How to Write IB Psychology HL Internal Assessment (IA)

Five Methods:IntroductionResultsDiscussionReferencesAppendices

IB Psychology is a subject from the Group 3: Individuals and Societies group of subjects in International Baccalaureate curriculum. One of the requirements from this subject is an internally assessed report of a simple experimental study conducted by the student. This is internally marked by teachers and then moderated by IB examiners.Generally, the paper consists of several sections and it looks much like the journal or research paper in psychology. In order to write a good report, one should follow these steps.


  1. 1
    Find a study. The best thing would be to find a simple experiment that is easy to replicate and report. A good thing is to consult with you teacher and your course companion. One of the commonly replicated studies is the Stroop effect.
  2. 2
    Do some research. Once you choose your topic, you should find the original study you will replicate and at least two supporting studies. Remember where you got them from since you'll have to reference them.
  3. 3
    Outline your study, prepare all the necessary materials including, but not limited to: informed consent form, debriefing letter, experiment equipment, etc.
  4. 4
    Conduct the experiment and collect the data. Once you're done with data collection, you sit and write a report.

Method 1

  1. 1
    Start your introduction by writing a general info about the topic and area you investigated.
  2. 2
    Afterwards, give a brief insight in the background theories and supporting researches. Ideally would be to introduce 2 or 3 relevant studies.
  3. 3
    Then give your reasons for conducting such investigation.
  4. 4
    Present in a precise and straight-forward aim, null and research hypothesis.
  5. 5
    In the last sentence state whether the hypothesis is one- or two-tailed.


  1. 1
    In the Method section, there are four subsections. The first one is Design. Here you have to emphasize what type of design you used: independent samples or repeated measures design. Give reasons for using such design: mention positive and negative sides of it. Don't forget to state independent and dependent variable. Also mention ethical guidelines: consent, briefing and debriefing.
  2. 2
    The second sub-section is Participants. Here you should discuss your participants characteristics: what was the target population, what was their level of fluency in English, what are their cultural and social background (homogeneous or diverse), what was the sample, how was the sample chosen and why was it chosen in that manner.
  3. 3
    The third sub-section is Materials. Here you simply give a list of the materials used, example:
    • Consent form (Appendix 1)
    • Set of instructions (Appendix 3)
    • Other material (Appendix *number where of the appendix under which the material is shown*)
  4. 4
    The last one is Procedure. Here you have to be accurate, precise careful and most of all straight forward. Describe the room in which the experiment was conducted and its setting. And then explain procedure of experiment, step-by-step. Mention everything, from singing the consent form to instructions reading to debriefing to saying final words and letting them go.

Method 2

  1. 1
    In the Results section, show a table and graph of descriptive statistics calculations. After that, state the level of measurement, and then introduce inferential statistics. State which test you had used, and present the results of that test in APA style (e.g. for Mann-Whitney U test, the APA style results look like this: U(0,5, n=15), p

Method 3

  1. 1
    The Discussion is a very important part. Here you discuss your findings, advantages and limitations of your experiment, and suggestions for further research. Here you have to discuss connections between your results and results of supporting studies, the use of specific design, participants, biases, analysis and data collection. Also discuss ethics and suggest improvements in further research.
  2. 2
    In the last paragraph make a small conclusion where you should sum up everything you have written and give your final stand on the results: whether the hypothesis was demonstrated as correct or wrong. Then you should do references.

Method 4

  1. 1
    Person, A., & Person, B. (year). The title of journal entry. The name of Journal , volume-number, page-range.
  2. 2
    Person, C. (year). Name of the book . Place: publisher.

Method 5

  1. 1
    In this section you present informed consent form, briefing and debriefing notes, any other additional material such as questions or lists used in research, raw data table and statistics calculations.


  • Save the words. Word limit is pretty low and you want to have enough for discussion. Don't get to literal, be straight-forward and precise. Skip right to the point.
  • Criticize. Comment! Discuss your study thoroughly,
  • Use academic style - which means no personal opinions or beliefs, no me, my, I, mine, myself in my opinion... Don't use "it's," use "it is"
  • Wrap it up nicely, well don't make it look all messy and ugly. Be creative.
  • Use appropriate language, there are plenty of expressions you should use. Such as demand characteristics which is the expression that labels situation when participants guess the aim of the study and don't act naturally...


  • Avoid the word "prove," rather use "demonstrate" or "show."
  • Avoid the use of first person and second person, don't use I, my, me, myself...
  • Avoid the use of present and future tenses, remember you write a report for an experiment you've already conducted.


Note that word limit for this paper is 2000.I hope this is helpful. However, please use this just as quick overview of what you should do. When it comes to writing your Internal Assessment, consult with your teacher, course companions, available official guides and other sources.

Sources and Citations

  • [(IA)|] - general information about IB Psychology course and course requirements
  • Crane, J., & Hannibal, J. (2009). IB Diploma Programme: Psychology Course Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Article Info

Categories: Psychology Studies