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How to get a 7 in the Business and Management SL IA

This post will explain the tips and tricks required to write a successful Business SL IA.


Before anything, I would like to highlight that the difference between the HL and SL IA is the word count and the exclusion of the Research Proposal, which is usually presented at the start of the HL IA.

Before writing the IA, it is important to choose a company that has information available from a variety of perspectives. My recommendation is to go for a public limited company (PLC) as they tend to have a lot more secondary sources available to analyse. The next step is to choose the sector of interest in whichever company you decide to look at. An example can be the Marketing or Operations areas of the company. Following this, you will need to come up with an open-ended question that is focused on the company of your choice, such that the research you conduct can be used to answer that question.

An example of a good research question is:

“To what extent does the fall in oil prices internationally affect the profitability of Royal Dutch Shell?”

Moving on, I will be talking about how to choose your research. It is important to note that majority of the information required for the SL IA will come from secondary sources. (e.g., Journals, Websites, Articles, etc.) Primary sources are optional. According to Criterion C of the assessment criteria, it is important to include supporting documents. Whilst researching for your IA, you will need to have five supporting documents, from which the majority of your arguments and points will be sourced from. These supporting documents will be primarily used to answer your research question. Please ensure that these articles have been published in the last 3 years to ensure you have the most recent data.

Finally, I recommend using the Assessment Criterion provided by your teacher as a checklist, and a way to structure your IA, as it highlights all the key requirements required to get a 7 in the IA!

Bonus Tip: Refer to past IA’s that have scored high to see the way the arguments were analysed and if available, the marker’s comments to see what went wrong and what went fell for that specific IA.

Having sources that include any sort of statistical fact about your topic is always beneficial and can lead to a stronger argument and analysis, and a better conclusion.

Structure of the IA

- Title Page

o This is the section where you clearly state the Research Question and the word count of your IA. (Ensure the word count does not supersede 2,000 words.)

- Contents Page (Optional)

o Nice addition to the IA, if you want to highlight the various sections of your IA. Makes it easy to read and refer to for the marker.

- Acknowledgements (Optional)

o Acknowledgements are written to thank specific people and the teacher for any help they have provided with feedback and information.

- Introduction (150 words)

o This should be a brief introduction to the company you are researching and the issue you are discussing. You should also mention your research question and the context and methodology behind choosing the research question.

- Methodology (200 words)

o This is where you will be mentioning the tools you used to research and how these tools aid in answering your research question. You will also mention the business tools you will be using for the analysis section and how the research you have found works with the business tools you will be using. Using statistics is a very good idea in this scenario.

- Analysis and Discussion (900 words)

o There is a certain structure that I followed whilst analysing the various perspectives that I found whilst researching. First, I would state the source and what the source is intending to highlight, then I will analyse the source using a business concept or tool learnt in the subject and link this analysis towards a possible solution towards solving the research question. This would not only show a thorough understanding of your knowledge in business and management, but this will also aid in showing that you can take research and link it back to the research question to support your argument. Please try to use a variety of tools. You can divide this section up into three, each section having 300 words. This is plenty for conducting an analysis. It is also important to mention the limitations faced whilst researching, as you can use these points to aid your conclusion. Some people choose to do this in the methodology, as it makes more sense, but since the section has very limited words, you can mention it in the Analysis section.

- Conclusion (250 words)

o With all the analysis conducted above, and the mini conclusions that have been drawn in each of those 3 sections, you can then summarise your findings. It is important that in the conclusion you answer the research question, otherwise, you will score poorly in this section.

- Bibliography

o All sources used throughout the IA will be cited in the format as instructed by your teacher. Most likely it will be MLA or Harvard.

- Appendices

o This is where you put your five supporting documents.

After writing the IA

Congratulations, you have successfully written your IA. Now, you must do a few more things. Firstly, ensure to properly CITE EVERYTHING. We all know the consequences if something is not cited. Secondly, as mentioned above please ensure to use the assessment criterion as a checklist to ensure you have covered all points. Lastly, peer reading is always useful and always take the feedback given from your peers and your teacher with a grain of salt. All feedback is good feedback :D

Best of luck with your IA’s everyone and I hope you found this guide useful!

More IB Tips and Tricks will be coming this week! Stay tuned 😃


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