Hire a tutor
IB Geography IA: 60 Examples and Guidance

IB Geography IA: 60 Examples and Guidance

5 min Read|June 11 2024
|Written by:

Charles Whitehouse

Contents

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program offers a variety of assessments for students, including Internal Assessments (IAs), which are pieces of coursework marked by students’ teachers. The Geography Internal Assessment accounts for 25% of Standard Level students final grade and 20% of Higher Level studentsfinal grade.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about the IB Geography IA, including the structure, assessment criteria, and some tips for success.

What is the Geography IA?

The Geography IA is a written report based on a fieldwork question, taken from any suitable syllabus topic, information collection, and analysis with evaluation. The fieldwork should be based on primary and secondary data collection and be on a local scale, investigating two or three hypotheses.

It has a maximum word limit of 2,500 words. Footnotes (up to 15 words), annotations (up to 10 words), map legends, tables, and appendices are not included in the word count. Tutors suggest that you will likely spend around 20 hours on the IA, whether you are a Higher or a Standard Level student.

Have a look at our comprehensive set of IB Geography Study Notes, IB Past Papers and IB Geography Questions, developed by expert IB teachers and examiners!

What are the assessment criteria?

The IB Geography IA Guide indicates that there should be 6 different sections to the IA, each of which carries a certain number of marks. The word counts are suggestions, so students can be flexible with each limit, as long as the overall report stays under 2,500 words.

Geography IA Guide

Source: Lanterna Geography IA Guide

Fieldwork question and geographic context: The fieldwork question should be well focused with a detailed, accurate explanation of the geographic context and be related to the syllabus. A good location map should be presented.

Method(s) of investigation: There should be a clear description and justification of the method(s) used for information collection. The method(s) used should be well suited to the investigation of the fieldwork question.

Quality and treatment of information collected: The information collected should be directly relevant to the fieldwork question and be sufficient in quantity and quality to allow for in depth analysis. The most appropriate techniques should be used effectively for both the treatment and display of information collected.

Written analysis: The report should reveal a very good level of knowledge and understanding. There should be a clear and well reasoned, detailed analysis of the results with strong references to the fieldwork question, geographic context, information collected and illustrative material. There should be a good attempt to explain any anomalies.

Conclusion: There should be a clear conclusion to the fieldwork question, consistent with the analysis.

Evaluation: Methods of collecting fieldwork information should be evaluated clearly. There should be valid and realistic recommendations for improvements or extensions. There may be some suggestions for modifying the fieldwork question.

60 Example Fieldwork Questions

Here are a few examples of research questions or topics that could be used for a fieldwork-based IB Geography Internal Assessment (IA). Your teachers may have specific questions that they wish you to answer, based on a school-organised field trip, so make sure to check with your teacher or an IB Geography tutor to see how much choice you have over your investigation.

  • How does land use vary in different parts of a city?
    Students could collect data on land use (e.g. residential, commercial, industrial) in different neighborhoods of a city, and analyse the patterns and causes of land use change. Analysing patterns and causes of land use change involves statistical methods and spatial analysis that an IB Maths tutor can assist you with.
  • What are the factors affecting water quality in a local river?
    Students could collect data on water quality indicators (e.g. pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity) in different locations along a local river, and investigate the sources and impacts of water pollution.
  • How does urban heat island effect vary in different part of a city?
    Students could measure temperatures in different parts of a city, and investigate the causes and consequences of urban heat islands, and the ways to mitigate them.
  • How does the urban morphology of a city affect the travel behavior of its inhabitants?
    Students could collect data on the urban morphology (e.g. land use, transportation networks) of a city, and analyze how it affects the travel behavior of residents, such as mode of transportation, trip frequency, and travel time.
  • How does vegetation vary along an elevational gradient?
    Students could collect data on vegetation types and structure along an elevational gradient (e.g. a hill or mountain) and analyze the factors that influence the distribution and diversity of vegetation.
  • How does the land use changes affect the biodiversity of a wetland area?
    Students could collect data on land use changes around a wetland area and the biodiversity of the area and investigate the links between land use changes and the biodiversity of the area.
  • How do the factors affecting the air quality vary in different parts of a city?
    Students could collect data on air quality indicators (e.g. particulate matter, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide) in different parts of a city, and investigate the sources and impacts of air pollution.
  • How does the intensity of noise pollution vary in different parts of a city?
    Students could measure sound levels in various locations of a city, at different times of the day, and assess how urban activities contribute to noise pollution.
  • What are the effects of a dam on downstream water flow and biodiversity?
    Students could collect data on water flow rates and biodiversity before and after a dam and evaluate the impact of the dam on the local ecosystem.
  • How do soil properties change across an agricultural field?
    Students could take soil samples across a field and analyze their properties (e.g., texture, nutrient content, pH), exploring how these changes might affect crop growth.
  • How does traffic density vary at different times and locations within a city?
    Students could count vehicles in selected locations at various times, and relate the variations in traffic density to factors such as road layout, proximity to key amenities, and peak commute times.
  • What factors influence the distribution and abundance of a particular species in a local forest?
    Students could conduct field surveys to observe the chosen species, note its abundance and distribution, and correlate these with environmental and biotic factors present.
  • How does access to public transportation vary within a city?
    Students could map out public transportation networks and stops, and examine how access to these varies spatially within the city and affects commuting behaviors.
  • How does tourism impact the social, economic and environmental aspects of a beach?
    Students could conduct a field study at a popular beach, collecting data on tourism-related activities, interviewing tourists and locals, and analyzing the impacts of tourism on the beach and its surrounding area. An online IB English tutor can help in the analysis of qualitative data from interviews and the construction of a narrative that explores complex socio-economic dynamics.
  • What is the impact of coastal defences on beach morphology?
    Students could analyze beach profiles and sediment distribution in areas with and without coastal defences, and assess the effectiveness of these structures in mitigating coastal erosion.
  • How are land use and urban sprawl related?
    Students could use satellite images to map urban growth over time and relate it to land use changes, investigating the social, economic, and environmental impacts of urban sprawl.
  • How do characteristics of a local market reflect the cultural and economic aspects of the community?
    Students could survey goods sold, prices, and buyer-seller interactions in a local market, and infer the economic status, lifestyle, and cultural influences within the community.
  • What is the impact of waste management practices on a local river's health?
    Students could investigate the waste management policies of their city, assess their implementation, and correlate this with water quality data from the local river.
  • How does a local wind farm affect the landscape and local residents?
    Students could investigate local attitudes towards the wind farm, assess visual impacts on the landscape, and research the wind farm's contribution to the local electricity supply.
  • What are the impacts of sea-level rise on a local coastal community?
    Students could assess the risk of coastal flooding, survey residents about their concerns and preparedness, and evaluate adaptation measures.
  • How does the availability of green space vary in a city?
    Students could map the distribution of parks and other green spaces, and assess their accessibility, quality, and use.
  • What impacts does a local factory have on air and water quality?
    Students could collect data on air and water pollution near the factory, and analyze the factory's compliance with environmental regulations.
  • How does soil erosion vary in different parts of an agricultural landscape?
    Students could measure soil erosion indicators (like depth of topsoil) in various parts of a farm, and investigate the causes and impacts of soil erosion.
  • What are the demographic characteristics of different neighborhoods in a city?
    Students could collect data on population characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, income) in different neighborhoods, and analyze spatial patterns and inequalities.
  • How is a local glacier changing, and what are the impacts of these changes?
    Students could measure glacier dimensions and melting rates, and assess impacts on water resources, hazards, and tourism.
  • How does energy use vary in different types of households in a community?
    Students could conduct surveys to collect data on energy use (electricity, heating, transport), and analyze the factors influencing energy consumption and potential for energy savings.

Get expert help with your IB Geography

The world's leading online IB Geography tutoring provider trusted by students, parents, and schools globally.

4.92/5 based on480 reviews

  • How do different farming practices affect soil health and crop yield?
    Students could compare soil properties and crop yields in fields using different farming practices (e.g., organic, conventional), and assess their sustainability.
  • What are the social and economic impacts of a new infrastructure project in a city?
    Students could survey local residents and businesses to assess the perceived benefits and disadvantages of the project, and analyze its impacts on traffic, noise, property prices, and urban development.
  • What are the effects of deforestation on a local watershed?
    Students could use satellite images to map deforestation, and collect data on streamflow, sedimentation, and water quality to assess the impacts of deforestation.
  • How are climate and microclimate conditions varying across a city?
    Students could measure temperature, humidity, and wind speed in different parts of a city, and analyze the influence of urban features on microclimate.
  • What is the impact of a local mine on the landscape and local communities?
    Students could examine landscape changes caused by the mine, assess its impacts on local water resources, and survey local communities about their perceptions and concerns.
  • How does the composition of waste vary in different neighborhoods of a city?
    Students could conduct a waste audit in different neighborhoods and analyze the relationship between waste composition and socioeconomic factors.
  • What impacts does tourism have on a local historic site?
    Students could survey tourists and local residents, and assess impacts on the site's preservation, local economy, and social dynamics.
  • How do urban green roofs affect building energy use and local biodiversity?
    Students could measure temperature and biodiversity on a green roof, and assess its benefits for energy conservation and habitat provision.
  • What are the impacts of a local natural disaster on a community?
    Students could survey residents and local officials about the disaster impacts and response, and assess community resilience and preparedness.
  • How are invasive species affecting a local ecosystem?
    Students could identify and map invasive species, and assess their impacts on native species and ecosystem functions.
  • What is the impact of local fishing activities on marine biodiversity?
    Students could survey fishers and examine catch data to assess fishing practices and their impacts on marine biodiversity.
  • How do river characteristics change along its course?
    Students could measure river variables (like width, depth, speed, sediment load) at different points along its course, and assess the causes and impacts of these changes.
  • How does light pollution vary in a city, and what are its impacts?
    Students could measure night sky brightness in different parts of a city, and investigate the sources of light pollution and its impacts on human health and wildlife.
  • What is the impact of a new shopping mall on local businesses and traffic?
    Students could survey local businesses and measure traffic levels before and after the mall's opening, and assess its economic and social impacts.
  • How does air quality vary near major roads in a city?
    Students could measure air pollution levels at varying distances from major roads, and assess the impacts on human health and the environment.
  • How is a local wetland changing, and what are the impacts of these changes?
    Students could map wetland extent and species over time, and assess impacts on flood control, water quality, and biodiversity.
  • How does public perception of climate change vary in a community?
    Students could conduct surveys to assess local attitudes and knowledge about climate change, and investigate the factors influencing these perceptions.
  • What is the impact of a local power plant on regional air quality and health?
    Students could collect data on air quality in the region, correlate it with power plant output, and investigate any related health impacts in local communities.
  • What are the impacts of a major highway on surrounding communities and the environment?
    Students could examine noise levels, air quality, and local residents' perceptions to understand the highway's influence on their quality of life and the environment.
  • How does the level of particulate matter vary within a city?
    Students could measure particulate matter in different areas of the city, and assess its sources, risks, and potential mitigation measures.
  • What impacts does a local landfill have on groundwater quality?
    Students could measure water quality indicators in wells near the landfill, and evaluate the landfill's impact on local groundwater resources.
  • How does pedestrian footfall vary in different areas of a city at different times of the day?
    Students could count pedestrians in various locations at different times, and analyze the factors influencing pedestrian patterns.
  • What are the impacts of a local ski resort on the mountain environment?
    Students could assess changes in vegetation, wildlife, and water resources, and evaluate the resort's environmental management strategies.
  • What is the impact of urban development on a local bird species?
    Students could monitor bird populations, habitat changes, and human disturbance, and assess the impacts of urbanization on the birds.
  • How does beach litter vary with visitor numbers and beach management practices?
    Students could count and categorize litter items on a beach, and assess the sources, impacts, and mitigation strategies for beach litter.
  • What are the effects of climate change on local farming practices and crop yields?
    Students could interview farmers, analyze climate and crop yield data, and assess the vulnerabilities and adaptations of local agriculture to climate change.
  • How does the level of carbon dioxide vary within a city?
    Students could measure carbon dioxide levels in various parts of the city, and assess its sources, risks, and potential mitigation measures.
  • What is the impact of a wind energy farm on local bird and bat populations?
    Students could monitor bird and bat mortality around wind turbines, and assess the ecological impact and mitigation strategies of the wind farm.
  • What are the impacts of river damming on the local communities and environment?
    Students could study the changes in river flow, local biodiversity, and community perceptions to understand the effects of damming.
  • How does water availability and quality vary in different parts of a city?
    Students could measure various water parameters across different city regions and evaluate the access to and quality of water resources.
  • What are the socio-economic and environmental impacts of oil extraction in a local area?
    Students could evaluate the effect on local employment, economy, environment, and quality of life due to the presence of an oil extraction site.
  • How does the availability of amenities vary in different neighborhoods of a city?
    Students could map amenities such as schools, hospitals, parks, and grocery stores, and assess the level of access and its correlation with socioeconomic factors.
  • What are the impacts of urban farming on local food security and community well-being?
    Students could interview urban farmers, survey consumers, and assess the benefits and challenges of urban farming.
  • What are the impacts of sea traffic on the water quality in a coastal city?
    Students could measure water quality parameters in a harbor area, and assess the impacts of ship-generated pollution and waste.
  • What are the impacts of different land uses on soil erosion and water quality in a watershed?
    Students could study different land use areas, measure soil erosion and water quality, and assess the impacts of land use change on the local environment.
  • What is the impact of rapid urbanization on a city's waste management system?
    Students could assess waste generation, collection, and disposal practices in the city, and analyze the challenges and solutions for urban waste management.
  • What are the impacts of climate change on a local endangered species?
    Students could monitor the species' population, habitat, and threats, and assess its vulnerability to climate change.
  • How does the quality of housing vary in different neighborhoods of a city?
    Students could survey housing conditions and resident satisfaction in different neighborhoods, and assess the causes and impacts of housing inequality.
  • What are the impacts of a local forest fire on the ecosystem and local communities?
    Students could measure changes in vegetation, wildlife, and soil, and survey residents about the impacts and recovery from the fire.
  • How do different types of surface affect urban runoff and water quality?
    Students could measure runoff quantity and quality from different surfaces during rain events, and assess the impacts on urban flooding and water pollution.
  • What are the impacts of plastic waste on a local marine environment?
    Students could count and categorize plastic items on a beach and in the water, and assess their sources, impacts, and solutions.
  • What are the effects of a local conservation area on wildlife populations and local communities?
    Students could monitor wildlife populations, habitat quality, and local attitudes, and assess the effectiveness and impacts of the conservation area.
  • What is the impact of a new rapid transit line on commuting patterns and air quality in a city?
    Students could survey commuting behavior before and after the transit line opening, and measure changes in air quality.
  • How are local coral reefs changing, and what are the impacts of these changes?
    Students could monitor coral cover, species, and health, and assess the impacts on fisheries, tourism, and coastal protection.
  • What are the effects of urban green spaces on local climate and biodiversity?
    Students could measure temperature, humidity, and biodiversity in green spaces and built-up areas, and assess the benefits of green spaces.
  • How is the quality of public transportation perceived by its users in a city?
    Students could survey public transportation users about their satisfaction and suggestions, and assess the strengths and weaknesses of the transportation system.
  • What is the impact of tourism on a local indigenous community?
    Students could survey community members about their perceptions and experiences, and assess the social, economic, and cultural impacts of tourism.
  • How does urban design affect the physical activity levels of residents in a community?
    Students could survey residents about their physical activity habits and their use of urban features like parks and bike lanes, and assess the influence of urban design on physical activity.
  • How does the spatial distribution of crime vary in a city?
    Students could analyze crime data, investigate the correlation with socioeconomic factors, and evaluate the effectiveness of crime prevention measures.
  • What is the impact of local pesticide use on groundwater quality and biodiversity?
    Students could measure pesticide residues in groundwater and assess their presence in local flora and fauna to evaluate the ecological and health effects of pesticide use.
  • What are the impacts of a local festival on waste generation and local economy?
    Students could measure the amount and types of waste generated during the festival, survey festival-goers about their spending, and assess the environmental and economic impacts of the event.
  • How does the quality of street lighting vary within a city?
    Students could measure light intensity and coverage in various parts of a city, and assess the impacts on safety, energy use, and light pollution.
  • What are the impacts of a local invasive species on biodiversity and ecosystem functions?
    Students could monitor the spread of the invasive species, and measure its impacts on native species and ecosystem services.
  • How are sea surface temperatures changing in a local bay or estuary?
    Students could measure sea surface temperatures over time, and assess the impacts on local marine life and human activities.
  • What are the impacts of a local renewable energy project on electricity prices and local attitudes?
    Students could analyze electricity price data, survey local residents about their perceptions and experiences, and assess the benefits and challenges of the renewable energy project.


These are just a few examples, and it is important to note that the research question or topic should be selected based on your local context and your interests. Check with your teacher when you come up with your own fieldwork question to ensure it is suitable.

How can I do well?

To do well in the IB Geography Internal Assessment, students should take the time to choose a research question that is both relevant and interesting to them. This will allow them to demonstrate their understanding of key geographical concepts and skills. It is also crucial to utilise the best IB resources, including IB Geography Q&A Revision Notes, to do well in your IA.

It is important to plan and conduct research carefully, using appropriate methods for data collection and analysis. The data collected should be analyzed and interpreted critically, and the methods used should be evaluated for their reliability and validity. You can use statistical tests, such as Spearman’s rank, confidence intervals and mann-whitney U tests, to demonstrate effective analytical skills. The findings should be communicated clearly and effectively, using appropriate tables, charts, maps, and pictures.

The research question or topic should be reflected on, and meaningful conclusions should be drawn that are supported by the evidence collected. Refer back to your hypothesis and the context of the investigation in the conclusion.

The IA should be presented in a clear and well-organised format, using a recognized referencing style and including all required elements. It is essential to proofread and edit the IA thoroughly, and to seek feedback from your teacher or IB tutor. Your teacher can provide advice on one initial draft, so make sure it is the best it can be, to receive meaningful feedback. This requires good time management is key, so that the IA can be completed on time and to a high standard.

How is the IA graded?

It is graded by the student’s teacher, who is trained and certified by the International Baccalaureate organization. The report is then sent to a moderator, who will check that the report adheres to the IB guidelines and that the grade awarded is appropriate.

IB Geography Subject Brief

Source: IB Geography Subject Brief

Need help from an expert?

4.92/5 based on480 reviews

The world’s top online tutoring provider trusted by students, parents, and schools globally.

Study and Practice for Free

Trusted by 100,000+ Students Worldwide

Achieve Top Grades in your Exams with our Free Resources.

Practice Questions, Study Notes, and Past Exam Papers for all Subjects!

Need Expert Help?

If you’re looking for assistance, get in touch with one of our expert tutors who will be able to provide you with the support you need for your IB exams. We’ll be there every step of the way!

Charlie

Charlie

Professional tutor and Cambridge University researcher

Charles Whitehouse

Written by: Charles Whitehouse

LinkedIn
Oxford University - Masters Biochemistry

Charles scored 45/45 on the International Baccalaureate and has six years' experience tutoring IB and IGCSE students and advising them with their university applications. He studied a double integrated Masters at Magdalen College Oxford and has worked as a research scientist and strategy consultant.

Get Expert Help
background image

Hire a tutor

Please fill out the form and we'll find a tutor for you

Phone number (with country code)
background

Still have questions? Let’s get in touch.