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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

FAQs on the reflective project
The following provides answers to typical questions CP students have in regards to the reflective project.
Image: Battani, Camylla. Unsplash, 2018

What is the difference between an ethical issue and an ethical dilemma?

It is important to be clear on the difference between an ethical issue and an ethical dilemma.
An ethical issue is a topic worthy of in-depth study and discussion. For the reflective project, it has to be linked directly to your career-related study. At the start of your reflective project you must state what that career-related study is.
The ethical dilemma refers to the range of moral aspects of the issue. There should be a choice between two, or maybe more, conflicting moral perspectives where there is no ideal solution. When deciding on the ethical dilemma for your reflective project, it might be helpful to ask yourself these questions:
  • Can you find at least two clearly opposing views?
  • Can you make an evidence-based argument for both perspectives?
The following title is an example of a controversial ethical issue which also provides an ethical dilemma with opposing views on the rights and wrongs of the central idea:
“Is it acceptable for school leaders to insist on access to the internet accounts of their students to prevent cyber bullying?”
Your own school community could provide you with a starting point for a range of views on the subject.
In contrast, video refereeing in football is a controversial issue, but a title such as, “Would the introduction of video refereeing improve football?” does not contain that essential ethical dilemma.

What is meant by community?

This is a group of people with common interests. A community will have its own set of values which guide how it sees the world. In the reflective project, you need to discover how the community, whether your own school community, or a much broader use of the term for a global issue, feels about the ethical dilemma you have identified.

What is the difference between primary and secondary data?

For your research into the ethical dilemma, you will need to find both primary and secondary data. Primary data is the information and evidence you gather first-hand through interviews, questionnaires or surveys. Secondary data is the information and evidence you collect that already exists, such as data or information from published sources such as academic journals, books and newspapers.

What are cultural perspectives?

Our attitudes and opinions are affected by factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, language, religious beliefs and nationality. You will be assessed on your awareness of how culture can influence opinion so consider this during your essay, including how your own cultural background may have affected your personal viewpoint.

How will the Reflective Project be assessed?

Your final submission will be assessed using the five IB assessment criteria.
A: Focus and Method
This will assess your research methods and relevant information or data that you have gathered.
B: Knowledge and Understanding
This will assess your ability to contextualise the ethical dilemma you have chosen and your analysis of different perspectives.
C: Critical Thinking
This criterion concerns your ability to interpret, analyse and evaluate material.
D: Communication
This assesses your ability to present a structured and coherent project.
E: Engagement and Reflections on Planning and Progress
This will assess your ability to reflect upon and refine the research process.
To achieve a Grade A in the reflective project, you must:
  • Demonstrate effective research skills and engagement with relevant methods and sources.
  • Show excellent understanding of the topic and context of relevant dilemma.
  • Make relevant conclusions that are proficiently analysed.
  • Critically evaluate your research.
  • Engage with your issue in a way that is conceptual and personal.