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Hi there,
I am a grade 11 IB student in SL Chemistry. I will be starting my II (Internal Investigation) soon and I was wondering if this would be a good topic: determining the content of sugar in different fruits using redox titration. Specifically, glucose and fructose, as I have read that the safest fruits are those that are high in glucose and low in fructose. Do you think this would be feasible? Should I just determine glucose? Any suggestions for improvement or a completely different idea?

I would like to do my project on titration specifically as our two options are titration or calorimetry and I am not very confident in the latter. 
Thanks!

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I think the important thing about the IA is the investigative aspect. Obviously, your idea has enough chemistry methods and methodology (performing a titration is enough, but you have to explain all your steps like why you use a certain acid or base etc.), but based on how you've described it, where it could fall short on is "why something happens". I think you may need to think a lot about why certain fruits have high contents of glucose/fructose, relating to chemistry (probably a biochemistry topic, which is completely valid; my IA was also geared towards biochem), or massage your question so that it is more of an "exploration" rather than just a straightforward experiment.

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On 1/14/2019 at 12:09 AM, Jaysun said:

I think the important thing about the IA is the investigative aspect. Obviously, your idea has enough chemistry methods and methodology (performing a titration is enough, but you have to explain all your steps like why you use a certain acid or base etc.), but based on how you've described it, where it could fall short on is "why something happens". I think you may need to think a lot about why certain fruits have high contents of glucose/fructose, relating to chemistry (probably a biochemistry topic, which is completely valid; my IA was also geared towards biochem), or massage your question so that it is more of an "exploration" rather than just a straightforward experiment.

Thank you for your response! Just to clarify, you recommend modifying my topic so that instead of merely investigating which fruits out of the ones I have chosen have higher glucose/fructose content, determine why that is the case? Would this just be something to discuss after I perform the experiment, or something I would need to incorporate within the experiment? I plan on doing more research on the effects of glucose/fructose in foods to hopefully link my investigation to a health aspect. This way, I can say that my investigation aims to determine glucose/fructose content so that consumers can choose suitable fruits according to their needs, if that makes sense. Sorry for all the questions - chemistry, and labs in particular, are not my strong suits. 

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Exactly, determining, or at least making an effort to determine why something is the way it is from a chemistry standpoint is very central to having a good IA. 

Where you discuss it would depend heavily on how you plan structuring your paper, although I guess IA structure is pretty rigid. To give you some context, my IA was an investigation on how fermentation time affects alcohol content in an alcoholic beverage (basically I was making a sort of wine at school :) ). I had a section titled "Background" which was three pages long, and outlined the biochemistry behind fermentation, especially regarding the agents I chose to use, how they differ from other agents, other relevant research, and this led naturally into my hypothesis. You don't have to follow this structure, it's just here for reference.

Also, your last point about health aspect is really good. IB cares a lot about "real-world connections", so relating that to consumers would be helpful as well. I believe I also wrote a bit of it in my evaluation/conclusion, comparing my values to store-bought products, and I guess gave some advice to whoever wanted to ferment their own alcohol.

Hope this helps! It's good to ask questions. I left questions for the last second and had to write my entire background portion in the night before it was due. Without it I probably would've failed since that section is central to the "investigative" portion of my IA.

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26 minutes ago, Jaysun said:

Exactly, determining, or at least making an effort to determine why something is the way it is from a chemistry standpoint is very central to having a good IA. 

Where you discuss it would depend heavily on how you plan structuring your paper, although I guess IA structure is pretty rigid. To give you some context, my IA was an investigation on how fermentation time affects alcohol content in an alcoholic beverage (basically I was making a sort of wine at school :) ). I had a section titled "Background" which was three pages long, and outlined the biochemistry behind fermentation, especially regarding the agents I chose to use, how they differ from other agents, other relevant research, and this led naturally into my hypothesis. You don't have to follow this structure, it's just here for reference.

Also, your last point about health aspect is really good. IB cares a lot about "real-world connections", so relating that to consumers would be helpful as well. I believe I also wrote a bit of it in my evaluation/conclusion, comparing my values to store-bought products, and I guess gave some advice to whoever wanted to ferment their own alcohol.

Hope this helps! It's good to ask questions. I left questions for the last second and had to write my entire background portion in the night before it was due. Without it I probably would've failed since that section is central to the "investigative" portion of my IA.

This is really helpful, thank you! I don't know if it makes much of a difference, but I was thinking about looking into the sugar content in soft drinks by titration as well. I think I would have more personal engagement when discussing soft drinks and its health effects rather than fruits. Maybe then I would be able to look at different brands and compare the sugar value already labelled to mine to help consumers. In terms of the experiment aspect however, I'm not sure how much harder/easier it would be than if I did it with fruits. 

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33 minutes ago, Kierra said:

This is really helpful, thank you! I don't know if it makes much of a difference, but I was thinking about looking into the sugar content in soft drinks by titration as well. I think I would have more personal engagement when discussing soft drinks and its health effects rather than fruits. Maybe then I would be able to look at different brands and compare the sugar value already labelled to mine to help consumers. In terms of the experiment aspect however, I'm not sure how much harder/easier it would be than if I did it with fruits. 

Personally, I'd choose depth of breadth in terms of IA content. I don't think soft drinks has much relevance, although I see comparing fruits to store bought juices of the same fruit would be a more appropriate comparison, although like you said, you can just look at labels. Also, I would stick to fruits. Titrating store bought drinks is over-done and would not provide the background depth you need.

Again, I think what you should place more focus on is the pure chemistry principles behind what you're investigating. A real-life connection is always nice, but it shouldn't take precedent over the academic portions of your paper. Your IA isn't a consumer guide, it's an academic exploration. It might be helpful just to have a chat with your chemistry teacher and gauge their thoughts on what you're doing. Everything I'm saying is purely anecdotal and based on my experiences (it's also a HL Chemistry standpoint, SL is a little more lax on the chemistry theory part, although I don't know how much).

This is all pretty general advice, I'm hoping this thread helps a few more people. Feel free to throw me a PM if you have specific questions :)

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