IB Global Politics IA - IB Examiner Advice Included

This comprehensive guide will ensure you understand and efficiently execute everything expected of you in a seamless manner.

Adya Sharma
23 MAR 2022
ib global politics ia

This one is for all the future world leaders out there!


Let's talk about IB Global Politics IA.


You're an IB Global Politics student (the GloPo kid), a leader in the making with a curiosity to better comprehend the challenges of the changing world and become aware of how you partake in it as a global citizen. But there's a catch. Your IB Global Politics Engagement Activity (IB Global Politics IA) holds you back. You don't know which Political Issue will be your best bet, and the structure of the entire thing is throwing you off.


This is where we come into the picture ;)


Nail IB presents a detailed compilation of everything IB Global Politics IA. A lot goes into preparing a Global Politics IA that takes care of all the points that could make or break your work. This comprehensive guide will ensure you understand and efficiently execute everything expected of you in a seamless manner. Be it how to focus your scope on a Research Question based on a political issue of interest or perfecting the three pillars your work stands on, mainly- Engagement, Research, and the Written Report, we have you covered. This IA guide is a gamechanger, one you can't afford to miss! Your path to a neat 7 is now clear!


Before we dive deeper, it would help you refer to this IB DP Global Politics document published by the IB. This document will clear things up and assist you even if you're starting from scratch.


Below is the contents list of all the topics this article will encompass. Every sub-section you want to access is a click away for your convenience.


IB Global Politics Under The Microscope


It makes sense to begin at the very basics. When we talk about the IB DP Global Politics course, the unifying theme of- People, Power, and Politics comes to mind. The IB states the nature of this course to be dynamic, one that "draws on a variety of disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, reflecting the complex nature of many contemporary political issues."


That means that students are encouraged to engage in dialogue, discussion, and debate to broaden their understanding of varying viewpoints in the political context. This is done by incorporating case studies and contemporary examples, fostering active and personal learning.


For SL and HL students, the four compulsory core units included in the syllabus are:

  • Power, sovereignty, and international relations
  • Human rights
  • Development
  • Peace and conflict.


The Engagement Activity - IB Global Politics IA - is based on a political issue of personal interest, complemented with research, and is submitted by both SL and HL students for their Internal Assessment. While this report makes for 25% of the overall grade for SL students, its weightage is 20% for HL students. Skip to our subsection on IB Global Politics IA to dive headfirst into the same.


In addition to this, as a part of their Internal Assessment, HL students have to also produce two video-recorded oral presentations (10 minutes maximum each) on two case studies out of the six global political challenges (HL extension topics) as listed below:

  • Environment
  • Poverty
  • Health
  • Identity
  • Borders
  • Security


To better understand SL and HL Global Politics courses, give these IB documents for SL and HL a good read as required.


Unpacking The IB Global Politics IA


The Engagement Activity, aka the IB Global Politics IA, is an experiential exploration of a political issue of interest undertaken by SL and HL students as a part of their Internal Assessment.


The basic Engagement Activity workflow for Global Politics is as follows:

  • Engagement
  • Complementary Research
  • Written Report


The typical workflow is as above, but you may have to switch back and forth between stages throughout the process - conducting preliminary research on the political issue you have chosen before getting involved in the groundwork. Continuous secondary research is also a must throughout the process.


While the assessment is done based on the final Written Report submitted, all the stages are equally significant. They synchronize the student's choice of topic, planning, actions, research, and finally, the execution.


This Engagement Activity aims to encourage and bridge the gap between active and reflective engagement. For instance, a global political issue that has caught your attention can be investigated on a local level by you. This can be done by engaging with primary sources and relating this information with concepts learned in the classroom before compiling it as a report.


The written report is a 2000-word compilation on the same political issue explored through engagement and research that is finally submitted for internal assessment and external moderation by the IB at the end of the course.


This report must talk in detail about:

  • What the student learned about the issue through engagement, 
  • Analysis of the issue,
  • Evaluation of the issue, supported by complementary research


The report is marked out of 20 using the assessment criteria laid out by the IB. You may want to go through this section on the Assessment Criteria to get a better feel of the level descriptors for Global Politics IA first-hand.


The Engagement Activity should be approached in parts:

  • Choosing a political issue of your interest, one you can actively engage in, for example, Interviewing State authorities/Focus Groups, Actively participating in Campaigns that directly relate to the issue at hand.
  • Conducting additional Secondary Research
  • Analyzing and Evaluating the issue based on the research conducted
  • Compiling the Report


Now that you have a pretty good idea about the IB Global Politics IA let us jump straight into the different components of your Engagement Activity in detail. The following sections will give you a detailed insight into the various stages of your workflow.


Getting The Global Politics Engagement Activity Topic Just Right


Getting your Research Question right is a challenge you cannot avoid. A clear and specific Political Issue makes way for appropriate engagement and can make or break your IA. Selecting an issue of interest is vital as you need to justify your choice in your report via a particular engagement. To ensure your work is as honest as possible, do lots of preliminary research beforehand.


Before you kickstart with an appropriate engagement, you must identify and acknowledge some broad areas of personal interest. From Justice to Sustainability, find what interests you and explore more about it. The concepts you learn in class will help you narrow down your focus to a political issue for your IA.


A basic outline of this stage should look like this:

  • Selecting a general area of interest
  • Proposing a Political Issue based on your concept/theory/idea of interest
  • Framing a Research Question
  • Thoroughly going over how you plan on engaging with the political issue
  • Linking the issue to your course


This stage requires proper background research. The IB states that the political issue should affect a community or society the student has some involvement with or experiences in. That is not to say you can't select an issue not directly relating to you or your local community. For instance, you wish to dig deeper into the area of Human Rights in the context of an exploited/wronged female community on the other side of the world. Here you can show your experiential perspective by working and engaging with an NGO that is closely working for the cause of this community.


We have prepared a list of IB Global Politics Engagement Activity ideas to get the ball rolling. Skip to this section to get your creative juices flowing!


Next, let us move on to the selection of an appropriate engagement.


Appropriately Engaging With The Political Issue


Active engagement is the backbone of your IA as it helps you get an experiential perspective on a political issue that you cannot achieve in the confines of the classroom. This engagement makes your IA a personal exploration. You can't mess it up.


So what does the IB expect?

It expects the engagement to give you room to participate in the dynamics of real-world politics and hence experience it first-hand. It also expects the engagement to initiate contact with the stakeholders/experts in the given context.


How do you know which engagement is appropriate and which isn't?

First, let's clear something up. You can't do away with a single interview for the engagement process. It needs to be elaborate with multiple and diverse perspectives recorded. This can be done in the form of:

  • Attending group discussions, council meetings, courtroom sessions, etc
  • Interviewing focus groups, different stakeholders, for, e.g., marginalized communities
  • Participating in rallies, campaigns, forums
  • Volunteering with NGOs
  • Investigating
  • Performing with activists, etc


Before finally settling on an engagement, answer these questions to get a confirmation on whether it is the right choice or not.

  • Is the political issue explored through the engagement identified?
  • Is there a clear explanation of why this particular engagement and political issue are of interest to the student?
  • On the other hand, is there a clear link between the engagement and political issue and course content?


The following vital piece of your Global Politics IA puzzle is Complementary Research.


Complementary Research: How, Where, & When To Do It?


To put it simply, Complementary Research is additional research that complements your active and reflective engagement. You can't analyze and reflect on your experiential learning without lots of credible background information. Further reading makes this possible. It helps create a link between what you have seen and learned. Besides, your primary research has its limitations as the scope is smaller. Exploring additional information broadens your take on the issue and gives you a birds-eye view of the same.


The secondary material you collect can be from:

  • Books
  • Journals
  • Articles
  • Newspapers
  • Web
  • Magazines
  • Audio-Visual Sources and Images


The research is not the focus of your IB Global Politics Engagement Activity, rather a tool to bolster your experiential learning and is a continuous process throughout your IA making.


Next comes the Written Report, the most important aspect of your IA since all your efforts boil down to the execution.


Breaking Down The IB Global Politics IA Written Report


The Written Report is the synthesis of your experience and research, combined to address the political issue and derive an answer to the research question with the help of the Analysis you perform.


There is no prescribed format for the report. But a general rule of thumb is to follow a typical structure, including an Introduction, a Body, a Conclusion, and the Bibliography. The assessment criteria point out no particular subheadings, and hence you can opt to write the report how you want to.

  • The Introduction should set the tone for your IA. Here you must identify the political issue, justify your choice for the same, and the engagement activity. Further, you must link the two with your course content and eventually describe what you did on the ground and why it holds importance in the context of the political issue.
  • The Body should be the Analysis of the political issue, based on the learnings from the engagement and insights gathered from research. You must use and highlight key concepts and ideas from the course to do the same. Remember, this is the critical reflection of your work and reading by linking it with what you learned in theory. You will have to keep improving this section repeatedly before you submit a draft that encapsulates what you truly want to present.
  • Concluding your report means synthesizing your findings, evaluating them, and finally concluding for the research question. Here you must state your opinion on the issue and reasoning for the same. You can also highlight the challenges you faced and improvements that could be considered.
  • Finally, ensure you present an organized Bibliography. This is an essential aspect of your IA as it gives the examiner a window to your complementary research. Make it as clear and as detailed as possible.


IB Global Politics IA Rubric: All The tea From A-Z


The IB Global Politics Engagement Activity is marked against the following assessment criteria set by the IB.

  • Criterion A: Identification of issue and justification (Levels: 0-4)
    • This criterion assesses whether:
      • the political issue is clearly and explicitly identified,
      • the choice of engagement and
      • a clear link is established between the course and the political issue explored by the engagement
  • Criterion B: Explanation of the engagement (Levels: 0-4)
    • This criterion is used to assess whether:
      • the explanation and description of the engagement is clear,
      • the engagement is relevant to the political issue and
      • the engagement helped the student improve and increase their understanding of the issue
  • Criterion C: Analysis of issue (Levels: 0-6)
    • This criterion assesses whether:
      • the Analysis is clear, critical, and explored in depth using the key concepts where necessary,
      • the claims are justified with ample evidence
  • Criterion D: Synthesis and evaluation (Levels: 0-6)
    • This criterion assesses whether:
      • the synthesis of the experiential and research-based perspectives is integrated,
      • the conclusions are clearly stated, balanced and consistent with the evidence presented,
      • the evaluation is not done based on a single perspective only


IB Global Politics Engagement Activity Ideas


We have compiled a list of Global Politics IA political issues' ideas as shared by the IB to stimulate your grey cells. Use these as a reference and an extra help ;)


  1. When applied to personal responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity, what are the strengths and weaknesses of international law?
  2. How does the nature of democracy impact upon representation of women in politics?
  3. How do processes of global political influence where the products we need in daily life come from, and how are they made?
  4. To what extent can soft power be used as a means of de-radicalization for extremist Islam in the west?
  5. How legitimate and effective are the strategies employed by NGOs in improving women's rights in country A compared to the legitimacy and effectiveness of the outside military intervention?
  6. What are the impacts of "voluntarism" on country C's local and national development?


Unmissable Advice From An IB Examiner!


  1. For Secondary Research, access material available on Google Scholar and other credible and legitimate sources of information and data.
  2. The word limit shouldn't exceed 2000 words, but if your report is too short, there is a high chance your work will not be able to fulfill all the stated requirements, and you may end up with a low score. Ensure your work is crisp and hits the nail on the head.
  3. The word count does not include the following:
    • Acknowledgments
    • Contents page
    • Tables of statistical data
    • Diagrams or figures
    • Equations, formulae, and calculations
    • Citations (which, if used, must be in the body of the written report*)
    • References (which, if used, must be in the footnotes/endnotes**)
    • Bibliography
    • Appendices
  4. While critically analyzing your findings, give counterclaims for every point you list. Also, keep the tone of your work as course relevant as possible.
  5. For Bibliography, use academic definitions.
  6. The IB emphasizes the ethical guidelines for the Global Politics Engagement Activity. It would help if you went through these guidelines before proceeding with your IA.


Here's a complete IB DP Global Politics Guide published by the IB to wrap things up. It will come in handy throughout your Global Politics course journey.


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