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IBDP physics IA: Everything you need to know/Must Include

The IBDP Physics IA is integral to the IBDP Physics Course. The IA aims to provide a solid foundation for learning about physics and developing essential skills such as scientific inquiry and communication. In addition, the IA intends to help students build research/application-based thinking which in turn comes very handy while pursuing further studies in physics or engineering.

Here's an explanation subtopic-wise for the IBDP Physics IA:


The purpose of an introduction is to state the problem, hypothesis, and objectives clearly. It must also include a statement of the significance of the investigation, a general approach, and methods to be used. The introduction should not be longer than one page. A good introduction will answer the following questions:

- What is the problem or question?

- How does this investigation address that problem or question?

- Why is this investigation significant?

- What is the general approach to be used?

- What methods will be employed, and why are they appropriate?

It's important to note that an introduction should not simply state the problem, hypothesis, and objectives but also provide a context for them.


In this section, you present your investigation. The first thing you should do is explain the methodology used in your investigation. What equipment did you use? Where did it come from? How many times did you perform the experiment? How did you complete it? Next, explain how and why any variables were controlled or not controlled. What background information was required before starting this investigation? Finally, give a detailed step-by-step procedure of what happened while conducting this investigation using diagrams or pictures, if possible (such as graphs & tables). Include all observations made during experimentation, including any difficulties or unexpected findings while conducting this experiment. Include all observations made during experimentation, including any challenges or unforeseen results while conducting this experiment. Finally, explain the conclusion of your investigation and what it means to you. What have you learned from this experiment? Why is it important?

Results and discussion

In the conclusion of your report, you should summarize the results and discuss their importance. In addition, it would be best if you also discussed the limitations of your experiment and its implications in real life. Finally, your conclusion should also include a discussion of how others could repeat your experiment and how it could be improved further.

Qualitative results and discussion (For the qualitative IA)

Most qualitative results and discussions are not numerical. They may be qualitative data or a qualitative conclusion, such as:

  • The object is attracted to the Earth because it has mass.

  • The object is not drawn to the Earth because it does not have mass.

The qualitative results and discussion should be supported by evidence from the experiment, such as:

  • I dropped an apple from my hand, falling towards the ground; therefore, gravity must exist on Earth.

  • I dropped an apple from my hand into a vacuum chamber with no air pressure; therefore, gravity does not exist in space or deep space away from planets like Earth and Mars (which we call "near space").

Quantitative results and discussion (For the quantitative IA)

Your results and discussion should include the following:

  • Data analysis- This section should show how you analyzed your data, including any graphs or tables. It should also include any calculations that were performed.

  • Statistical analysis for each variable (if applicable) and each group (if appropriate).

  • Graphs or tables that reflect the results of your statistical analyses and any other calculated values from your experimental data (e.g., mean values).

  • Inferences about relationships in your data, followed by discussions about their significance and implications for further research or practice activities.

Conclusion(s) or findings.

The student should be able to explain the results of their investigation and the process they went through to reach those conclusions. They should also be able to explain how the results relate to the aims of their investigation. The student should also be able to discuss the limitations of their investigation and suggest possible ways to overcome them in future research. Finally, the student should recommend further study or practice activities based on their findings.

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