IB Geography IA - Some Golden Tips & Trick 🌟

From breaking down the structure to elaborating on the grading system, this guide is here to save your day and give you the best of IB Geography IA tips that are bound to help you nail your IA.

Shreya Tripathi
23 MAR 2022
ib geography ia

To ace the IA, your essay needs to be outstanding, and we're here with a guide to help you do that.


The IB Geography IA is a 2500-word empirical report based on primary data, which is conducted on a regional scale. It mainly concentrates on a single topic from the curriculum.


There is a possibility that your entire class will research a related study; therefore, you must understand what distinguishes a great essay from a bad one!


The IA in Geography accounts for 20% in HL and 25% in SL of your overall IB mark.


Obviously, the way you deliver in this area of IB determines whether you obtain the score sum you desire or not. In this IB geography IA guide, we'll go over the specific places where students end up losing scores, a structural breakdown of each section of the IA, and much more, so you can write an IA in Geography that is unique and use this guide to help learn critical pointers that can make-or-break your essay!


Things we'll be covering in this IB Geography IA guide are:


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IB Geography IA Criteria Breakdown to Make Things Easy


This table explains how your IB Geography IA will be marked and which sections will be given due importance based on the marks allotted to each, thus being called the criteria on which you will be marked. For reference, we've tagged each criterion from A to F.


It is essential to know that your Geography IA essay cannot exceed the word limit of 2,500. Hence, we have given a rough idea of how many words can be dedicated to each criterion. Of course, this estimate is flexible, and you're free to adjust it as per your liking.


IB Geography Criteria Breakdown​​​​​​​


Overview of the IB Geography IA Criteria: What Belongs Where?


A criterion-wise detail of what plays an important role, how to structure it all, and how much efforts need to be put in each. If you understand this part (and adhere to it), nothing can stop your IA from breaking records!


The table might look intimidating right now, but we're here to break it down. Here we break down the criteria based on what to cover in each, along with how to ace this baby!


We have also curated a premium collection of IB Geography IA examples to help you get a gist of what an ideal Geography IA essay looks like, so do not miss them out.


Let us get started with the criteria briefs now.


Fieldwork Question & Geo Context (Criterion A)


Your fieldwork question guides your empirical research. The question ought to be targeted, suitable, and phrased as a subject that can be addressed on the ground by collecting relevant primary data. You can give a quick preliminary assessment or forecast in response to the fieldwork question if it is suitable. This prognosis might also be expressed as a hypothesis.


Here, you have to include a short statement on the geographic setting, describing the why and where of the fieldwork inquiry that will be conducted. This could also comprise pertinent geographical, environmental, and demographic variables and any observational data, notions, or traits. To convey the spatial aspect (which is extremely important), a map/blueprint of the study region and the places used throughout the fieldwork inquiry is required.


You also have to identify which curriculum aspects the research corresponds to and the geographical investigation subject or sub-topic in the curriculum and if the research would be from the alternative themes, main theme, or HL continuation. It might be made up of two or even more different subjects or themes.


This criterion evaluates the fieldwork's emphasis and geographic context and the degree to which the connection between both the fieldwork inquiry and the geographic context is clearly explained. The fieldwork question ought to be geographically specified.


How to Get a 3

  • The relationship between the field research question and the relevant syllabus subject, course materials, or geographic concept should be thoroughly explained.
  • The connection to spatial/area theory should enable the development of hypotheses and forecasts.
  • The fieldwork inquiry should be geographical and concentrated, along with explicitly defining a specific area and enabling primary data analysis well within the internal assessment's constraints.
  • More than one location-specific map should be shown, each of which follows mapping norms and provides concrete understanding and specifics about the research site.


Method(s) of Investigation (Criterion B)


In this section, you need to explain the method(s) you utilized to gather data. When applicable, the explanation may describe the tools used, polling methodology, time, place, and conditions of data gathering. The method(s) employed should be validated and therefore must facilitate the production of an adequate amount and quality of primary data to answer the fieldwork inquiry.


This parameter evaluates the explanation, rationale, and applicability of the technique or procedures used to examine the specified inquiry, which mainly includes polling and mapping methods, secondary or primary data gathering as applicable.


How to Get a 3

  • The files and knowledge gathering method(s) need to be explained, together with an explanation as to how the combination of this information obtained relates to the concept, inquiry posed, or hypotheses for the IA.
  • For brownie points, you may also provide statistical tests you conducted.
  • The technique(s), data collecting tools, and sample preparation procedures must be appropriately applied.
  • The essay has to lead to reliable and high-quality primary data used to sustain a statistical and qualitative approach.


Quality of Information (Criterion C)


Here, you have to use the best suitable approaches to handle and present the material you have gathered. These strategies would be the most successful means of describing the sort of data gathered, and they ought to be used effectively. Test statistics (with posterior probability), charts, infographics, mappings, labelled illustrations, grids, and ground drawings are some of the methods that may be used, based on the type of your fieldwork inquiry.


You must also consider the geographical context, the facts gathered, as well as the treatment and presentation of the content.


This parameter will consider the value of the research conducted, as well as its appropriateness for interpretation in objective criteria D. It also considers if the data segment and structure is adequate; if it employs an adequate variety of methods, and if the presentation adheres to IB's approved norms.


How to Get a 6

  • The research and sources of data gathered need to be closely related to the analysis or hypotheses posed.
  • The data needs to be of substantial volume and nature to facilitate investigation or response to the leading question.
  • For displaying the statistical information acquired, the most suitable strategies ought to be employed. Those strategies involve planning the flow of your essay well in time and creating an action plan based on how you will go about the primary research.
  • The maps, charts, infographics, and other graphics need to adhere to the set of rules mentioned by the IB.


Written Analysis (Criterion D)


You need to analyze and make sense of the information you acquired in connection to the fieldwork inquiry in the written analysis to prove your level of understanding of the research. This involves identifying any themes or geographical patterns that emerge from the data. Efforts must be made to detect and justify any abnormalities when possible. This portion must include both the handling and presentation of the subject as well as the literary evaluation.


This criterion evaluates the performance of the written analysis, focusing on:

  1. linkages to the topic and hypotheses
  2. Defined geographic semantic features
  3. Data obtained, and
  4. Graphical content utilized.


How to Get an 8

  • The written analysis has to employ descriptive and inferential statistical methodologies that are suitable for the evidence and the inquiry posed.
  • The themes, patterns, and data discovered, as well as any exceptions or anomalies, need to be discussed and related to the research topic, hypotheses, spatial theory, field site, and methodologies employed.
  • With little or no loopholes in the corroborating evidence, the textual analysis has to provide an answer to the posed topic/question.


Conclusion (Criterion E)


The results of your fieldwork research should be summarised in the conclusion. A precise, succinct explanation must be provided in response to the fieldwork inquiry. Additionally, it is fair to mention that your results contradict the initial judgement or assumption you set at first.


This criterion evaluates your ability to synthesize the results of the fieldwork inquiry and come to a well-supported judgment.


How to Get a 2

  • The fieldwork inquiry needs to have a conclusive result that is backed by the research conducted.


Evaluation (Criterion F)


Here must go through your investigation approach, including how you gathered primary data. Take into account any elements that could have influenced the information's accuracy, like preconceived views and unforeseeable external events like the climate. You also need to make clear and reasonable suggestions for how the study may be refined and expanded in the coming years.


This parameter evaluates your ability to evaluate the research technique by balancing the merits and/or limitations of the selected approach and making recommendations for changes.


How to Get a 3

  • The most important and suitable advantages and disadvantages ought to be discussed in terms of data collecting techniques, field research objective design, data interpretation, and place selection.
  • Development recommendations need to be presented, as well as the possible consequences of these changes.


Types of Data Sources You Need to Keep a Check On


We all know the two types of data sources to be used in your IAs: Primary and Secondary. It is imperial to understand the role both of them play in your IB Geography IA topic.


In case you need a comprehensive guide that covers all significant aspects of writing an IB essay, our Free IB Notes have you covered, so worry not!


Primary Data


This data must be derived from your independent field readings and research. Your IB geography IA topic must start with primary data as your fieldwork must yield enough data to allow proper observation and understanding.


The collecting of both, qualitative and quantitative primary data may be required during your geographical fieldwork studies. Your goal and fieldwork inquiry should decide the sort of data gathered. Measurements are used to acquire quantitative data, which may then be analyzed employi ng numerical and other methods.


Qualitative data goes without the use of quantification and is gathered via witnessing or subjective assessment. Qualitative data can be obtained, tagged, and evaluated as needed, or it can be presented in the form of visuals or writing. Due to the obvious theoretical basis of qualitative data, there will be enough data for written analysis and conclusion.


One easy way to understand:

Primary = First-hand data and information you collect.


Secondary Data


This source entails collecting data from sources that have already been assembled in textual, numerical, or map format. Secondary data may be used to augment main data, but it should only serve a minor role in the research. All sources of secondary data ought to be cited to avoid plagiarism and penalty.


One easy way to understand:

Secondary = Second-hand data and information you obtain via published articles, journals, etc.


What to DO and What NOT TO


The smallest of things make the biggest of impacts. While most kids will overlook these details, we strongly suggest you take them into consideration:

  1. Be careful to follow the instructions provided by the IB. The document has several brief remarks that provide valuable insight on how to format your findings. You can find their updated guidelines right here!
  2. Specify why you chose this particular fieldwork inquiry to be conducted.
  3. Address the research question with a concise, speculative verdict (which is your hypothesis) based on the geographic theory.
  4. Indicate which section of the course your IA is relevant to.
  5. Create a goal/key topic with a conceptual and geographical framework.
  6. Note that choosing acceptable hypotheses for the study is arguably the most significant component in delivering a good essay.
  7. Develop a hypothesis that establishes a link between geographical features and potential causes since it is the easiest way to facilitate your investigation.
  8. Describe the location of your fieldwork topic like a movie trailer. The assessor has not seen the location you're describing in the essay, and your words and graphs are their only eyes. Don't be poetic and dramatic! Just be thorough and clear of what the location/area is like.
  9. Add three maps that constitute main factors: additional information, dimensions, and a north indicator.
  10. Your IA is more about situating the study inside the framework of whatever you've learned and describing the inquiry's backdrop. In short, it is about the why and where, so remember to keep these 2 in mind throughout.
  11. Specify why you picked the volume and technique of sampling that you did for your primary data source.
  12. Make sure all maps and graphs feature labels on the sides, a heading, and are incorporated into your work.
  13. Demonstrate that you did an inquiry that resulted in trustworthy and high-quality data.
  14. A lack of adequate data will obviate the need for high-quality analysis.
  15. The IB expects you to select not the most appropriate data for your hypothesis, but to also present it in the most suitable and efficient way feasible.
  16. Your IA ought to be analytical in nature. Using sampling methods and statistical tests are some of the excellent techniques to demonstrate this.
  17. Emphasize the significance of the correlations in your information in terms of your hypothesis and research topic.
  18. Any suggestions for improvement you give in criterion F need to be feasible and realistic.
  19. Appendices must only contain samples of items that were utilized or are illustrative of items that were used.
  20. Pick 2 or 3 objectives to assist you to examine and resolving your research question.


Sum Up Your IB Geography IA With a Bang!


Though the summing up is just of 5 marks, the conclusion plays a major role in summing up your essay and making sense of everything. To make a final impression that sets a bar, return to your introduction to review your hypotheses, as well as the setting wherein your research, is taking place. Make sure you clearly show what conclusions you can make from the information along with how you researched it. Don't think about getting overly detailed now; it will come later, but make sure you get your points through.


The final technique to improve your grades is to do a thorough evaluation. Several IB geographers make the mistake of just outlining the flaws in their inquiry. This is insufficient to get access to the highest rank of the marking criteria. Rather, emphasize both, the good and potential negatives of your inquiry and offer strategies to enhance the validity and credibility of your findings.


The Secret to Setting Your Hypothesis the Right Way


A hypothesis might sound like a big and scary word that belongs to PhDs but trust us, it's not. While many of you might be familiar with the concept, we decided to dedicate a special section to it to polish up your assumption setting and how to do it the right way (because trust us, a well-set hypothesis is your gateway to scoring crazy marks easily!).


Simply said, a hypothesis is an informed assumption. It's just your analysis and estimate of the relationship between two set variables. It predicts the study's expected conclusion. In other words, it expresses your expectations for your geography IA's result.

  • It is crucial to remember the logic behind each of the actions and decisions are taken in any component of the inquiry as part of the inquiry's objectives. This implies that it's critical to document all the conditions surrounding the inquiry, as well as any factors that could have an impact on the data gathered. Minor elements such as the hour of the day, whether at the time of the survey, emergency plans, and unanticipated disasters that may affect the study or inquiry are all aspects to consider.
  • You can provide your hypothesis derived from data perception (rather than data collection), prior occurrences, or understanding of the problem under inquiry.
  • Either one null hypothesis or perhaps an alternative hypothesis (but never both) needs to be specified in the hypothesis. Essentially, it is important to note that the null hypothesis will always be the opposite of the true hypothesis, and thus be negative.


Hypothesis in the Introduction


Keeping the hypothesis established in your introduction while assessing the facts and figures is crucial. First, the gathered information should account for the factors listed in the hypothesis. In so doing, the findings may be used to determine if the hypothesis will be accepted or dismissed. To provide a clear and comprehensive overview of the situation evaluated, this is commonly conducted qualitatively and then quantitatively verified.


Hypothesis in the Conclusion


In your conclusion, make a remark regarding your hypothesis, saying if it was proved or disproved in your analysis. Imply the variable(s) in the model specify this, as well as the statistical data that supports it. The conclusion should be succinct. As a result, just the relevant facts should be used to justify your admissibility of the hypothesis.


Hypothesis in Method of Investigation


You must give details of the approach used to obtain the information in your Geography IA essay. Criterion B (the method of investigation) of the assessment is comprised entirely of this. It contains, but is not restricted to, sample designing, data gathering procedures, discussion of results and analysis methodologies, as well as a draft of the data gathering survey questionnaire. The questionnaires should be labelled with a certain effort to justify the utilized variables.


The Power of the Right Resource


Using resources like the web, guides, and your observations is essential, not as much as your professors' feedback! Don't ever hesitate to ask your teacher any queries you might have. They are the best ones to be able to steer you on the correct path and maybe present you to additional IA resources. As a result, you may be able to produce a greater IA and earn more stars!


Nail IB's resources are a goldmine if you want to crack your IB Geography IA with great scores. We have new blogs coming in every week that bring numerous tips and tricks to the table that are bound to help you get a head start on your essays, so don't forget to bookmark it right here! With our samples, guides, and many other resources, your IA essays will prove to be a cakewalk.


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