A previously published page https://toktips.com/november-2020-tok-essay-prescribed-titles-knowledge-questions/ is a place to start for Knowledge Questions. Some of the additional ones listed below also include a brief explanation.
Make sure your Knowledge Questions focus on the Prescribed Title and lead to an in-depth discussion of knowledge in a Real Life Example.
A single Knowledge Question does not need to include all of the key terms in the Prescribed Title. However, each Claim/Counterclaim section of your essay should discuss as much of the Prescribed Title as possible. The essay as a whole must comprehensively address the entire Prescribed Title.
1. “If a disagreement about knowledge claims needs to be resolved, then it is essential to give equal attention to both sides.” Under what circumstances is this good advice?
KQ: To what extent does reaching consensus in mathematics require opposing views to receive equal treatment?
KQ: To what extent does the justice system require both sides in a disagreement to get equal attention in court?
The justice system in each country is very different and the discussion of a KQ like this will depend on where the RLE is located. Each justice system can give “equal attention to both sides” in different ways.
KQ: How does the value of piece of literature compare to it in translation?
KQ: How does study a text in its original language compare to studying it in translation?
These previous two KQs are not directly connected to the Prescribed Title so the links must be clear in the discussion. There are numerous RLEs where there is an argument about the value of a translation of a piece of literature. In some cases the translation may add an element that wasn’t in the original text.
KQ: In what situations is it essential to give scientific and pseudoscientific claims equal attention?
Perhaps due to the influence of social media, there seems to be a dramatic growth in beliefs that are not supported by evidence (e.g. antivaxxers, flat earth, the 5G/Coronavirus conspiracy). Although it might be easy to dismiss these claims outright, there are reasons to give both sides equal attention. First of all, even outlandish claims deserve to have their evidence evaluated. Another way to give antivaxxers, flat earth’s, etc. equal attention is not neccearily to look at the claims themselves, but the psychological / sociological reasons behind the beliefs.
KQ: How does giving scientific and pseudoscientific claims equal attention lead to gains in knowledge?
This is a slightly different way to rephrase the previous knowledge question.
2. “Understanding something requires being able to answer ‘What if…?’ questions about it.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?
To what extent is creativity important to developing in-depth knowledge?
This KQ works for an RLE where creativity is used to address a “What if” question. In this case it is very important that the essay clarify for the reader where the”What if” part the RLE is.
Breakthroughs often happen when someone answers a “What if” question in a creative way and this can lead to a deeper understanding of a topic.
How are investigations of hypotheticals key to gaining knowledge in ethics?
Some ethical theories / ideas cannot be tested in the real world and therefore discussions of hypotheticals are necessary. In other cases, the ethics of a hypothetical situation must be discussed before it is tried in a real situation.
To what extent does in-depth knowledge of mathematics require the investigation of hypothetical situations?
In what situations are investigations of hypotheticals necessary in mathematics?
The two previous KQs are phrased slightly differently but they could both address November 2020 Prescribed Title #2 in similar ways. The first KQ includes the phrase “in-depth” but both KQs could follow the same line on investigation regardless.
3. “Too much of our knowledge revolves around ourselves, as if we are the most important thing in the universe” (adapted from Carlo Rovelli). Why might this be problematic?
KQ: How does nationality affect knowledge acquisition in history?
The use of the word “nationality” in this KQ is linked to the “ourselves” in the Prescribed Title. “Ourselves” could be interpreted in a number of different ways depending on the RLE. This KQ would work with an RLE where someone’s nationality leads them to make some kind of mistake or leads them to reach the wrong conclusion.
A number of historians, for example, have made errors in judgement because they prioritized their own country’s perspective rather than basing their judgement on the evidence.
KQ: What effect does ethnocentrism have on knowledge acquisition?
This KQ is similar to the previous one except there is a greater focus on problems resulting from cultural differences rather than problems resulting from nationality.
KQ: How does a multidisciplinary approach improve research?
In this KQ the “ourselves” in the Prescribed Title is tied to an area of expertise. Researchers, academics, etc. sometimes make mistakes because they are too narrowly focused and they don’t see the wider perspective.
KQ: How does the observer effect affect research results?
The phrase “the observer effect” highlights one way the “ourselves” in November 2020 Prescribed Title #3 can be approached. The observer effect refers to a situation where a researcher is unknowingly affecting what he / she is trying to observer and thus the results are negatively affected.
KQ: To what extent does ambition affect knowledge acquisition?
This is a more individual / personal / emotional interpretation of “ourselves” in November 2020 Prescribed Title #3. There are certainly a number of RLEs where someone’s ambition has had a positive or negative affect.
KQ: How does the scientific method affect the individual influence of scientists?
This is someone what similar to the previous Knowledge Question but is more specific to the way the scientific method works to remove potentially negative influences of one person.
4. “The process of gaining knowledge is more valuable than reaching an end result.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.
KQ: To what extent is practice more valuable than performance in music?
Practice = process. Performance = end result.
KQ: To what extent is following ethical guidelines more important than getting results?
Following ethical guidelines (process) sounds like something that should always be done but there are some situations where getting results as soon as possible is more important.
KQ: How is growth of knowledge more important than ethics in the study of __________?
This is a rephrasing of the previous Knowledge Question,
KQ: To what extent is following standards in art more important than creating unique art?
Following standards in art is important in keeping traditional arts alive but there is a tradeoff with being able to create unique art.
5. “The questions we can ask depend more on what we already know than on what we do not know.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.
KQ: To what extent is research limited by expertise?
The “limited by expertise” phrase in the KQ leads to a discussion of how questions asked may be limited to a person’s area of expertise.
KQ: To what extent does language limit knowledge acquisition?
This KQ is about how language may limit questions and this KQ could work with, for example, an RLE that involves literature in translation. The analysis could also include areas where culture and language overlap.
KQ: To what extent are breakthroughs based on existing knowledge?
This KQ is quite broad. The “existing knowledge” phrase is a reference to the “what we already know” phrase in the Prescribed Title.
6. “Reliable knowledge can lack certainty.” Explore this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.
KQ: To what extent can theoretical experiments be trusted?
There are some RLEs where only theoretical experiments are possible. There are other RLE where theoretical experiments are done and are then followed by physical experimentation. Look at some of these RLEs and look carefully at the relationship between reliability and certainty.
KQ: To what extent is practical research needed to verify findings?
This KQ would look at RLEs in a similar way to the previous KQ.
KQ: How does translation affect the study of literature?
How reliable is knowledge gained from literature in translation? How certain is it? Are there differences in reliable and certainty when translating between different languages (e.g. English to Japanese vs. English to Spanish).
KQ: What is the relationship between reliability and certainty in the arts?
This is very similar to the previous KQ; it is worded differently but it could examine RLEs in the same way.