2020)”. Consult your teacher if you’re unsure what type of citation to use.

Creating a Bibliography

After completing the IA, you’ll need to create a bibliography that lists all of the sources you consulted. In the bibliography, list each source you cited in the IA, including the author’s name, the title of the work, the publishing year, and the publisher. Here’s an example of what a bibliography might look like.

  • Smith, J. (2020). Writing Your History IA. New York: Academic Press.
  • Jones, M. (2014). Studying Historical Sources. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

It’s important to always double-check the bibliography for accuracy before submitting your IA. Mistakes in citing sources can lead to significant penalties. If you’re uncertain about any part of citations or bibliographies, talk to your teacher for clarification.

Integrating Historical Perspectives into Your IA

As an IB History student, you must become familiar with the process of interpreting history from various angles. In other words, you need to learn how to incorporate multiple historical perspectives into your Internal Assessment (IA). Doing this will ultimately demonstrate your understanding of key concepts such as the relativity of historical knowledge.

Firstly, it’s important to understand that there is no single truth about any event or person in history – all sources must be analyzed critically in order to draw informed conclusions. By considering different interpretations of a certain era or individual, you can gain a richer understanding of the past and its implications for today.

When writing your IA, use the evidence you have collected to consider the various perspectives on whatever it is you are researching. You should not only consider what the primary sources say but also consider which viewpoints are being left out or marginalized. Examples of different interpretations include political ideology, gender, race, class, religion, and ethnicity.

To ensure your arguments are balanced, you should present two or more perspectives that contradict each other. Be sure to evaluate the arguments fairly, and make sure to explain why one interpretation is preferable over the other. This type of analysis can demonstrate your ability to think critically, and prove the extent of your knowledge and understanding in IB History.

Remember that by considering different interpretations and recognizing the relativity of historical knowledge, you can develop your analytical skills and write an IA that stands out. Take the time to explore a range of perspectives, and you will be rewarded with an in-depth and meaningful piece of work.

Structure: A Comprehensive Explanation For Structuring the IA

Structuring a successful internal assessment (IA) is an essential part of the writing process. It ensures that your argument is logical and easy to follow. It also helps you stay on task when completing the IA, as it provides a roadmap for the paper.

The structure of an IA is typically divided into three sections: introduction, body, and conclusion. The introduction should introduce your research question and provide context. Here, you should also state your argument and explain its significance. Next, the body should be divided into several paragraphs which explore, analyze, and expand upon the research question. Sources should be used to support each claim made, and evidence should be effectively linked with the points being made. Finally, the conclusion should summarize the paper’s findings and their implications, solidifying why the research question was important and how your argument answered it.

A few other considerations should be taken into account when structuring the IA. Firstly, transitions between paragraphs and sections should be used to ensure the text flows logically. Secondly, the focus of the paper should remain consistent. Thirdly, while the IA should include various perspectives, it must have one central argument. Lastly, the IA should include relevant background information when necessary and adhere to appropriate formatting standards.

The structure of the IA is an important component of the writing process. Adhering to a clear, consistent structure will help ensure that your paper is effective and well-supported. By taking the time to plan out your organization and create an outline, you’ll be setting yourself up for success when writing your IA.

Editing & Formatting: Advice for Proofreading, Editing & Presenting an IA

Editing and formatting are important steps in the writing process for any IB History Internal Assessment. A well-edited IA will be more organized and easier to read, and correct formatting will ensure that the paper adheres to IB guidelines. Here are some tips for editing and formatting your IA:

  • Proofread: Take the time to read through your essay to check for grammar mistakes and typos. Having someone else read it can also help spot errors that you might have missed.
  • Edit: Pay attention to the flow of ideas throughout your IA and make sure that all sentences make sense together. Cut down on repetition and delete parts that don’t add to your overall argument.
  • Format: Use the specified font size and page margin requirements, as set out by IB. Number all pages and include a header with a page number on each page, and don’t forget to include the word count!

It’s also important to remember to keep all documents related to the IA in a safe place, including drafts of the work, sources used, and the final version. This will make it easy to refer back to, if needed at any point.


Writing an Internal Assessment (IA) for IB History can be a daunting task, but with the right guidance, it is possible to complete the project successfully and gain valuable marks for your diploma. In this guide, we have provided tips for selecting a research question, constructing a research proposal, and sources of information. We have also explained how to analyze sources, construct a persuasive argument and incorporate different perspectives. Additionally, we have shared advice for referencing, structure, formatting and proofreading the IA.

To summarize, the key takeaways from this guide are:

  • Develop a research proposal and formulate a clear research question with primary and secondary sources.
  • Analyze sources in depth and link evidence to claims within the IA.
  • Construct a persuasive argument with different interpretations and perspectives.
  • Reference all sources used in the IA and format it according to IB guidelines.
  • Proofread and edit the IA to ensure its content is accurate and organized.

By following the advice provided in this guide, you should be able to write an effective IA that meets the IB requirements. Good luck!

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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