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Model Essays

The following abstracts are examples of abstracts that the IBO judged to be excellent (They each received an A). Often times writing the abstract is the hardest part- so here's a little help to get you started.
 
 

Subject: Biology

Title: The limitations of researching wild Orcinus orca by studying captive orca whales
 
 

Abstract

Orcinus orca have entertained us in aquariums and marine entries for decades, yet the average person has probably never seen a wild orca whale. Scientists have used captive orcas as a means of studying wild orca whale behavior. However, studying the behavior of an animal in a restricting and unnatural environment often leads to conclusions which do not correspond to information obtained by observing the animal in its usual environment.

So, how accurate are conclusions about wild orca behaviors when based on the study of captive orcas? Do any limits exist? There are many limitations on the amount of valid and accurate conclusions scientists are able to make concerning wild orcas from the research of captives. While the responses to stimuli, echo location, and certain behaviors have very little to no variation in captivity, alterations in many other behaviors, vocalizations, communication capabilities, feeding and foraging behaviors, interspecific and intraspecific interactions, and health are all very apparent.

Through interviews, reading, and analyzing research, I have found that the many limits of captivity were and are caused by the drastically different environment as well as from alienation, separation from their pod, and the unfamiliar diet in captivity. These differences in captivity can prohibit certain playful behaviors, silence the whales, physically restrain them, decrease normal communication and increase irregular communication within the pod or species, reduce interactions, and prohibit hunting, killing, and customary feeding. The result of confinement is often an ill, bored, and neurotic whale which, in most ways, is not an accurate representative of wild orcas.
 
 

EXAMINER REPORT

Subject: Biology

Title: The limitations of researching wild Orcinus orca by studying captive orca whales

Assessment:


 
 

Examiner Report

The topic of man's interest in whales is one of concern to conservationists, research scientists and the public at large. Emotive language has often accompanied considerations of this topic. In this essay the introduction refers the way in which public attitudes to the killer whale have changed hinting that this is the result of studies of both captive and free orcas. The focus is then sharpened on the question of whether it is legitimate to regard the study of captive whales as a means of making discoveries which are directly applicable to whales in the open seas.

An argument is presented, based on documented sources, to support the view that observations of captive whales have been found to apply to whales in the wild. The detection of echo location and similarities in the behavior of both captive and wild orcas strengthen this argument. However, further information on the social life of orcas - their communication and organized group hunting for food - demonstrates that such activity is denied to captive orcas. The argument that such deprivation does not make a difference is supported by evidence of doubtful health and reduced longevity in captive orcas. The effects of confinement in a concrete-walled pool and being fed with dead food is said to depress communication and reduce normal activities.

The information, its analysis and evaluation are written in an objective manner so that the conclusion arising from it is clearly stated - research findings based solely on the study of captive orcas must be treated with caution.

The end-notes and bibliography are a useful guide to the sources accessed. The illustrations in the text and appendices are relevant and add to the descriptions given. All other requirements are completed to a high standard.
 
 

Subject: English Al

Title: Neverland and Wonderland: Disney's thematic manipulations of source texts for cinematic adaptation
 
 

Abstract

Most of the full-length, animated feature films created by Walt Disney Studios are cinematic versions of written narratives. This process of adaptation may not necessarily preserve the literary merits of the source text. What is the nature and scope of Disney's thematic manipulations of such stories?

In order to explore this question, two representative Disney films were examined: Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan . It was determined that the major thematic components of Lewis Carroll's original Alice novels were reasonably recreated in Disney's cinematic version. J. M. Barrie's theatrical Peter Pan, however, contains a great deal of cynicism and other mature themes that Disney all but ignored.
 
 

EXAMINER REPORT



Subject: English Al

Title: Neverland and Wonderland: Disney's thematic manipulations of source texts for cinematic adaptation

Assessment:

Examiner Report

The abstract could have been rather more detailed but, although brief, it is to the point and fulfils all the requirements. The essay is well organized and lucidly argued. Beginning with some general observations on Disney films - they appear fresh and original but are based on long established stories - it proceeds to examine in detail two Disney adaptations of original literary works (as opposed to folk tales) and to assess the extent to which these films of Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan preserve the qualities of the originals. For all their differences Carroll's stories and Barrie's play are seen to have a thematic affinity in presenting 'brief forays of one or more children into a dream world that can be both exhilarating and nightmarish'. With Alice in Wonderland Disney has to find a cinematic equivalent for Carroll's world governed by language and chance, and the changes made by the film are carefully defined and analysed: for instance, Alice's encounter with the Mock Turtle, with its extensive word play, is omitted while another scene is specially invented - Alice's experiences in the Tulgey Wood, where a series of bizarre creatures provide a visual equivalent for the linguistic oddity of Carroll's Wonderland. These changes are not seen as violating the spirit of the original. The case of Peter Pan is shown to be very different and the candidate persuasively demonstrates the ways in which the film avoids Barrie's cold-eyed equation of 'childish innocence with oblivious cruelty', apparently to preserve the 'Disney tradition of sweet sentimentality' at the expense of the spirit of the original. The essay concludes by reflecting briefly on the implications of the contrast it has established and by posing a final question - whether the greater popularity of the thematically unfaithful Peter Pan influenced subsequent Disney adaptations of Victorian works, in particular The Jungle Book and Oliver Twist.

The essay is fluently written and well-presented, with end notes where appropriate and a short but properly laid out, and annotated, bibliography. It fulfils all the general and specific criteria and shows how an intelligent candidate can, without extensive resources, produce a lively and original piece of work.
 
 
 
 

Subject: History

Title: The Peasant Question and the Failure or the Polish Democratic Society in the Galician Uprising or 1846.
 
 

Abstract

This paper deals with the Polish Democratic Society the premier organization of the left wing of the Great Emigration between 1832 and 1846. The focus is on the Society's program for national liberation centered around the plight of the Polish peasantry seen as the chief instrument of the national revolution. The question is posed why did the Society fail in the implementation of its revolutionary program? why, if the emigres directed their efforts towards the promise of a better life for the Polish peasant, did he not respond?

The search for an answer begins with an examination of the ideological evolution of the Polish Democratic Society, emphasizing its commitment to progress, and tracing rho transition from faith in general European revolution as a means for national liberation to the concentration on Poland's own forces,

The development or the Society's program for resolution of the "peasant question," culminating in the "Great Manifesto" of 1836 is focused on. Paralleling this is the movement towards a stricter party discipline and greater centralization within the Society resulting in the predominance of the moderate Poitiers section and the breaking-away of the socialists.

The Great Manifesto promises emancipation and equality for the peasantry; r"t also reflects the Society's advocacy of a system of small landowners Class proved an obstacle for the Society; the disparity of interests between its gentry leader and the peasantry, and the titter's lack of national consciousness are demonstrated by the fate of the Galician Uprising of 1846, in which the peasants, unresponsive to the Society's propaganda. were enlisted by the Austrians to crush tine insurgents.

The failure of the Society's attempt to implement its program of national Liberation stems from its failure as a result of class division and ideological rigidity, to create a program to erase the inequalities which had always kept the Polish nationalist movement from achieving a broader base of support. But could the Society have stirred up I peasantry to whom "Poland" was a meaningless concept? Toe Society's basic premise is in question: can the idealism or an elite create a nation?
 
 

Subject: History

Title: The "Peasant Question" and the Failure of the Polish Democratic Society in the Galician Uprising of 1846.

Assessment:

Examiner Report

This was a highly sophisticated piece of historical analysis about the complex issues facing the development of Polish Nationalism in early 19th century Europe. The research question was clearly stated and the scope of the investigation and the paper's conclusions were clearly drawn out. One of the most impressive features of this paper was the candidate's conceptual understanding of early 19th century Europe. The broader European context in which nationalism struggled to emerge was quite brilliantly drawn. The intellectual and social limitations of early Polish nationalism were clearly sketched and the ideological divisions within the Polish Democratic Society between conservative and socialist, gentry and peasantry were forcefully analysed.
 
 
 
 

A second impressive feature was the depth of the research both in primary and secondary sources, both in Polish and in English. This lent the paper considerable authority. The conclusion, that the Polish Democratic Society was hopelessly factionalized and completely out of touch with the reality of social existence amongst the conservative, Catholic peasantry of Poland was clearly substantiated. The paper contained 3 Appendices illustrating the ideological and class conflict within the Polish Democratic Society and these were fully referred to in the body of the paper and closely integrated into the text. Finally, the end notes, a veritable mine of information in themselves, were impressively laid out.

The subject criteria were impressively adhered to also. The only weakness of the paper was that very little information was provided about the failure of the Galician Uprising itself in 1846. The candidate did not quite maintain the balance between narrative and analysis that was entirely appropriate. Nevertheless, this was a paper of the very highest quality embodying fine literary skills and sharp, perceptive critical analysis. This was scholarship indeed of the highest standard.
 
 

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