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From defining the structure to brainstorming topic ideas, this IB ESS IA guide will answer all your questions and provide helpful insight on how to go about your essay.
ESS, which stands for Environmental Systems and Societies, is a multidisciplinary curriculum at the standard level (SL).
It combines the approach, procedures, and data related to the scientific side of arts and humanities.
Let us dig in further to see how to ace this baby!
In all honesty, IB Environmental Systems & Societies IA is a challenging path that necessitates applying a broad spectrum of skill sets. It is firmly rooted in a scientific investigation of ecological processes in terms of their definition and operation, as well as a study of civilizations' historical, financial, social, geopolitical, and personal relationships with the ecosystem. You would gain the competence to notice and assess the influence of the sophisticated structure of civilizations on the native environment as a consequence of completing this program.
The goal of your ESS internal assessment is to conduct research on a topic related to the environment that falls inside the purview of the IB ESS IA research question.
It should be simultaneously associated with a significant environmental framework, which will eventually illuminate the more substantial problem via the recommendation of remedies or implementations.
Hence to break it in more accessible terms, your study will call for you to follow the process of:
- Discovering a comprehensive concern for the environment (the context of your IA) which intrigues you.
- Planning and implementing small-scale research on one or more facets of the chosen subject.
- Using the research's results and assessment to recommend solutions to the broader problem that prompted the investigation.
It might sound like a lot already but don't sweat.
Nail IB offers a wide range of guidebooks and resource samples to save your day!
Structure Of Your IB ESS IA Criteria
Each parameter of your essay is designed to evaluate various parts of your research ability.
The details are variably assessed to indicate the proportional importance of each factor to the inquiry's general performance.
Identifying The Context
Total Weightage: 6 marks, 20%
This criterion evaluates how well you originate and investigate a global or regional identified problem for an inquiry, then evolve it into a meaningful and targeted topic of interest and create the study's objective.
You'll be asked to demonstrate an awareness of the more significant ecological issues before coming up with a specific study objective. The critical idea here will be to convey the more important point and refine it into a targeted study topic relevant to the broader problem but scaled appropriately for the inquiry's time duration and availability of resources.
To get a good grade, you'll have to explain how your research relates to the more significant issue that prompted your inquiry.
Total Weightage: 6 marks, 20%
This criterion evaluates how well you've devised strategies for collecting data related to the study subject. The focus is primarily on developing the inquiry's technique. IB ESS IA enables a wide variety of technical and social science investigations. This benchmark was created with a wide variety of learning kinds in mind. The central notion would be that the approach is acceptable for the targeted research issue, that enough data is gathered to reach a result, and that the rationale is appropriately described.
Results, Analysis & Conclusion
Total Weightage: 6 marks, 20%
This criterion evaluates your ability to acquire, organize, evaluate, and comprehend information in a manner that is relevant to the topic issue. The facts and figures must be accurately assessed to reach a meaningful conclusion.
You are expected to detect the possibility of such a flaw and reconsider the approach before beginning data collecting or evaluation.
Conversely, if preliminary information is scarce, secondary data sources from various databases or models might be used to enhance the information available for assessment.
Depending on the extent of the internal assessment and the time available, variation in the evidence will be more than sufficient to result in a speculative evaluation, which may highlight relationships and trends instead of demonstrating causal relationships. This has to be acknowledged, and the magnitude of the inconsistency must be considered in the outcome.
Discussion & Evaluation
Total Weightage: 6 marks, 20%
This criterion demands you consider your research. Throughout the first case, you must assess your research approach, outlining the application's merits, shortcomings, and limits.
Creative blocks and challenges will affect your research project at this stage. Thus, the goal would be to recognize those challenges and remark on how they affected the original study's result. Shortcomings in the research setup that surfaced during the study's execution may be addressed here. It's important to mention that while the essay doesn't have to be arranged as per the criteria's titles, the reliability of the research will be evaluated as a component of the findings. The approach will be assessed in this discussion benchmark.
You should also consider the results of your research in light of the more significant environmental concern that was brought up at the start of the internal assessment procedure.
Total Weightage: 3 marks, 10%
To score a complete 3 in this criterion, you need to dwell on the outcomes of your investigation given the broader environmental problem and indicate how the results may be implemented to solve that problem or provide a viable answer to one part of the equation. As a result, this criterion is focused on creating new standards depending on the study findings. Due to the nature of the preliminary investigation topic and the accuracy of the evidence acquired, the recommendation may be relevant in the investigation's specific setting or even in a broader area. Instead of just presenting a plan, you should defend and assess your recommendation to receive a good score.
Total Weightage: 3 marks, 10%
The said criterion determines if the essay has been delivered in or around a framework, cohesion, and simplicity that facilitates effective interaction. The communicative scoring elements consider the complete essay into account. There will be no need for your teacher to proofread your essay if it is well structured and discussed rationally. The facts and interpretations provided ought to be specific to the topic under discussion instead of a broad overview of the context of knowledge; in simple words, they must be specific.
The terminology should be specific to the topic and of a high enough standard to be used in the Diploma Course. The appropriate forms for charts, spreadsheets, and column titles, as well as the proper usage of measures, are expected.
IB ESS IA Topic Ideas
Having the right topic is directly proportionate to a successful IA essay completion! In simple terms, choosing a topic is what your entire essay will revolve around (duh!).
Hence, what you pick cannot be just for the 'sake' of it. It needs to be of your interest and should keep you gripped throughout. After all, it is something you're going to spend endless hours with!
Here are a few IB ESS IA ideas and topics to give you a head start on picking a suitable theme.
- Examine the calorie content of various foods.
- Examine the type and quantity of trash observed in particular regions (such as beaches or other tourist destinations).
- Examine the elements that influence the reliability of estimations based on the Lincoln scale.
- Assess the nature and extent of biological indicators in marine, grassland, or poor air quality.
- Examine the impact of one element (of your choosing) on Elodea's photosynthetic activity.
- Create a study that examines a significant limitation for botanical, animal, or fungus development.
- Investigate development in a particular ecosystem. (You might utilize your survey abilities to check if the variations you notice are due to transition by matching your results to information about species that should be found in that particular area)
- Design and execute an inquiry of the elements that influence run-off subsurface level.
- Discuss the different distinct characteristics of communities at various stages of development.
- Create a test to investigate the impact of UV radiation on crops or objects.
- Investigate the effect of proximity from a roadway on lichen proliferation
- Asses the CO2 Emissions with the Shelter-In-Place Program
- The impact of constructing a new multi-purpose university building on the surrounding environments
- An examination of recent policy evaluations on carbon emissions
- How has The Rio Grande's silvery carp been impacted by urbanization in Albuquerque, New Mexico?
- A brief study of the influence of the US Border Wall on the Desert Bighorn Sheep Movement
- Assess the impact of agricultural fertilizers on river macroinvertebrates' ecology
- How is the magnitude of an individual's carbon impact influenced by their wealth?
- Can GDP be used as a proxy for a nation's fertility and mortality rates?
- Assessing the consequences of pesticide usage on biodiversity and wildlife population.
- In Arizona and California, how do soil moisture strategies impact (positively or negatively) the soil salinity levels in agricultural farmland?
- Assess how acid rain has drastic negative impacts on Brazil's rainforests.
- What impact does the dosage of NPK fertilizer have on the quantity of legumes seeds that sprout?
- To what degree does the percentage of sulphur dioxide in the air harm the life of Moscow residents?
- To what degree does the mobility mode used by Vienna Global School students impact their environmental footprint?
- How does dishwashing in the sink impact an individual's water footprint?
- Examine how amphibian populations in Mill and Nancy Creek are affected by anthropogenic trash.
- How is an individual's environmental belief influenced by their age grouping?
- Analyze the effect of deforestation on land subsidence
- What impact does income serve in the variations between a relatively low-income household's carbon impact and an upper-class household's related emissions in a metropolis like Los Angeles?
- The impact of economic growth on carbon dioxide emissions and ocean acidification
- Examine how methane generation in cattle production systems can be reduced.
- Assessment of the recycling programme at a particular school (of your choice)
Some Tips That Can Come Handy
The more you know how to go about the IB ESS IA, the better. Here are 8 things to be mindful of when composing your essay.
Explain Your Our Research Topic
This topic needs to be tailored to the research you're doing. As the name implies, it must be stated as nothing more than a question that can be immediately addressed. Through the entire course of performing and evaluating your investigation, your research topic will move and evolve. Ensure that any citations to your research topic in your essay are consistent throughout the IA.
Addresses A Specific Concern For The Environment
That would be a crucial element of your opening introduction since you will be graded on how well you tie your work to a significant environmental and scientific challenge.
You must clearly define one main issue you believe your research will answer.
Try to think about ecological topics you've heard about in the media, or preferably, feel from your lifestyle to see whether there are any environmental health improvements you may investigate. Wherever feasible, try back up this section with relevant studies that emphasize the critical topic!
Justify Your Study's Location
Although it is enticing, you cannot say that the location you picked was the only option available/easy.
This is true for most IB students in any research they do.
Nevertheless, to earn marks, you must precisely discuss how vital the topic you've picked is in your location. Any rationale that is just not "it was the simplest region for me to explore" must be provided. Attempt to come up with a variety of justifications for your decisions that appear logical to any IB ESS IA examiner reviewing your work.
Examining How People Are Responding To Your Questionnaire & Survey
You must give details on how respondents in your research could answer the presented surveys. Every questionnaire is unique and has its own set of conditions for obtaining the best results. This is why deciding on the appropriate reaction alternatives is sometimes challenging. Whatever you choose, you must provide at least a description or a snapshot of what that is.
Writing Strength & Weaknesses in the Discussion & Evaluation
Create a list of everything you decided to modify before the research to improve the situation and make it more durable. All of those are your strengths. Examine items under your disposal that turned out to be flawed or resulted in distorted consequences due to your activities. These are all the weaknesses your essay has.
Your weaknesses and strengths must, preferably, be interwoven.
Identify what aspects of your research may have been accidentally impacted by your manipulating anything to discover linked weaknesses and strengths. You have a strength in which you have a better awareness of the environmental situation in that location.
Even so, one area for improvement could be the inability to integrate your results in more extensive and diverse situations outside the chosen region.
Express The Weaknesses In The Right Way
Pick three main elements from the list of factors mentioned in the previous point that is out of your hands and lead your IB ESS IA to be opinionated.
All of those are your restraints; hence, you need to provide a feasible solution that might be introduced in a future study to mitigate the consequences of each one. It would help if you tried to cover as much of your IA as feasible when identifying limits.
Writing a Concise Conclusion
Recollect how you raised the environmental threat at the opening of your IA when you were discussing why it's vital to complete your research. So, it would help if you immediately solved your recognized environmental concern by utilizing the conclusion segment you reached from your research.
This section is simply a two-sentence summary.
Don’t Hold Back on Discussing Pros & Cons.
Be bold and open to uncover the possible benefits and drawbacks of the alternatives you've pondered since this will demonstrate that you have seriously considered them. In other terms, if you can identify essential defects in your proposed remedies and alternatives, you might earn extra brownie marks.
…But Where Do I Start?
The entire process can be overwhelming, with so many hints on what to do but no clue what to start with.
Start by understanding that the research might be done on a national, regional, or worldwide scale. You can start by defining a broader perspective, conduct a relevant study on a smaller scale, and afterward analyze how the results connect to proposing answers to the more significant problem. It is also feasible to establish an international setting and then use secondary sources to conduct a fair amount of research on one component of the chosen issue. Another approach would be to base your concentrated study on a regional context since not all genuine environmental concerns originate worldwide.
The preliminary planning you do is critical to your specific investigation's performance! You must be passionate about your subject and determine if you would like to conduct an independent inquiry using questionnaires, literature reviews, ecological research, hands-on, pragmatic sample preparation, or go for secondary data collection like databases and models or a combination of all these materials.
This concludes our guide, but not the passion you would write your IA with! Although this isn't the new gold standard for your IA, it should lead to understanding what's expected of you to achieve excellent grades.