The Global Politics Engagement Activity Structure
The following is a structure you can follow for your (2000 word) Engagement Activity report (the EA or IA) in IB Global Politics. It will help you tick all the boxes, doing what will be rewarded, so you’ll get a better mark.
Having a clear structure like this will also save you time and help you write more clearly.
Before we start
A common mistake is thinking that your EA marks will basically come mostly from showing off your understanding of course theories. But, the EA is not so focused on theories. Theories are just a part of where you're getting your marks.
The main purpose of the EA is to get you out in the world, involved with a real political challenge, so you can learn how to actually effect change. It’s about taking potentially-influential actions (i.e. interviewing someone, organizing an event) and then seeing how it goes and learning from your experience -- using research, course theories (and the other 6 areas of the course). But you will also get some marks just from reflecting on what seemed to work well and why.
- The title, written in the form of a question.
- The political issue. (Note that this is different from the title).
- Word count.
- Session (i.e. May 2020).
- Student code.
- (Note that you should not include either the name of your school or your own name anywhere in the EA.)
cIn this section you need to help us understand what your political issue is and why it is important.
- Explain the context of your political situation. What is going on in general, but don’t spend too many words on that.
- Clearly state the political issue you are exploring (see Political Issues in Global Politics for help). Write your issue in the form of a question.
- Explain why the issue is important to you personally. Perhaps you had a certain experience which led you to appreciate how crucial it is for change to occur around this specific problem. (Feel free to use the word “I” here. We want to understand your own unique link to this cause). We want to believe that you authentically care about this thing.
- Give us a quick overview of us how will you explore this concept, using course approaches:
- Make clear a few links between your engagement activity and the key concepts of the course (think of the unit/chapter titles and the GP vocabulary).
- Identify one or two levels of analysis you’ll be using to explore the political issue (There is some help on how to explore the Levels of Analysis in the Global Politics Mastery course online).
The Engagement Activities
(Around 200 words)
--In short this section is about: What you did and how it went.--
This section is similar to your methodology section in your EE. However, here your 'method' is about how you engaged with your political issue. Help us understand what engagement activities you organized, how they went and (most importantly) what you learned from them.
Ideally you’ll take on a variety of activities that give you a balanced understanding from multiple perspectives. Again really take note that you’re getting a lot of marks from THE LEARNING from the activities. A good activity is one that you learn a lot from.
- First give us a quick overview of the 2-4 engagement activities that you did. Variety here is good. Explain what you learned from each activity and how that informed your thinking and your subsequent activities.
- For each activity, explain:
- 1- Why you chose that activity (i.e. why you chose to interview person X).
- 2- How you did it (Do this only very briefly.)
- 3- What you learned. The learning part is what you will get most credit for. Keep this part interesting. You can do that by:
- Briefly linking your learning to some of the 7 areas of the course. (You’ll do more of this, in more depth, later on).
- Looking at it from different perspectives. For example, talk with different stakeholders about what happened and why, so you can understand things from their perspective.
- Linking your activity back to your political issue and reflecting on what is required for progress.
- Explain any reasons why your engagement was limited. I.e “I considered organizing a protest rally, but I was informed this wouldn’t be appropriate for an international student in Singapore.”
- Establish without a doubt that you engaged in a few different activities and that you learned interesting things each time. We want to see you being reflective and using the approaches of the course to improve over time.
- Show us that you were authentically involved. You actually took a lead role (i.e. organizing the event, or setting up the interview).
- If you feel that you would like to combine the two body sections
Engagements and Analysis
(Around 1200 words)
--In short this section is about: What you learned from your engagements and how the course approaches (i.e. the 7 areas) can help you make sense of things.--
In this section you’ll show how the 7 course areas (including course theories) and additional research are useful to help us understand several aspects of your engagements.
You have 2 main options here, for organization your main body.
- The first is going through your engagements chronologically.
- The second is exploring 3 or 4 themes (or interesting aspects) that came up in your engagements as a whole. For example, you could have one development on contextual aspects that make change difficult, another on government aspects, and the final one on Non-Profit involvement. The themes that make sense for you will emerge as you do your engagement activities and reflect on them.
Also, it is extremely important that your analysis here is very deeply linked to the engagements. We want to see that you are choosing to analyze things here BECAUSE they arose as interesting questions for you during your EA activities. You are using course approaches to explore relevant topics that emerged as you did your activities.
Use this part of your EA to dig quite deep into a few interesting aspects related to your political issue.
Here is a useful way to think about your writing here. Do this at least 3 times.
Each (roughly 350 word) development should:
- Use several course theories
- Remain focused on a specific level of analysis
- Include more than one form of research (for example, into the wider political context of the activity and the issue.
- Include more than on theoretical perspective.
- Clearly be linked to your engagement activity experiences.
- Have claims and counterclaims, each supported by evidence.
- End with a mini-conclusion (synthesizing the insights in the development, and concluding in an insightful way).
(Around 200 words)
In this section you aren’t going to include any new information. Instead you should synthesize the insights from your Body Section 1 and Body Section 2, in interesting ways. For example, you might share a pattern that you’ve noticed, but then an exception to that pattern.
- Tie together the insights that you had from your personal experiences (the Engagement activities), your 7 Areas analysis and your other research.
- Take your mini-conclusions from synthesis to a higher level. Explain the major insights that seem to be true, based on your experiences and your research.
- Explain some limitations of your EA work. For example, maybe now you realize ways that you could have done some of your engagements differently. We will reward you for noticing this yourself.
- Provide an explanation of what your engagement taught you about the nature of global politics and your political issue specifically.
- Give us the overall impression that you really understanding global politics better, as a result of your activities, and in particular why it can be difficult to effect change.
- Make sure you have referenced all interviews, books, articles and other sources you’ve used in your EA.
- Don’t include any sources here that you didn’t end up using for at least one in-text reference. (Ironically, just as you can be penalized for under-sourcing, you can also be penalized for over-sourcing--claiming to have used sources that you actually haven’t.)
- Include at least 8 sources (my suggestion). I would also suggest you include at least 1 interview, 1 book and one very academic source. Here are some more tips on doing advanced research.
Written by Tim Woods
Tim’s passion for supporting students led to IBMastery--the best resources and community for IB students. After 17 years teaching and training around the world, Tim is now available to help you with private tutoring every day. Click here to work with him (i.e. for your Global Politics Engagement Activity report, for your ToK essay, or for your Extended Essay).