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Making the most of IB research for teaching, learning and practice

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As a research-driven organization, the IB invests in research to underpin, inform and enhance the development of IB programmes. The IB Global Research department aims to help teachers, administrators and schools make the most of this valuable resource to provide the best possible education and opportunities for students.

What kind of research is available from the IB?

To date, IB Global Research has commissioned or conducted around 80 research studies that offer a treasure trove of evidence, ideas and opportunities for learning and development. For each full research report that is published, we produce a short summary to make the research more accessible for a diverse group of audiences within the IB community and beyond.

You can find the following types of research available from the IB:

  1. Programme impact research
  2. Key findings
  3. Programme development research
  4. Quality assurance and assessment research

research impact studies multiProgramme impact research investigates the impacts that IB programmes have on students, schools and education systems; how programmes are implemented in diverse contexts and how IB standards align with other educational standards and curricula around the world. These studies cover all IB programmes and regions and investigate a range of topics, including: student performance and outcomes as well as more targeted studies on topics such as international-mindedness, critical thinking and social-emotional well-being.

Research key findings are brief compilations of Programme impact studies related to the PYP, MYP and DP, as well as IB regions (Americas, Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific and global). These can be a particularly powerful resource, as they present a number of studies on a specific topic in a very brief and digestible format. We welcome you to post these on your school’s website and to share them, either electronically or in print, with parents, school heads, government leaders and any other relevant stakeholders. Research key findings are applicable for both prospective and current IB World Schools who would like to provide some evidence of the impacts IB programmes can have.

Programme development research covers studies that support the review of curricula across the IB’s programmes, improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning and explore initiatives, strategies and challenges encountered by schools, students and teachers.

Tips for using research in your work

  • Studies often provide lessons learned and recommendations that can enhance programme effectiveness and support student learning.
  • Research findings can be used to lobby local government and school systems to make improvements or implement changes.
  • Studies that relate to your programme or area of expertise can support professional development and spark ideas for pedagogy and practice.
  • Figures and graphs from research key findings and study summaries are an especially useful tool for making research more tangible and visual. We encourage you to incorporate these as well as important findings from studies into meetings or presentations to various audiences.

Get involved in research

The IB is dedicated to supporting educators in developing independent, school-based research to better inform the IB community. The IB offers a competitive small grant to facilitate research within IB World Schools called the Jeff Thompson Award. Individual awards can be granted up to a maximum of US$5,000 each. We accept applications two times per year, at the end of March and at the end of October (the next deadline will be 31 October 2015).

research imageAn additional tool that could support research on IB-related topics is the International Education Research Database (IERD). This reference database is a free online resource for students, researchers, teachers and others involved in all aspects of international education research.  The IERD can be a highly useful tool when searching for information on IB programmes, various aspects of the learner profile, international schools and similar topics. We encourage the IB community to search the database for relevant resources and to submit new references to add to the IERD’s reach and utility.

Stay up to date as new research is published

Would you like to stay informed about new research studies? We post regular updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can also find research here on the IB Community Blog. Lastly, if you have any questions or would like more information on a particular area of research, please feel free to reach out to IB Global Research at We’d love to hear from you!