Knowledge questions should be placed near the start of body paragraphs. However, it is too abrupt to just start the body paragraph with the KQ – there needs to be a bit of a lead in.

Read through sample TOK essays to get an idea of the number of effective ways of introducing knowledge questions.

Look at the examples below from the November 2019 Prescribed Titles. The knowledge questions are in bold.

1. “In the acquisition of knowledge, the responsibility for accuracy lies with the user not the producer.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.

A significant number of people receive information through the media and not directly from scientists.  If the media are presenting scientific information in news stories to the general public, how responsible are they for accuracy?  A media outlets primary goal is to increase viewers and this can often be accomplished by using exaggeration. 

2. “Each human being is unique, unprecedented, unrepeatable” (René Dubos). Assuming this statement to be correct, what challenges does it create for knowledge production in two areas of knowledge?

The individual nature of people is shown clearly in the arts as each piece of art is an attempt to communicate very personal beliefs. This clearly creates problems especially when individual artists and viewers come from different cultures.   

((This is an implicit KQ – the explicit would be “To what extent are problems are created when artists and viewers are from different cultures?”)

3. Shared knowledge often changes over time. Does this fact undermine our confidence in current shared knowledge?

There have been tremendous changes in shared knowledge in the Natural Sciences as a result of improvements in technology.  However, the general public does not have access to research directly and much of what people learn about science developments comes from the media.  The media often exaggerates the news; to what extent does media exaggeration undermine the public’s confidence in changes in shared knowledge?

There have been tremendous changes in shared knowledge in the Natural Sciences as a result of improvements in technology.  However, the general public does not have access to research directly and much of what people learn about science developments comes from the media.  The media often exaggerates the news and the media exaggeration may undermine the public’s confidence in changes in shared knowledge.

 (This is an implicit version of the same KQ).

4. To produce knowledge just observe and then write down what you observe. Discuss the effectiveness of this strategy in two areas of knowledge.

A significant amount of research in the human sciences is based on observation.  Deeper investigations require analysis, not just observation.  How effective is simple observation and recording if analysis is not involved in the process? 

A significant amount of research in the human sciences is based on observation.  Deeper investigations require analysis, not just observation Simple observation and recording may not be effective if analysis is not involved in the process.

(This is an implicit version of the same KQ).

5. Is there a trade-off between scepticism and successful production of knowledge?

Historians often have quite different interpretations of the same primary source.  It is necessary for students studying history to view these different interpretations with some skepticism.  To what extent does national bias affect the role of skepticism in the study of history?

Historians often have quite different interpretations of the same primary source.  It is necessary for students studying history to view these different interpretations with some skepticism.  National bias, however, may affect how much skepticism a student has in the study of history.

(This is an implicit version of the same KQ).

6. “The pursuit of knowledge is not merely about finding truths; it is about finding significant truths” (adapted from PD Magnus). Discuss this statement.

The study of ethics is focused on the investigation of small bits of knowledge as well as larger more important ones.  Clearly, not all of the knowledge is equally important. To what extent is the ultimate goal of the pursuit of knowledge in ethics is to find significant truths?

The study of ethics is focused on the investigation of small bits of knowledge as well as larger more important ones.  Clearly, not all of the knowledge is equally important: the ultimate goal of the pursuit of knowledge in ethics is to find significant truths.

(This is an implicit version of the same KQ).

Knowledge questions should be placed near the start of body paragraphs. However, it is too abrupt to just start the body paragraph with the KQ – there needs to be a bit of a lead in.

Read through sample TOK essays to get an idea of the number of effective ways of introducing knowledge questions.

Look at the examples below from the November 2019 Prescribed Titles. The knowledge questions are in bold.

1. “In the acquisition of knowledge, the responsibility for accuracy lies with the user not the producer.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.

A significant number of people receive information through the media and not directly from scientists.  If the media are presenting scientific information in news stories to the general public, how responsible are they for accuracy?  A media outlets primary goal is to increase viewers and this can often be accomplished by using exaggeration. 

2. “Each human being is unique, unprecedented, unrepeatable” (René Dubos). Assuming this statement to be correct, what challenges does it create for knowledge production in two areas of knowledge?

The individual nature of people is shown clearly in the arts as each piece of art is an attempt to communicate very personal beliefs. This clearly creates problems especially when individual artists and viewers come from different cultures.   

((This is an implicit KQ – the explicit would be “To what extent are problems are created when artists and viewers are from different cultures?”)

3. Shared knowledge often changes over time. Does this fact undermine our confidence in current shared knowledge?

There have been tremendous changes in shared knowledge in the Natural Sciences as a result of improvements in technology.  However, the general public does not have access to research directly and much of what people learn about science developments comes from the media.  The media often exaggerates the news; to what extent does media exaggeration undermine the public’s confidence in changes in shared knowledge?

There have been tremendous changes in shared knowledge in the Natural Sciences as a result of improvements in technology.  However, the general public does not have access to research directly and much of what people learn about science developments comes from the media.  The media often exaggerates the news and the media exaggeration may undermine the public’s confidence in changes in shared knowledge.

 (This is an implicit version of the same KQ).

4. To produce knowledge just observe and then write down what you observe. Discuss the effectiveness of this strategy in two areas of knowledge.

A significant amount of research in the human sciences is based on observation.  Deeper investigations require analysis, not just observation.  How effective is simple observation and recording if analysis is not involved in the process? 

A significant amount of research in the human sciences is based on observation.  Deeper investigations require analysis, not just observation Simple observation and recording may not be effective if analysis is not involved in the process.

(This is an implicit version of the same KQ).

5. Is there a trade-off between scepticism and successful production of knowledge?

Historians often have quite different interpretations of the same primary source.  It is necessary for students studying history to view these different interpretations with some skepticism.  To what extent does national bias affect the role of skepticism in the study of history?

Historians often have quite different interpretations of the same primary source.  It is necessary for students studying history to view these different interpretations with some skepticism.  National bias, however, may affect how much skepticism a student has in the study of history.

(This is an implicit version of the same KQ).

6. “The pursuit of knowledge is not merely about finding truths; it is about finding significant truths” (adapted from PD Magnus). Discuss this statement.

The study of ethics is focused on the investigation of small bits of knowledge as well as larger more important ones.  Clearly, not all of the knowledge is equally important. To what extent is the ultimate goal of the pursuit of knowledge in ethics is to find significant truths?

The study of ethics is focused on the investigation of small bits of knowledge as well as larger more important ones.  Clearly, not all of the knowledge is equally important: the ultimate goal of the pursuit of knowledge in ethics is to find significant truths.

(This is an implicit version of the same KQ).