The key with all Internal Assessments is to have a great starting point to jump off from, and usually, that commences with formulating a research question. This rings true for the Global Politics IA – the 2000 word Political Engagement Activity (PEA). The PEA is a chance for you to explore your political passions. You can do this by engaging with an issue of personal importance in your community, and culminating in a report that concludes your findings.
The PEA may seem daunting at first, but by breaking it down into manageable pieces, you can get through it:
- To begin your PEA journey, the first thing to decide is what political issue you want to focus on. You can do a big brainstorm of everything that’s caught your attention through the course so far. This includes current world issues that you’re passionate about. The PEA is about having free rein over what you’re interested in, so take advantage of it.
- Now, once you’ve narrowed down your political issue, start to think about it on a local and national level. Perhaps you’re interested in environmental politics; does your state or federal government have any legislation surrounding it? Are there activist groups supporting and opposing it? Have a general idea of what you want your PEA to be about on a local level.
Then, start to contemplate what engagements you could undertake. Could you interview some politicians, activists or university professors? Can you help organise a protest or attend a political conference? Your engagements are what really create your report, so choosing the right ones are important.
From here, there are two ways to choose a question depending on your preference.
- Complete your engagements, then narrow down your question and write your report.
- Create your question, complete your engagements and then write your report.
For some people, by doing your engagements first, it can help you to visualise what you want to write about.
But on the other hand, by starting off with a concrete question, it can help you to have a clear sense of direction with where you’re going with your report.
If you’re having a challenging time thinking of a question, then take advantage of the resources around you. You can bounce ideas off of classmates, ask your teacher for guidance or ask your teacher if they could provide any example questions for you to get an insight of what a PEA question should look like.
To give you an idea of one of the ways that a PEA question could look like is from a past IB student in 2019.
Their question was; To what extent does political campaigning at the annual ‘All medals week’ in Gotland play an effective and legitimate role in the 2018 Swedish elections?
Their question looks at an issue from both a wide and focused viewpoint. Political campaigning is a general issue, but by relating it to a specific event within a particular election, it showcases how it can be noticed on a local level.
The engagements that they undertook to seek out findings for their question were of a broad range.
- Volunteered for a youth organisation group
- Shadowed a reporter at ‘All medals week’
- Conducted interviews and surveys at ‘All medals week’
- Conducted interviews and surveys with friends to find general viewpoints
This shows that they engaged on a close level with the event that they were researching and got direct information, displaying their passion and diligence in their PEA.
Overall, the way you choose a Political Engagement Activity question depends on your personal preference, but either way, you’ll end up on the right path. So, choose a topic that you’re passionate about, and good luck!