Picking an IA topic

Picking an IA topic can be daunting. However, you can follow these three tips to help you narrow down your topic.

1. Pick a time general time period and then narrow it down

Are you interested in Ancient, Mediaeval, or Modern History? Let's say you're interested primarily in Modern History, which is generally classified as the 16th century to present day, then you'll need to decide if you are interested in Early Modern History such as the Reformation or the spread of the printing press or later Modern History such as the World Wars or the Cold War or something in between. The more specific you can get the better, so if you decide to investigate the Cold War, then it is best to narrow your scope down to a few specific years e.g. 1947-1953 or 1981-1989. Just make sure that you can explain why you have picked that specific time frame!

2. Pick a geographical area and then narrow it down

Are you interested in the history of a specific continent more than others? Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America, South America, Africa? If you are most interested in Asia, then where specifically in Asia? Japan, China, the Philippines, Thailand? Even if you do decide to focus on a global topic like the Cold War, it is still best to focus on a specific country e.g. the impact of the Cold War on the Philippines.

3. Pick a historical lens through which to conduct your investigation

Are you most interested in political, economic or social history? Deciding this will help you to focus your investigation. For example, someone interested in political history may be interested in studying the development of democracy in the United Kingdom, while someone more interested in social history may investigate the impact of an authoritarian leader like Hitler upon women or minorities in Germany.

To sum up, start with the general questions, decide what you are most interested in and from there narrow down your topic. Remember, the IA is only 2,200 words and therefore your topic needs to be as specific as possible! Good luck!

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