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IB History HL IA Topic

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I am currently developing my IA topic and research question, and I would love feedback on my topic in terms of appropriateness and fitting criteria.  I am currently taking IB History of the Americas HL.  My topic is the Smog of Donora 1948 in the United States and its effects on American and global environmental policy.  My research question is: To what extent did The Smog of Donora 1948 lead to clean air acts in the United States and further environmental policy globally?

Any feedback is appreciated!!


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Hey there,

You've found a relatively niche topic, which is great! I started reading about it a little, and it seems like a relatively interesting topic as well, so you've done a good job. 

To answer your question, your RQ is appropriate as such; you discuss a topic with a historical theme and you look at cause/effects dynamics, so the topic therefore lends itself to a good analysis.

I would like to remind you that you have effectively only approximately 1300 words to develop your arguments fully though. How many clean air acts are we talking about? What about global environmental policies? Are we talking the Paris Accord, Montreal Protocol, Doha Declaration, UNFCCC, etc., or something else? Why are you only discussing policies from the domestic and global spheres, but not from regional arrangements? Are you discussing all policies that have been suggested and implemented from 1948 to today, or are you only looking only at a limited time frame? 

What I am trying to get at here is that you could with benefit try to narrow down your topic a bit more. Your cause (Donora Smog) is fine, it's the possible consequences that needs to be limited. If you could identify one particular act or policy or at least a few, rather than all policies that exist or have existed, you would be much better off. As it is presented now, you have no room at all to discuss this well within 1300 words. Remember that these words should explore the relevant facets of your overarching analysis or argument without skipping corners. 

You have a good framework going, just work on the details a bit more and you're good to go! 


Good luck! 

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