Once you get the set of prescribed titles for your cohort, the first step is going through each one and analyzing the key terms.

4. Do you agree that it is “astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power” (Bertrand Russell)? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.

Do you agree” – Make sure that your essay clearly answers this question.  Your investigation of different AOKs and different specific examples throughout your answer may lead to multiple answers to the question which is perfectly fine.  Your essay does not have to have one definitive answer to this question – in fact an essay that has one definitive answer to this question is likely flawed.

astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power” – Look for specific examples that show how a little knowledge can give some person / organization / etc. “so much power.”  There are situations where this power could be positive or negative.  A medical researcher who makes a discovery about one specific gene may lead to a huge medical breakthrough.  On the negative side, a junk food company could discover that a particular legal ingredient has some addictive properties and therefore decide to include it in their products.

Bertrand Russell” – there is no need or requirement to look up the context of the Russel quotation or to discuss it or Russell in your essay.  Spending time on this kind of research is very likely a waste of time.  The IB actually used to specifically warn students about this. The May 2021 prescribed titles, for example, included this note: “It is appropriate to analyse [quotations in prescribed titles] but it is unnecessary, even unwise, to spend time on researching a context for them.”

May 2023 TOK essay #4 should only discuss the AOK(s) mentioned in the prescribed title.