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IB Psych SAQ written response elements
 Be sure your response conforms to the Command Term used in the question/prompt.
 Define specialized terms the first time you use them. After that, you can use the terms again as needed
without re-defining.
 Use direct, clear language in your writing. Give all necessary information without extra “storytelling.”
1. Define the concept or theory. Use the terms contained in the question and tell what they mean. They are
taken directly from the specific Learning Outcomes identified by the IBO. For example, “Neurotransmitters are
chemical messengers with which neurons activate or inhibit each other, influencing human behavior.” (From the
Learning Outcome, “Using one or more examples, explain effects of neurotransmission on human
2. Expand on the concept. Again, using language from within the question. For example, don’t say “body and
brain” if the question refers to “physiology,” use the word physiology. Give an example or description that
shows you know what the concept means.
3. Cite the study. Name the researchers and briefly describe the study and how it gives evidence in support of
the concept or theory identified in the question. Specify what kind of research study was done, e.g. correlational
study, experiment, meta-analysis, case study, or another.
4. Describe the aim of the study. Use the word aim, as in “The aim of this study was to…” The aim is the
purpose for which the study was carried out. You can also use variations of aim, such as “Owen aimed to find
5. Identify the methods of the study. Use the word methods, as in “The study’s methods included…” A
study’s methods are all of the ways that information was collected. Group these together. Technological
measures like computerized imaging systems, observations of behavior, repeated measures of biological or
behavioral information, interviews of participants or their family members… mention all of the ones used by
the researchers in the study.
6. Describe the results of the study. Use the word results, as in “The results of the [method used to collect
information, e.g. MRI scan] showed that [brief statement of the information found with that method]. For
example, “The results of the MRI scan showed that amyloid plaques were visible in the patient’s parietal
cortex.” (if the study was about an Alzheimer’s Disease patient). Each method used to find information should
have a corresponding result.
7. Link the study back to the question. Restate the way that this study shows evidence for the concept
identified in the question. As always, use direct, clear language. Your reader does not know “what you know,”
only “what you write.”