IB Chemistry IA: Choosing an Investigation Topic

The IB Chemistry Internal Assessment (IA) is a significant component of your final IB Chemistry grade. It involves designing and conducting an experiment or investigation on a topic of your choice within the realm of chemistry. Choosing the right investigation topic is crucial for a successful IA. In this article, we'll explore how to select an appropriate and engaging topic for your IB Chemistry IA.

 Understand the IB Chemistry IA Requirements

Before selecting a topic, it's essential to understand the requirements and guidelines for the IB Chemistry IA. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

1. Alignment with the Syllabus: 

Your investigation topic should be related to the content covered in the IB Chemistry syllabus. It should draw upon concepts and principles discussed in class.

2. Experimental Nature: 

The IA requires experimental work. While data analysis and modeling can be part of your investigation, there should be a significant experimental component.

3. Personal Engagement: 

The IA is an opportunity to explore a topic that genuinely interests you. Choose a topic that you are passionate about and curious to investigate.

4. Appropriate Scope: 

Ensure that your investigation is manageable within the time and resources available. It should be neither too ambitious nor too narrow.

 Tips for Choosing Your IB Chemistry IA Topic

Here are some practical tips to help you select the right topic for your IB Chemistry IA:

1. Identify Your Interests: 

Start by considering the areas of chemistry that intrigue you the most. Whether it's organic chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, or any other subfield, your enthusiasm will drive your investigation.

2. Review Class Material: 

Take a close look at the topics covered in your IB Chemistry course. Consider which concepts or experiments piqued your interest in class. This can be a good starting point for your IA.

3. Brainstorm Ideas: 

Begin with a brainstorming session. Write down any chemistry-related questions or problems that you find intriguing. Explore potential experiment ideas associated with these questions.

4. Consult with Your Teacher: 

Your chemistry teacher is a valuable resource. Discuss your ideas with them, and seek their input on the feasibility and relevance of your chosen topic.

5. Consider Real-World Applications: 

Think about how your investigation might relate to real-world issues or applications. Research projects that have practical significance can be particularly compelling.

6. Access to Equipment and Materials: 

Ensure that you have access to the necessary laboratory equipment and materials for your chosen investigation. It's important to verify that you can conduct the experiments you plan.

7. Prioritize Safety: 

Safety is paramount in chemistry experiments. Choose a topic that allows you to work safely and follow appropriate laboratory protocols.

8. Avoid Common Topics: 

While some common experiments can be interesting, try to avoid overused topics that your examiners have seen repeatedly. Select something that stands out.

 Examples of IB Chemistry IA Topics

Here are some examples of IB Chemistry IA topics to inspire your selection:

1. The Effect of pH on the Rate of Enzyme Catalysis: 

Investigate how changes in pH levels affect the catalytic activity of enzymes.

2. Determination of Vitamin C Content in Fruits: 

Explore a method for quantifying vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in various fruits using titration.

3. Investigating the Kinetics of the Reaction Between Sodium Thiosulfate and Hydrochloric Acid: 

Study the reaction rate and determine the order of reaction with respect to reactants.

4. Analysis of the Chemical Composition of Common Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers: 

Use spectroscopy or chromatography to analyze the components of pain relievers.

5. The Effect of Temperature on the Solubility of Different Salts: 

Explore how temperature impacts the solubility of various salts in water.

6. Determining the Concentration of Acetic Acid in Vinegar: 

Investigate the acetic acid content in different brands of vinegar through titration.


Selecting an appropriate topic for your IB Chemistry IA is a crucial first step in your internal assessment journey. It should align with your interests, relate to the IB Chemistry syllabus, be feasible within your resources, and allow for meaningful experimentation. By carefully considering these factors and exploring a range of ideas, you can choose a captivating and academically rewarding IA topic.