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Writing a good Historical Investigation


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#1
Survival Robot

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Tips on writing a good Historical Investigation

Suggested word count for each section:

A. Plan of Investigation: up to 150 words
B. Summary of Evidence: 400-500 words
C. Evaluation of Sources: 200-350 words
D. Analysis: 600 - 800 words
E. Conclusion: up to 200 words
F. Bibliography: Not counted in the word count.
Total word count: 2000 words maximum

The above section-by-section word count is a suggested allocation of words only, and it is not necessary to stick strictly to it. However, the bulk of your word count should be in the Summary of Evidence and Analysis.

While it is not necessary to choose a title within the syllabus you're studying, it would be useful if you do. This is because you'll have to do research on this topic only to write 2000 words. You may as well make sure it overlaps with what you will eventually need to know for your exams otherwise all the time you spent researching this topic would just go to your IA and then never be used again. That said, it is also important to choose a topic that you think you'll enjoy working on.

You also need to make sure you will be able to have access to sufficient resources to research your essay. For a subject like history, sources like the internet is usually not looked as fondly upon as other hard sources such as history books. If you can get primary sources, such as interviews with actual people to do with your topic, that would be excellent. However, this is not a must, it just gives you a bit of an edge against other essays.

Keep your topic as narrow as possible. You only have 2000 words to cram in rather a lot of different forms of essay-writing, so make sure you don't have a topic that's too broad. You want to address your question as fully as possible and question that's too broad will not fit in the 2000 words.

It is not necessary to have your title in the form of a question but that may help you focus your investigation.

Do not explore the obvious. A title like, "Was Lenin an important figure in the Russian Revolution?" is redundant because everyone knows, without exploring or investigating anything, that he was. Remember, this is an investigation. Your title should enable you to explore and investigate different views of the historical period you choose. "Lenin's political ambitions was more important in bringing about the Russian Revolution than the failures of Nicholas II's reign. To what extent is this assertion true?" would be a more appropriate title.

Try to choose a title that's relevant to the country you're living in. It's usually easier to find sources when you're exploring the historical events of the country you're living in. Also, examiners like a variety of titles, see you exploring the area around you and not just focus around a cliched area of history. Try to look for a title that has a new and fresh view to it. In other word, avoid cliched titles in areas that are commonly investigated.

You may want to start with a working title and then change it as you do your research and fit your title in with the information you find. Don't expect to be able to come up with a perfect title right away.

Abide by the different sections strictly. Know what each section requires and only put in the information relevant to the corresponding sections. In the end, try to come to a clear conclusion and make it precise and to the point.

Good luck!

#2
BIO-AQUA

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Good day everyone,

I would like to add to what HMS has said, in a deeper manner.. For all History students doing their Internal Assessments..

Just like the post above says, there are six areas that must be tackled, with an uncompulsory word limit for each one (please check the post above for more info.). Anyways, just wanted to highlight the points of each area to make things clearer:

A- Plan of Investigation: (Total Marks = 2)

This includes the subject of investigation (which may be written as a question), and the method to be used in the investigation.

B- Summary of Evidence: (Total Marks = 5)

This indicates what the student has found out from the sources used. Since many sources are preferably used, it's best to summarize what is common in them and what best suits the thesis/question. It can be in the form of dirct/continuous prose. Any illustrations, documents or other relevant info must be included in the appendix and are not included in the word count.

C- Evaluation of Sources: (Total Marks = 4)

This is where the student writes a critical evaluation of two important sources appropriate to the investigation and should refer to the origin, purpose, value and limitation of each one (remember them from paper 1? Source-based questions?). Although one might use more than two sources, it is much better to emphasize on two sources rather than a superficial evaluation of more. ;)

D- Analysis: (Total Marks = 5)

This includes the importance of the investigation in its historical context, analysis of evidence and, if appropriate, different interpretations.

E- Conclusion: (Total Marks = 2)

This must be clearly stated and consistent with the evidence presented.

F- List of Sources: (Total Marks = 2)

A bibliography/ list of sources must be included although this will not form part of the word count. ALL sources (whether written or otherwise) MUST be listed. A consistent system (such as the Harvard Referencing System) should be used. It is recommended to separate the web addresses from the interviews etc.. And yes, this is marked, so try to make it as accurate as possible.

Total Marks = 20.. Weighted at 20% for HL and 25% for SL of the final assessment.


Hope this has helped. Good luck everyone, and have a wonderful day. :)

#3
chem_kid

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Also, I think it's good to make sure that the information given in section B and the analysis in section D match up. Not only in what is discussed, but also in the structure. My history teacher told me that it's best to present the info in section B in the order you want to analyze it in section D. This tends to strengthen the investigation. it also makes it easier for you and your marker to check that the sections fit together. Though I haven't had my history IA marked yet, so I don't know how useful my tip is. I'll let you know how it well it worked for me around March, I think.

#4
Torkwase

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hey i have some questions about the format, like is every section apart from the biblio. in continuous prose or can some be put in lists? and exactly how do you do the first part? it sounds very much like an introduction to me.

#5
entrancer

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so, does anybody have a link or a saved version of the h.i. mark scheme?
mine is due tomorrow and i didn't bring my binder home, so i can't just run it by to make sure it's alright.
so if anyone happens to just have one.. that would be helpful.
i've gutted google to no success.

thanks!
p.s. why is everything here "history of the islamic world"? what about "history of the americas" too?!

p.p.s. i know, i know, i have to be a V.I.P. to see the one that's already posted ... but my h.i. is due tomorrow. so i'm desperate for the time being.

#6
Frenchie

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Here's a good website to help with the historical investigation!

http://www.asmilan.o...vestigation.htm

Edited by Frenchie, Jan 03, 2008 - 16:17.


#7
shotaway

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I'd like to ask:

To what extent is the assessment and criteria (basically, the information that's been posted here by the very helpful members, thanks a lot) apply to Islamic History? I don't have the syllabus section about the IA...

#8
chileanbob

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What are the marks that award a certain grade? For instance does a 35-40 make a 7?

#9
vodka_shot

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Isn't the History IA marked out of 20?

At my school, the grade boundaries were around (from what I can remember):

18-20: 7
14-17:6
11-13:5
...and so on.

I'm quite sure that these vary from year to year but those were the approxiamate numbers.

#10
diabolicalangle

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yes,
Markband in my school is the same as vodka_shot.
He is also right in that it changes every year. I think the examiners take a look at how many people got what and then bell curve it

#11
sparklez_365

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yeah it is out of 20, and our teacher said a level 7 is usually between 18-20

#12
davshere

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yeah it is out of 20, and our teacher said a level 7 is usually between 18-20



Could you please explain how a bell curve scale works?

#13
diabolicalangle

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Could you please explain how a bell curve scale works?


i think they take the average points poeple have, and then base that number as a 4 or a 5

#14
sandrina18

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hey i have some questions about the format, like is every section apart from the biblio. in continuous prose or can some be put in lists? and exactly how do you do the first part? it sounds very much like an introduction to me.



in Section A: plan of investigation, you have to include your essay question
and you also can write in list or in prose how you prefer (I did in list) the method
(write what you are going to analyse in the essay) for example: a: reasearch about...
b: selection and reading books about...

Section B; yes, is an introduction of what your are going to analyze in section D.

#15
linlinchen0502

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How soon is the HI due? In my school, our teacher made us to hand in the completed Hi in 1 month. How about you guys

#16
BIO-AQUA

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How soon is the HI due? In my school, our teacher made us to hand in the completed Hi in 1 month. How about you guys


Guessing it's by mid-march essays have to be already sent for examiners to grade. :P

#17
nicolefroio

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C- Evaluation of Sources: (Total Marks = 4)

This is where the student writes a critical evaluation of two important sources appropriate to the investigation and should refer to the origin, purpose, value and limitation of each one (remember them from paper 1? Source-based questions?). Although one might use more than two sources, it is much better to emphasize on two sources rather than a superficial evaluation of more. :D


I understand that but what if i find information about the source in another source?
do i say "this source says that the film i've used..." or do i just credit it in the end with the bibliography? is iMDB.com a reliable source (i.e does the IB deem it reliable?)?
Should it have my personal opinions about the source?
Thank you

#18
Ruan Chun Xian

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You should have 2 distinctly independent source. IMDB is NOT a reliable source in this case - because the source should be the movie/documentary, not the IMDB page about it.

While it sounds really complicated up there, honestly all you have to focus on is the folliwng bit: "should refer to the origin, purpose, value and limitation of each one"

It's a very brief evaluation so you should only talk about those 4 things about the sources. You talk about only your two chosen sources and no other.

Your opinion is expressed only in what you think the origins, purposes, values and limitations of the sources are.

#19
iacampbell

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in the historical investigation in part b what are the footnotes suppose to say?

#20
robertomx

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Guessing it's by mid-march essays have to be already sent for examiners to grade. :)

wait... isnt it internal assessment?
i thought the grades were just sort of reported to the ib, but not actually SENT to grade?






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