Getting the Knowledge Question correct for the ToK Presentation is absolutely essential if students are to score high marks on the presentation. Here I have taken the 28th Aug headlines from The Guardian Newspaper, and developed them into KQs ready for a ToK Presentation. It is useful to remind ourselves of the guidance given in the May 2016 ToK Subject Report: “Knowledge questions are second-order questions. This means, as stated in the TOK guide (p.20), that ‘instead of focusing on specific content they focus on how knowledge is constructed and evaluated’. Candidates must pay particular attention to that focus and ensure that the knowledge question which they extract from their real-life situation is a second-order question. Questions such as ‘what ethical considerations justify the possession of firearms?’ or ‘to what extent is it ethical to prevent immigration by refugees from troubled areas?’ are not second-order questions because they focus on ethics, not on knowledge. Their answers will consider ethical dilemmas, not knowledge. There were many presentations with questions similar to these and candidates must be wary of choosing ethical topics for their presentations. Candidates (and their teachers) should always have in mind that a knowledge question must be open, general and about knowledge. That is the checklist. Furthermore, questions should not be so broad that they are unanswerable (e.g. ‘what is art?’).”
Examples of Real Life Situations (RLS) taken from the Guardian (28/8/17), & Knowledge Questions (KQs) developed from them:
RLS: Hurricane Harvey floods Houston as catastrophe unfolds.
KQ: Is AoK Mathematics a combination of objective and subjective premises when used for modelling ?
RLS: Secretary of State Tillerson distances himself from Trump.
KQ: Can an objective historical account be developed from secondary sources ?
RLS: Labour MPs warn of backlash over shift in Brexit stance.
KQ: Do Human Sciences adequately differentiate between necessary and sufficient conditions for behaviour ?
RLS: Mayweather retires after breaking McGregor in 10 Rounds.
KQ: Are The Arts better defined by process or outcome ?
RLS: Venezuela: Hunger eats away at the country’s soul as people struggle to survive.
KQ: How can we judge whether one model is better than another ? (in Human Sciences)
RLS: New York Times pulls YA novel from bestseller list after reports of fake sales.
KQ: Is it possible to measure quality in The Arts ?