Psychology IB

Psych IA Study Guide

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Internally Assessed Psych

IA Psychology Project Requirements

Purpose of Internal Assessment IBDP Psych

Internal assessment is an integral part of the psychology IB course and enables students to demonstrate the application of their skills and knowledge, and to pursue their personal interests without the time limitations and other constraints that are associated with written examinations. The Psychology IA should, as far as possible, be woven into normal classroom teaching and not be a separate activity conducted after the course has been taught. The IB IA requirements for SL and at HL are the same and students will investigate a published study, theory or model relevant to their learning in psychology by conducting an experimental investigation and reporting the findings. 


Group Work in the Psychology IA

Students are required to work as part of a group to plan and conduct their investigation. The research method, subjects and materials, as well as the operationalization of the Independent and Dependent Variables, will be the result of the group working together. Once the data has been generated the collaboration is complete each IB student will write up the report independently and data will be analysed and conclusions drawn independently and evaluation should be carried out independently. The group must consist of a minimum of two students and a maximum of four students. Students may also choose to collaborate virtually with another student or students in other IB World Schools. Alternatively, students may work with another student who is not studying DPpsychology. This may be a student studying a psychology course with another provider, or a student studying a related course such as an experimental science or social science course.

 

IA Time, Marks and Weighing for Psychology

Internal Assessment SL and HL (20 hours)
Experimental Study 

Duration: 20hrs

Weighting: 25%

Marks: 22

 

The Psychology Experimental Method

IB IA Psychology students are required to work exclusively using the experimental method.

 

Choice of Topic - IA

The experiment is an opportunity for students to investigate an area of interest to them, to enrich their studies and stimulate their curiosity. The following points will serve as a guide to the choice of topic:

  • The topic can be from any area of psychology.

  • The theory or model on which the investigation is based must appear in a peer-reviewed publication.

  • The link between the study or model used and the students’ aims and objectives for their experiment must be made clear.

  • The relevance of the experiment, that is the reason for carrying out the experiment, must be made clear.

 

Approaches to Experimentation - IA

The experimental method looks for a relationship between two variables to support a hypothesis of cause and effect. The two variables are:

  • the Independent Variable which is the variable manipulated by the experimenters

  • the Dependent Variable which is the variable measured

 

Approaches to the Independent Variable - IA

It is important that there is only one Independent Variable in the experiment. The Independent Variable is the variable that is manipulated by the experimenters. Students should base their choice of the number of conditions and the nature of the conditions on the study used to inform their
experiment. Students may wish to conduct a simple experiment, in which case the Independent Variable would have two conditions. The study on which the experiment is based may have several conditions for the Independent Variable. Students may choose to replicate all the conditions or choose to simplify the experiment and choose two conditions for their own experiment. Details of how the Independent Variable is operationalized may also differ from the study. As an example, students may choose different words for a word list, or a different type of music to the study to suit their own circumstances, provided the link between the study and their own experiment remains clear.

 

Variables that are based upon pre-existing characteristics of the participants are not suitable for the internal assessment. Variables that are not acceptable Independent Variables include, but are not limited to:

  • gender

  • age 

  • native language 

  • culture 

  • education level

  • socio-economic status

  • handedness

  • placebos

  • ingestion or inhalation

  • deprivation

 

Approaches to the Dependent Variable - IA

The Dependent Variable is the variable measured. There are a number of approaches here too.

  • Students may replicate the operationalization of the Dependent Variable used in the study on which they base their experiment.

  • Students may adapt the operationalization of the Dependent Variable to suit their own circumstances or resources. They may, for example, alter the number of measurements taken, the type of measurements taken or use a different Dependent Variable altogether, provided that the link between the study and their own experiment remains clear and can be justified.


In addition, students may choose to alter the method of the study in a variety of different ways to better suit the context in which they are working. Students may for example alter:

  • the nature of the participants as the most feasible participants for a school experiment would be other students

  • the number of participants involved. The study may have had access to participant numbers that are impossible to replicate in a school. Alternatively, the study may have used a matched pairs design which cannot be replicated in school as there are too few participants to choose from, making matching problematic.


Analysis - IA

The data collected should be appropriately displayed. Raw data should be available in an appendix. The data should be analysed in terms of:

  • descriptive statistics to highlight the variability and spread of the data

  • inferential statistics to draw conclusions about the significance of the data generated in terms of supporting a hypothesis. Cause and effect should be treated with caution and conclusions should be tentative.

 

The Evaluation - IA

The evaluation of the experiment should focus on:

  • the limitations of the method—those factors which are likely to have had an influence on the outcome of the experiment but could not have been avoided (human error or accidents and omissions that could easily have been avoided with a little foresight and planning are not acceptable as limitations)

  • suggestions for improving the method to generate more data or more effective data in order to arrive at a firmer conclusion. These may be based on the limitations identified or proposed on the basis of a fresh consideration of the experimental design.

 

Presentation - IA

The following details should be stated in the header of the report.

  • Title of the investigation

  • IB candidate code (alphanumeric, eg XYZ123)

  • IB candidate code for all group members

  • Date, month and year of submission

  • Number of words -- The report should be between 1,800 and 2,200 words in length and consist of the following components:

    • Introduction

    • Exploration

    • Analysis

    • Evaluation

    • References

  • The Appendices (no word count) should include:

    • raw data tables

    • print-outs of calculations and/or results from statistics software or calculations made for analytical purposes

    • consent form pro forma (unfilled)

    • copy of standardized instructions and debriefing notes

    • supplementary materials

 

Psychology Internal Assessment Criteria (SL/HL) Mark Bands - IA
I. Introduction (6 marks)

0 ~ Does not reach the standard described by the descriptors below.
1–2 ~ The aim of the investigation is stated but its relevance is not identified. The theory or model upon which the student’s investigation is based is identified but the description is incomplete or contains errors. Null and/or research hypotheses are stated, but do not correctly identify the Independent or Dependent Variables.
3–4 ~ The aim of the investigation is stated and its relevance is identified but not explained. The theory or model upon which the student’s investigation is based is described but the link to the student’s investigation is not explained. The Independent and Dependent Variables are correctly stated in the null or research hypotheses, but not operationalized.
5–6 ~ The aim of the investigation is stated and its relevance is explained. The theory or model upon which the student’s investigation is based is described and the link to the student’s investigation is explained. The Independent and Dependent Variables are stated and operationalized in the null or research hypotheses.

 

II. Exploration (4 marks)

0 ~ Does not reach the standard described by the descriptors below.
1–2 ~ The research design is described. The sampling technique is described. Characteristics of the participants are described. Controlled variables are described. The materials used are described.
3–4 ~ The research design is explained. The sampling technique is explained. The choice of participants is explained. Controlled variables are explained. The choice of materials is explained.

 

III. Analysis (6 marks) 

0 ~ Does not reach the standard described by the descriptors below.
1–2 ~ Only descriptive or inferential statistics are applied. A correct graphing technique is chosen but the graph does not address the hypothesis. There is no clear statement of findings.
3–4 ~ Appropriate descriptive and inferential statistics are applied but there are errors. The graph addresses the hypothesis but contains errors. The statistical findings are stated but either not interpreted with regard to the data or not linked to the hypothesis
5–6 ~ Descriptive and inferential statistics are appropriately and accurately applied. The graph is correctly presented and addresses the hypothesis. The statistical findings are interpreted with regard to the data and linked to the hypothesis

 

IV. Evaluation (6 marks) 

0 ~ Does not reach the standard described by the descriptors below.

1–2 ~ The findings of the investigation are described without reference to the background theory or model. Strengths and limitations of the design, sample or procedure are stated but are not directly relevant to the hypothesis. One or more modifications are stated.
3–4 ~ The findings of the student’s investigation are described with reference to the background theory or model. Strengths and limitations of the design, sample or procedure are stated and described and relevant to the investigation. Modifications are described but not explicitly linked to the limitations of the student’s investigation.
5–6 ~ The findings of the student’s investigation are discussed with reference to the background theory or model. Strengths and limitations of the design, sample and procedure are stated and explained and relevant to the investigation. Modifications are explicitly linked to the limitations of the student’s investigation and fully justified.

 

Resources IB Psychology

 

 

 

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© 2019 DEEPEE. Luke Cameron Watson

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