Students at both HL (20%) and SL (30%) must produce a philosophical analysis of 1,600–2,000 words. This word limit does not include the bibliography or references. It also does not include the 200-word description that is necessary for lengthier non-philosophical material (for example, texts containing over 200 words, play/film/movie scenes, television scenes, radio shows, lengthier extracts from novels).
Students should identify an issue raised by the non-philosophical material and analyse it in a philosophical way. This analysis must relate to a philosophical issue or argument raised by the study of the course.
Suitable material for analysis includes:
- novels, plays, poetry, song lyrics
- films/movies, television and radio shows
- cartoons, paintings, photographs or other visual images
- newspaper articles/letters
- Internet sites
Students should select a short piece of non-philosophical material to analyse. A newspaper article can stand alone but where novels or plays are used, no more than two pages should be selected for analysis, and in the case of a television or radio show, film/movie or play, no more than two scenes should be used. The emphasis should be on the depth and quality of the philosophical analysis, and not on the length or the intellectual level of the source material used.
When the source material contains 200 words or fewer students must include a copy of this material. When the source material contains more than 200 words students must include a description of this material. Sources of 200 words or fewer may take the form of poems, pamphlets, song lyrics and newspaper articles/letters. Sources of over 200 words (poems, novels, newspaper articles) and film/movie scenes or television/radio shows (not the whole movie or show) must be described in no more than 200 words.
Students must adhere to the word limit and must provide the following information.
- Part of the syllabus to which the exercise relates.
- Number of words.
- Bibliography and references.
- A copy or description of the source material used for their philosophical analysis. Texts of over 200 words (poems, novels, newspaper articles) and film/movie scenes or television scenes/radio shows (not the whole movie or show) must be described in no more than 200 words.
(from the IB Philosophy Guide)