Skip to Main Content

IB History Internal Assessment (IA)



The Internal Assessment (IA) is a historical investigation, and in the process of inquiry you will learn and apply the skills of professional historians.


Use this guide to help you choose a topic for your IA and get started with the research process.

The historical investigation is made of up three sections:

1. Identification and evaluation of sources

This section requires students to analyze in detail two of the sources that they will use in their investigation. A crucial element of this section of the internal assessment task is formulating an appropriate question to investigate. The six key concepts for the history course (causation, consequence, continuity, change, significance and perspectives) can be a very useful starting point in helping students to formulate a question.

2. Investigation

This section of the internal assessment task consists of the actual investigation. The internal assessment task provides scope for a wide variety of different types of historical investigation. The investigation must be clearly and effectively organized. While there is no prescribed format for how this section must be structured, it must contain critical analysis that is focused clearly on the question being investigated, and must also include the conclusion that the student draws from their analysis. In this section, students must use a range of evidence to support their argument. Please note that students can use primary sources, secondary sources, or a mixture of the two.

3. Reflection

This section of the internal assessment task requires students to reflect on what undertaking their investigation highlighted to them about the methods used by, and the challenges facing, the historian.

From IB History Guide, 2020