Knowledge questions in a theory of knowledge essay can be defined as questions about knowledge.
More often than not, the questions don’t focus on particular content or situation. Instead, they’re open-ended – not simple yes or no questions.
Also, these questions are general in nature, meaning that they aren’t specific bout one subject. These questions are usually meant to not only examine but also engage with Knowledge Claims related to real-life situations. Knowledge Questions usually use TOK language and typically ask about the areas of knowledge, and ways of knowing.
Moreover, they use other related terms, culture, authority, belief, experience, evidence, truth, and values just to mention but a few.
Characteristics of Knowledge Questions
The following are the characteristics of knowledge questions:
How to Write Knowledge Questions
In the case of Prescribed Title (PT) and Presentation, it’s necessary that you not only construct but also engage with knowledge questions.
While formulating your knowledge question, it is advisable to phrase it using theory of knowledge terminologies and concepts.
Make sure that these terms are in bold so that they stand out. For instance, you may want to start your question with the words “How can we know” or even ensuring that the word “knowledge” is part of the wordings in your question.
For example, is our Knowledge in Mathematics more certain compared to our knowledge of science?
You could be even more creative by starting your questions using the terms “how properly is it justified?” Or even “how compelling is the evidence for x?”
Some of the examples of TOK vocabulary you can use include
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Unsuitable TOK Knowledge Question Examples
There are word choices that you shouldn’t use in formulating your KQs.
Example about speech:
Do we need freedom of speech?
Not only is this question too general, but it is also not entirely focused on the Theory of Knowledge.
A good knowledge question should be focused on knowledge. To make your knowledge question better, it needs to be more precise and also formulated using TOK vocabulary.
Here’s a good question to ask instead:
“What is the role of emotion, language, and reason in how we interpret contemporary and historical events?”
Example of a Knowledge Question about future population growth in, say, Africa:
“How can we forecast the future growth of the population in Africa?”
This is not even a knowledge question for the simple reason that it is a technical quiz in the subject of population studies.
You may want to rephrase it as follows:
“How can a math model provide us with knowledge even if it doesn’t lead to accurate results?”
Not only is this KQ sufficiently general but it also explores the nature and purpose of mathematical modeling.
An example of the role of placebo and its effects on the medical profession.
A bad knowledge question example:
“How does Placebo work?”
The right answer to this question might use technical explanations in psychology as opposed to engaging knowledge creation.
A good example of a knowledge question might be:
“How could we ascertain that A is an Active ingredient that causes B?”
This KQ is a general question about how we come to know about causal connections. Therefore, it is a typical knowledge question.
Examples of Knowledge Questions by Ways of Knowledge and Areas of Knowledge
Wrapping This Up
Formulating a knowledge question is a critical part of writing a theory of knowledge essay. Knowledge Questions are normally open-ended, which mean that they don’t just need a yes or no answer. Also, these questions are more general in nature and aren’t tied to one particular subject.
When formulating a knowledge question, make sure you use the theory of knowledge vocabularies and terminologies like certain, explanation, interpretation, evidence, sense perception, coherence, reason, paradigm, language, assumptions, justification, knowledge, and judgment.