IB History IA workshop, Day 1

These are my notes from a three day workshop for the IB History IA (New course), held at Wesley College Melbourne, on June 25, 26, 27, 2016.

Day 1, Session 1: Introduction and overview

It’s a full room, about 25 people, mostly Australian but also a few people from the Asia Pacific region. The workshop is led by Rajesh Kripalani, a highly experienced IB educator and an invaluable member of the IB and history teacher community, both online and offline.

Section 1: Identification and evaluation of sources

Two sources need to be analysed, they can be primary or secondary. Origin, Purpose, Content, Value, Limitation.
Question must be clearly stated. Include a brief explanation of the nature of the sources as well as an explanation of their relevance.

Section 2: Investigation

Section 2 is the actual investigation and must be clearly and effectively organised. Must contain critical analysis focused clearly on the question being organised. This is like a mini essay. It must include a conclusion. (The reflection is a totally different section) Section 2 is a completely stand alone investigation.

Section 3: Reflection

This is like TOK. 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. Examples of discussion questions that may help to encourage reflection include the following.

  • What methods used by historians did you use in your investigation?
  • What did your investigation highlight to you about the limitations of those methods?
  • What are the challenges facing the historian? How do they differ from the challenges facing a scientist or a mathematician?
  • What challenges in particular does archive-based history present?
  • How can the reliability of sources be evaluated?
  • What is the difference between bias and selection?
  • What constitutes a historical event?
  • Who decides which events are historically significant?
  • Is it possible to describe historical events in an unbiased way?
  • What is the role of the historian?
  • Should terms such as “atrocity” be used when writing about history, or should value judgments be avoided?

Word limits

This is a suggestion only:
Section 1: 500
Section 2: 1300
Section 3: 400
Bibliography: not applicable.
Word limit: 2200
Total marks: 25 marks

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Markbands

You can create a checklist from these mark bands.

Criterion A: Identification and evaluation of sources (6 marks)

An appropriate question for investigation has been clearly stated. The student has identified and selected appropriate and relevant sources, and there is a clear explanation of the relevance of the sources to the investigation. There is a detailed analysis and evaluation of two sources with explicit discussion of the value and limitations of two of the sources for the investigation, with reference to the origins, purpose and content of the two sources. a

Criterion B (Marked out of 15)

The investigation is clear, coherent and effectively organized. The investigation contains well-developed critical analysis that is focused clearly on the stated question. Evidence from a range of sources is used effectively to support the argument. There is evaluation of different perspectives. The investigation argues to a reasoned conclusion that is consistent with the evidence and arguments provided.b

Criterion C (Marked out of 4)

Note: “This could be a personalised response from the student about their process. “How have I, as an historian, dealt with the different historiographies and perspectives”. It’s not necessarily a reflection of the general work of historians”

The reflection is clearly focused on what the investigation highlighted to the student about the methods used by the historian. The reflection demonstrates clear awareness of challenges facing the historian and/or limitations of the methods used by the historian. There is a clear and explicit connection between the reflection and the rest of the investigation.c

 

Day 1, Session 2: Topic Selection and the formulation of effective research questions

Two schools of thought on choosing a topic: Approach 1: Encourage students to go after their own interests, to choose local history or unknown history topics. The IB examiners seem to like local history topics, these sort of different topics tend to do very well. Approach 2: Choose something related to your syllabus and allow students to deepen their knowledge on that aspect. This could potentially help them on their exam.

Good idea: Students complete a literature review when they put in their RQ proposal, or an annotated bibliography.  Could also be a good idea to do an annotated bibliography in Year 10.

Good video, no audio:

Must get to the students early and help them get a good question from the start. The formulation of the question is absolutely vital to a successful IA.

Make clear to students: The IA is very different to the EE. The IA question should be very focussed. It is better to see the IA as an extended Paper 1, rather than an EE.

A research question is …

  • clear
  • focused
  • concise
  • complex
  • arguable

Good ideas for research questions:
Get university lecturers, parents, community members into the classroom, can use Skype or Facebook. Also, get past students to come in and talk about the IA process. Get students to directly email libraries, historians, universities, researchers etc.

Day 1, Session 3: Identification and evaluation of sources

This session will be about Section 1 on the IA:

Section 1: Identification and evaluation of sources
This section requires students to analyse in detail two of the sources that they will use in their investigation. The sources can be either primary or secondary sources. In this section students must:

key concepts in IB History

Key concepts in IB History. Causation, consequence, continuity, change, significance and perspectives. d

  • clearly state the question they have chosen to investigate (this must be stated as a question)
    include a brief explanation of the nature of the two sources they have selected for detailed analysis,
  • including an explanation of their relevance to the investigation
    analyse two sources in detail. With reference to the origins, purpose and content, the student should analyse the value and limitations of the two sources in relation to the 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.e

Notes: Students could choose one cartoon, one text. It’s also good to choose sources from opposing schools of thought.

“Don’t use historians as evidence! “Kershaw said XYZ, therefore it happened.” No. Only use historians to support different arguments and interpretations. Tell me what YOU think about what the historian thinks. Use your own voice, let the historians support you in that.”

FullSizeRender (9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Professor Bob Bain, representation made by Rajesh Kripalani

“To begin to think historically about the past, we must understand that H(ev) (History as a Past Event) can only be understood based on the Residue or Evidence that it leaves behind – primary documents and artifacts. The historian selects, analyzes and organizes this Evidence to answer a particular historical question or problem and then constructs H(ac) History as an Account. We (the public, teachers, students, other historians, and scholars) read and learn the H(ac).” f

historiography a visual guide

Historiography, a visual guide, by R. Kripalani. The longer the time distance from the historical event, the more the benefit of hindsight affects the scholarship.

 

research question

Visual representation of narrowing a research question.

 

Bob Bain's explanation of the practices of historians and of history students. From: Prof Bob Bain. History Teaching IS Literacy Teaching:How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Common Core. Accessed 25/06/16. http://www.licss.org/BainLICSS2011handouts.pdf. Bob Bain’s explanation of the practices of historians and of history students. From: Prof Bob Bain. History Teaching IS Literacy Teaching:How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Common Core. Accessed 25/06/16. http://www.licss.org/BainLICSS2011handouts.pdf.%5B/caption%5D

 

Day 1, Session 4: The 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, for example:

  • a historical topic or theme using a variety of written sources or a variety of written and non-written sources
  • a historical topic based on fieldwork, for example, a museum, archeological site, battlefields, places of worship such as mosques or churches, historic buildings
  • a local history study.

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. g

Question: How may the investigation be broken down into different steps or phases for students?

“The IB seems to move away from the old fragmented approach to the IA. The new IA could be seen as an old fashioned research essay.”

Here’s a suggestion from our table group:

  1. Students start with creating a detailed mind map.
  2. The teacher interviews the student and identifies potential pitfalls. (Other idea: This can also take the form of a presentation, student can “pitch” the idea to their teacher.)
  3. Students create an annotated bibliography of their key sources, incorporate the sources to the essay plan later on.
  4. Classroom activity: Each student to write a short paragraph in which they “critically analyse” an aspect of their argument. This paragraph will be shared with the rest of the class and will be analysed itself.  (Critical analysis: To “critique” an analysis. To be critical of different elements of the analysis. )
  5. Evaluation of different perspectives (Could be done as a group presentation, could be done as a classroom activity, students could peer assess)
  6. Essay plan, based on the previous 5 steps.

Assessment criteria (highest) for Investigation

  • The investigation is clear, coherent and effectively organized.
  • The investigation contains well-developed critical analysis that is focused clearly on the stated question.
  • Evidence from a range of sources is used effectively to support the argument.
  • There is evaluation of different perspectives.
  • The investigation argues to a reasoned conclusion that is consistent with the evidence and arguments provided.

Just an example of an essay structure, but this is very American in its setup, we do not all agree on this structure.

Some great resources by Rajesh, with documents added by participants of the workshop: https://padlet.com/rajeshkripalani/pzx2y09rqxpl (tinyurl.com/jt7x4w8)

 

  1. from the IB History Guide, first examination 2017, IA Section  (back)
  2. from the IB History Guide, first examination 2017, IA Section  (back)
  3. from the IB History Guide, first examination 2017, IA Section  (back)
  4. “Key Concepts Unpacked”. 2016. http://mrbhumanities.weebly.com/uploads/8/7/9/2/8792679/key_concepts_for_dp_history_unpacked.pdf.  (back)
  5. from the IB History Guide, first examination 2017, IA Section  (back)
  6. Support, OCM. 2012. “Historical Thinking: H(Ac) ≠ H(Ev) Or, History ≠ Truth”. OCM BOCES Instructional Support. Accessed June 25 2016. https://ocmbocesis.wordpress.com/2012/11/21/historical-thinking-hac-%E2%89%A0-hev-or-history-%E2%89%A0-truth/  (back)
  7. from the IB History Guide, first examination 2017, IA Section  (back)