Ideas for Internal Assessment

This is by no means a definitive list of all the topics that students could choose to explore in their internal assessment. Students should choose something that they clearly understand and is easy to replicate. Imagery vs rehearsal: participants recall more words from a (20) word list when they use an imagery method (forming a vivid mental image and linking each item to the last in a dynamic fashion) than if they use...

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Comments 21

Ashley Phillipson 3 October 2017 - 15:16

John, I've got a group of students who are considering using the Sattler (1992) study as the basis for their SL IA. They're having difficulty finding a reference to it, though (as am I). Sattler's 1992 book is readily accessible, but are you aware of whether the study is in it, or of an alternate source.? There are of course, other experiments they can replicate that are similar, but it would be good if they can go with their original idea (and satisfy their curiosity)...

John Crane 4 October 2017 - 08:44

The only link that is easily accessible is the one that I have provided on the site. To get the original study, they have to access the actual book reference, which I do not have. I have updated the IA menu for the new curriculum and you will see that I have taken out this study as they cannot find the original easily. They do not, however, have to use the original for their IA. You may want to have them use the second study:

Valentin Lapaine 7 October 2017 - 07:49

John, can you please clarify "Also, make sure that you have two separate groups, or two tasks in a repeated measures design. Having only one task for one group does not meet the IB's definition of a simple experiment."
Specifically, a group of my students are going to replicate Morrison et al. (2012) - Effect of imagery instruction on memory, with the IV being whether word pairs were bizarre or common. My students want to use a repeated measures/within subjects design, i.e. present all participants with 50 word pairs (25 bizarre and 25 common, in random order). Is this for some reason not OK? From a methodological point of view, I'd argue that would be a much better solution than to have a separate task with bizarre word pairs and a separate task with common word pairs...

John Crane 7 October 2017 - 16:54

Dear Valentin,

The IB made an adjustment about two years that no longer requires students to have two discreet groups. I will amend this page. Thanks for pointing this out. Your students will be fine.

Valentin Lapaine 7 October 2017 - 19:40

Dear John, that's great! Thank you for the clarification!

Nate Binzen 15 January 2018 - 13:15

Dear John, students of mine would like to reproduce Shuell (1969) recall in organized lists vs. random order, but have been unable to find that study. They are looking at one that appears very similar, Bower (1969), Hierarchical Retrieval Schemes in Recall of Categorized Word Lists. Do you have any thoughts as to making that substitution?

John Crane 16 January 2018 - 05:10

Bower is a good substitution. I have the original Shuell if you like, but it is very poorly written (a trait of these early studies). Many of my students have done Bower and done quite well. If you would like the original of Shuell, send me an email to

Nate Binzen 16 January 2018 - 06:55

Thank you, John! That's most helpful.

Nikki Rotkosky 17 January 2018 - 21:50

Hi John, What would be the original Miller chunking study that one would replicate? The original I found had subjects chunking numbers and not words. There is a study that uses words (Bower) but it is executed differently than the ones in the link you provide above. Also, would that be too much modification of SL? Thanks.

John Crane 18 January 2018 - 05:19

Dear Nikki, yes, the original uses numbers, not words, but they could use the words as a modification. That is not a problem. I have had students do it at SL and done well.

Stacey Locascio 24 January 2018 - 20:43

Hi John,
I've had students see suggestions on running "social interference" studies. One in particular they found that seemed easy to replicate for an IA is called "Conformity: The effects of interference without social pressure" and though it's title says conformity the study itself is related to perceived social pressure, similar to anchoring bias. The group is enthusiastic about it, I want to be able to say its OK. You know they are all drawn to conformity studies :-) Teenagers after all...

John Crane 25 January 2018 - 19:41

If the study is on anchoring bias, then it should be fine. But if it is even called conformity in the study, I would stay away from it as the IB will give an automatic zero.

Sreekala Sureshkumar 4 February 2018 - 05:48

HI John,
Sorry , but I need to check several IAs with you;

1. One of my SL groups is doing Craik and Tulving - they also have to identify the sort of data they have, select which measure of central tendency they have to do and explain reasons for this , right?
2. On of my HL groups is doing the Stroop- they have used a repeated measures design and added another condition along with the original single condition in the study. In the original study , participants have to identify different types of words/ colours. This group have given them two words and interchanged the colours of the text- is this okay? what data would this throw up- they feel its interval data. And we can take the Wilcox test for this, right?
Is it also possible to do these tests online? They need to screenshot the final test results and attach to the appendix, right?
sorry for these really basic questions, its my first time teaching Psych

Sreekala Sureshkumar 4 February 2018 - 05:57

Hi John,

I have an HL group who did the experiment by Paivio but have some doubts:
Firstly, they cant find the actual study.
then, they changed the images and words from the ones that were used.
is this alright?

John Crane 4 February 2018 - 10:08

Dear Sreekala -

1. Yes, they have to do that.
2. Yes, and it is interval. And yes, the Wilcoxon.

John Crane 4 February 2018 - 10:09

Sorry - and as for Paivio, yes, that is fine. They don't need to find the original study as long as they have a good summary of it. Is this the one that they are looking for? Paivio did a lot of research!

Sreekala Sureshkumar 4 February 2018 - 11:42

Thank you so much, JOhn!!

James Jacocks 12 March 2018 - 20:01

May a student use Chartrand and Bargh for their IA?

John Crane 13 March 2018 - 05:06

Dear James, as long as a study is an experiment and meets the ethical requirements, a a study may be used.

Paulomi Choudhury 27 March 2018 - 09:02

Dear John,

I gave my students the above stated list of studies. My students want to replicate the Highlighting vs Writing study . However , they are unable to find any study which is published in a peer review journal. Can you please share which research paper they can refer to? I would really appreciate your help !

John Crane 29 March 2018 - 11:57

Dear Paulomi,

The only one that I have is the link that is provided in the list. Maybe there is something in this article that they could use? /

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