IB History IA Referencing: A Guide for Students

December 21, 2022

IB History IA Referencing

References must be accurate and exhaustive for a good History IA. So in this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about IB History IA referencing. 

Let’s get started.

What is Referencing in IB History IA?

Referencing is a method for acknowledging the contributions of others in written work. When using ANY words, ideas, or material from ANY source in your work, you must include citations.

This implies that you must offer a citation if you utilize the actual words of an author, paraphrase their words, or summarize their views. Without citations, you might become a victim of plagiarism, and you could potentially get your work rejected.

Why You Should Reference in IB History IA

You should reference your IB History IA for the following reasons:

  • To aid the reader in distinguishing between the author’s work and that of others
  • To appreciate the efforts of others
  • To establish the credibility and legitimacy of one’s own expertise and thoughts
  • To provide the reader the chance to pursue references
  • To gain adequate credit for conducting research
  • To allow the reader to verify the accuracy of the author’s interpretation

IB History Referencing Guidelines

You must reference extensively in Section 2, as well as Sections 1 and 3 if applicable. It is preferable to “over-cite” than to “under-cite.”

Keep track of your citations as you go, because having to go back and add them afterwards is time-consuming, difficult, and frustrating.

The IB does not mandate a particular reference system; rather, it requires consistency in whichever system you decide to use.

Keep in mind that the referencing system you select will rely on several variables. Ask your instructor whether the citation system should have more details.

  • Does your institution need a certain citation format?
  • Which college do you intend to attend?

Keep in mind that Different nations tend to adopt distinct citation formats. In order to be well prepared for future academic writing, it may be good to adopt the recommended citation system of your selected university.

Here are some additional rules to observe:  

  • Notate the page numbers and titles of the works that serve as your sources. If you do not, you will have a difficult in the future.
  • Use a Word document, an online citation tool, software, Evernote, or a paper notebook to keep track of all your references.
  • When making photocopies of a book, always copy the page containing the copyright information.
  • Before submitting your work, you must run it via Turnitin. Consult your instructor about this.

IB History IA Referencing System

There are two major referencing systems recommended by IB: inline citation and footnotes.

Inline Citation

The MLA and APA styles need in-text citations. These are parenthetical citations written inside the text of your article.


This approach employs superscript numerals that point to the citation at the bottom of the page.

The Oxford and the Chicago style are well-known styles for footnoting. Other styles of footnotes include Turabian, Vancouver, IEEE, and MHRA.

Your instructor will offer you with the reference system’s style guide. You may also find a great deal of materials online.

Citation Programs or Software Solutions

Utilizing a citation wizard or program is advisable, especially for your initial few references.

Once you understand how to create a reference, you can do it on your own without depending on a software solution.

The benefit of a citation wizard is that the reference will be formatted according to the standards of your chosen citation system. This is a great method to maintain consistency in your referring.

Remember that every comma, period, and space counts. Even the page numbers play an important role in IB History I referencing.


A bibliography differs from footnotes and in-text citations.

​You must give a separate bibliography. Consult the style guide for your selected referencing system (such Harvard, Chicago, MLA, or Turabian) for detailed instructions on creating the bibliography.

Always consult your instructor for more instruction.

When to Cite Your Sources

It might be difficult to determine when it is required to mention a source and when it is not. So the following points can serve as a guide.

1. Quotations

Whenever you utilize unaltered words from a source, you must offer a citation. You must enclose direct quotations in quotation marks and the citation should be included at the conclusion of the quote.

2. Paraphrasing

Occasionally, you may rephrase anything you have obtained from a source, but the information, argument, or concept is still from someone else’s work.

This is a paraphrase, and it requires citation just as a straight quote does. There is no need to enclose the paraphrased portion in quote marks. These references should appear at the conclusion of the paraphrased section to indicate where that section finishes.

3. Summarizing

Sometimes you summarize someone else’s views, putting them in your own words and making them shorter than the original.

For instance, you may summarize Greenpeace’s objectives rather of describing each one in depth.

However, you obtained the material or concept that you are summarizing from another source. So cite them.

4. Some Information, Facts, and Data

Common, widely known, and accepted knowledge does not require citation (e.g. Christmas Day is on December 25th, the government is formed from the House of Representatives).

However, facts discovered in a single site (such as poll results or statistics regarding voter support for a certain program) must include citation.

As indicated previously, it is preferable at this time to be too cautious and provide a reference even if it is not truly necessary, rather than not being cautious enough.

Final Thoughts

If you are uncertain, it is preferable to cite a reference than not to. You will get a penalty for citing anything that does not require a citation, but it might be an issue if you fail to cite something that requires one.

Remember that anything you’ve cited in your work must also be in the bibliography. However, do not put in your bibliography items that you did not really cite in your work.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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