Research Skills

IB AtL Research Skills

IB Research Skills are divided into two categories: information literacy and media literacy. Here is what that means:

Information literacy- this is your ability to access and organize information. Additionally it is about referencing sources and academic honesty.

Media literacy- this is more about your ability to work with a whole variety of media, as information does not just come from books and text. Especially here, evaluation and perspective-taking play a major role.

There are many skills that you will need to master as part of the research process, and your teachers are there to help you. However, some of the basic skills you need can be supported through the information here. Choose below what you would like to do:

Citation: Referencing the work of others

Why we cite

  • show respect for the work of others
  • help a reader to distinguish our work from the work of others who have contributed to our work
  • give the reader the opportunity to check the validity of our use of other people’s work
  • give the reader the opportunity to follow up our references, out of interest
  • show and receive proper credit for our research process
  • demonstrate that we are able to use reliable sources and critically assess them to support our work
  • establish the credibility and authority of our knowledge and ideas
  • demonstrate that we are able to draw our own conclusions
  • share the blame (if we get it wrong).

ISS Expectations

  • Grade 6: Include direct quotes and a bibliography (MLA/APA)
  • Grade 7: Include direct quotes and a bibliography (MLA/APA)
  • Grade 8: Students document reference sources with direct quotes, paraphrase with citations and a bibliography (MLA/APA)
  • Grade 9: Use MLA/APA format for documentation in the text, footnotes and bibliographies, depending on the requirement of the task
  • Grade 10: Use MLA/APA format for documentation in the text, footnotes and bibliographies, depending on the requirement of the task
  • Grades 11 and 12: Use MLA/APA format for documentation in the text, footnotes and bibliographies, depending on the requirement of the task

The two main methods of citation are using APA or MLA. Ask your teacher which one they would like for you to use, and learn more here:

At ISS we use Noodletools to create our collect our resources and to create our bibliographies. You can find Noodletools on your Google Drive 'waffle'. You will be logged in automatically with your isswiki.de account.
Grade 9
Student
Noodletools is great because it not only lets me collect my sources, but I can manage my entire project there. I can also share it with my teacher and connect it to my paper in Google Drive.
Grade 7
Student

As creators/authors, we are expected to acknowledge any materials or ideas that are not ours and that have been used in any way, such as quotation, paraphrase or summary. The term “materials” means written, oral or electronic products, and may include the following.

  • Text
  • Visual
  • Audio
  • Graphic
  • Artistic
  • Lectures
  • Interviews
  • Conversations
  • Letters
  • Broadcasts
  • Maps

Basic and common knowledge within a field or subject does not need to be acknowledged. However, if we are in doubt whether the source material is common knowledge or not, we should cite!

When we acknowledge the use of materials or ideas that are not ours, the reader must be able to clearly distinguish between our own words, illustrations, findings and ideas and the words and work of other creators.

  • In written work, we should cite in the text where we have used an external source. The inclusion of a reference in a bibliography (works cited/list of references) at the end of the paper is not enough.
  • In presentations we can provide our audience with a handout of our references, or list our sources on the final slide(s).
  • During an oral presentation, we can acknowledge the sources we are by using phrases, for example, “As Gandhi put it …” or “According to …”. We can show a direct quotation by saying “Quote …Unquote” or by signalling with “rabbit’s ears” or “air quotes”.
  • We can include references or acknowledgements of other people’s work in the final credits of a film.
  • A piece of music can be accompanied by programme notes indicating influences and direct sources.
  • Art on display can be labelled or captioned.

Just because you cite, does not mean that you are free to use a resource as your own – but there are many sites that offer copyright-free resources. Check them out!

The tutorial videos below can help you to understand citing even better:

IB Guides