IB CHEMISTRY: INTERNAL ASSESSMENT & EXTENDED ESSAY I
- July 02, 2020
- IB IA and EE
THE RESEARCH QUESTION
The Project Brief / Proposal
The first document that each student needs to submit to his school teacher for approval is the project brief or proposal. In the project brief, the following items are usually required
- The research Question
- Background information
- Methodology (including experimental procedure)
- List of chemicals
- List of apparatus
Depending on when the IA commences in the school, some students might have studied the topics on which the IA can be based on, such as Kinetics, Energetics, Acids and Bases etc. Others might be left clueless as how to formulate the research question, and frequently end up copying IA topics from websites.
What Makes a Good Research Question:
A research question should be phrased as a question and include the following
- The Independent variable
- The Dependent variable
- Other Details such as
- The analysis method
- The name of the reaction (if applicable)
Independent and Dependent Variables
One of the most important factor to consider when deciding the independent and dependent variables is that they must be measurable by techniques found in your local chemistry laboratory.
Do not choose variables which are not possible to be measured, for example, measuring the concentration of propanone. Propanone measurement is difficult using titrations or UV-VIS spectroscopy (which is the apparatus many schools have). The most accurate method is using a liquid chromatography, which most school do not have.
Some examples of independent and dependent variables to consider
Topic of research
Concentration Molecular structure
Strength of acids/bases
Temperature change Enthalpy change of reaction
Concentration Presence/absence of catalysts Types of catalysts
Time taken for reaction to complete
Rate of reaction
Acids and Bases
Type of acid/base
Basicity of acid/base
Surface area, porosity of electrodes
Electrolytic rate and yield
Strength of nucleophile/electrophile Polarity of solvents
Rate of reaction Yield of products
Selectivity of major and minor
Ligand exchange equilibrium
Polarity of solvent
Yield of aspirin in synthesis
This list is not exhaustive,but can serve as a starting point to think about the research question and penning down the project brief or proposal.
In addition to topics within the syllabus, a student can also consider embarking on areas outside the syllabus. There is no right and wrong in an IA research topic, because what matters more is the support for the school supervisor and additional help from tutors like us. Besides facilitating the thinking process, we also guide students in developing workable experimental procedures, as well as data analyses and interpretation, and vetting of report before final submission. Our aim is to make IA a smooth and enjoyable learning for our students, so that the struggles in the laboratory and report writing is kept to a minimal.
Feel free to contact us via email or phone for a more detailed discussion of how we can support you in your IA or EE project.