Moderators’ advice for your IA

Subject Reports

The IB Diploma Psychology subject reports were published recently. They are where examiners and IB Diploma moderators give feedback on the quality of the May 2104 exams and the IAs.  This month we will take a look at what the moderators said about the IAs, both HL and SL.  Those of you taking your exams in May 2015 have probably now started your IA experimental study, and those of you taking your exams in November 2015 or May 2016 will certainly be wondering what this involves.

IATips for HL students

  • Keep to one IV and one DV – two conditions.
  • Operationalize all terms in the hypothesis and the IV and DV (i.e. participants saying the colours that are congruent with the name of the colour words [red] will say the list of colours in a significantly faster time, in seconds, than those saying the colours that are incongruent with the colour words [red]).
  • Graph, table and written description needed for descriptive statistics.
  • Label graphs accurately and clearly.
  • Remember the statement of significance for inferential statistics.
  • In your discussion, refer back to all studies mentioned in the introduction.
  • Reference everything, using a standard format such as APA or Harvard.

Tips for SL students

  • Clearly identify the study you are replicating.
  • No need for a hypothesis – just an aim.
  • The aim cannot just be “to replicate X’s study”.  It should be expressed in terms of their desire to investigate the effect of the IV on the DV.
  • Correctly identify your sampling method: the fact that participants are randomly allocated to conditions does not mean that they are then a random sample.
  • Use a room for your experiment – not the corner of the canteen or a corridor.
  • Just apply one measure of central tendency and one measure of dispersion.
  • Label graphs clearly and accurately.
  • No need to write about the strengths of your research in the discussion, but you do need a conclusion.
  • Keep it simple.

Believe it or not, your IA can be fun to do  😀


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