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Theory Of Knowledge Essay Exemplar

This is a sample of our (approximately) 6 page long Tok Essay 2014 Grade A Level 7 Student notes, which we sell as part of the TOK Outlines collection, a A package written at International School Of DüSseldorf in 2014 that contains (approximately) 21 pages of notes across 5 different documents.

Tok Essay 2014 Grade A Level 7 Student Revision

The following is a plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our TOK Outlines. This text version has had its formatting removed so pay attention to its contents alone rather than its presentation. The version you download will have its original formatting intact and so will be much prettier to look at.

"That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow." Consider knowledge issues raised by this statement in two areas of knowledge.

To what extent can knowledge progress over time and does the nature of knowledge influence its progression? For instance, across Areas of Knowledge (AOKs) like the natural sciences and the ethics knowledge may progress differently. This is partially because in each of these AOKs the definition of knowledge slightly differs. The quote by using the word "sometimes" takes into account different possibilities, yet implies that knowledge is not always discarded. To explore whether knowledge accepted today is discarded tomorrow it is important to specify what "knowledge" means in the context of specific AOKs. In the natural sciences "scientific knowledge" may be defined as information that has been found to be valid through empirical evidence and rational deduction and has not yet been disproven. The nature of knowledge may be described by its establishment: It is established through various ways of knowing (WOK). First the scientist uses sense perception to observe his natural surroundings, then using creativity and imagination he could question how a specific natural phenomenon occurs. The natural scientist then aims to find an answer to the question through inductive and deductive logical reasoning, by setting up a hypothesis and finding supporting evidence. Other natural scientists may then come to know those findings through language and replicate them to strengthen prior knowledge or research may result in opposing evidence, potentially leading to the replacement of the old theory with a new one. Thus, the nature of the natural sciences influences its progression. Knowledge in the natural sciences aims to discover permanently valid objective laws of nature. Yet, can a theory be permanently valid? For instance humankind has learned long ago how to make fire and this knowledge has remained permanently valid. However, we have used this knowledge to develop new inventions like fuel, factories, or the Bunsen burner that we use in biology class. Thus, the natural sciences aim to make valid discoveries but since research is ongoing knowledge in the natural sciences changes over time instead of being "discarded".

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It is the provisional nature of scientific knowledge that sets up the basis for the way that it progresses: previous knowledge is questioned and shaped, rather than "discarded", to form new scientific knowledge. The latest findings of natural sciences are then regarded as scientific knowledge accepted today while the older findings are one step in the process of acquiring this knowledge. For example in my science class I learned about Leucippus and Democritus, 5th century BC (Timeline of the Atomic Bomb), who were the first to develop theories on atomism, forming the foundations for knowledge developed by Newton in the 17th century and following various scientists that again developed this knowledge further (History of the Atomic Bomb). In such cases, knowledge may still be accepted as being valid, yet is perceived as limited since more extensive knowledge has been built upon it. However, this is assuming that scientists knew about the previous scientists' work. It may have been unlikely such knowledge existed when we consider scientific research in a time before communication between scientists around the world was possible. Oftentimes the buildup of knowledge is possible by enhancing WOK, as with the stethoscope that enhances auditory sense perception. From the above it can be seen that in the natural sciences knowledge accepted "today" is modified rather than discarded - even if a previous scientist found knowledge that could be falsified, it may have led later scientists closer towards a valid model. In contrast, it could be claimed that a paradigm shift, where a former valid theory was totally abandoned and replaced by a different theory, shows that knowledge in the natural sciences can be discarded. An example of an old theory being replaced by another, since contrary evidence was found, can be taken from my IB biology class where we learn about Mendel's law of independent assortment that widely changed the understanding of genetics. He proposed that alleles of genes located on different chromosomes assort independently from one another, creating genetic variety. Before Mendel, people often believed that the characteristics of parents were equally blended in the offspring. However, the paradigm shift may require some time to be accepted by the general public, as this depends on factors like perspectives, culture and beliefs of people, as well as pre-existing assumptions that had

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In Theory of Knowledge there are two assessment tasks. The essay is worth two thirds of the total marks and the presentation is worth one third of the marks. International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme students taking their exams in May 2016 will be starting to plan and write their essay on a prescribed title from around now.

This post focuses on the essay and is aimed to encourage and support students writing TOK essays. What follows is general common sense advice based on my own teaching and examining experience, but it isn’t official IB advice – this can be found in the IB TOK Subject Guide and in the IB Online Curriculum Centre (OCC) exemplar material for teachers.

1.      Choose your question wisely

IB students will submit an essay under 1,600 words on one of 6 prescribed titles which will be externally examined by the IB. The 6 titles for students taking the IB in May 2016 are available now from your TOK teacher via the IB Online Curriculum Centre website. Choose a title that plays to your strengths and draws on the concepts, ideas, Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing that you have covered during the course.

2.      Write an argument plan and a first draft

Your essay is an extended argument and it needs to demonstrate a clear and coherent line of thinking. It’s recommended that you have a thesis statement, supported by a sequence of ideas. Plan the structure of your answer. Planning and drafting is a crucial stage. When you’ve chosen your prescribed title, write a draft and submit this to your teacher. Your teacher is allowed to offer you holistic or global comments.

Perhaps start by thinking through what the Prescribed Title is asking. What are the command terms? What are the key concepts? What arguments could you develop? What would be the counterarguments and how strong are they?

3.      Read exemplar essays and know the assessment criteria

It’s important that you know what makes an excellent TOK essay. You teacher will be able to show you exemplar essays with examiner comments.  The IB publish 50 excellent TOK essays. It’s a good idea to look at these resources and to try marking one these essays against the criteria before looking at the examiner comments. When you read these you might focus on various themes: the argument structure, the use of examples, the introduction or the conclusion.  Then judge your own essay against the criteria.

4. Make the essay knowledge specific

The aim of your essay is to answer the question set out in the prescribed title. One pitfall of essay writing is to write an overly descriptive answer with lots of examples. All the titles focus on concepts to do with knowledge and knowing and the focus of your essay needs to be on a critical analysis of the question. Make sure that you develop links and connections between Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing where appropriate.

5.      Offer analysis over description

One of the features of the assessment criteria is quality of analysis. You might sharpen your quality of analysis by doing some of the following: identify assumptions behind knowledge claims or arguments, identity and evaluate arguments and counter arguments, and give serious consideration to the implications of arguments. If appropriate, make use of the knowledge framework. This is a tool for analysis for comparing two or more areas of knowledge so you can make connections in terms of 1) scope and applications, 2) key concepts, 3) methodology, 4) key historical development, and 5) links with personal knowledge.

6.      Dictionary definitions and examples

You might want to define your terms in your own words, but avoid dictionary definitions. Instead take a critical approach that reflects your own voice. ‘If by instinctive judgement we mean x, it follows that y…’ Use examples to support your analytical points and evaluate examples. It’s recommended to use a range of examples that reflect your own global perspective, IB learning experience, whether from CAS, one of your 6 IB subjects, an Internal Assessment, or your Extended Essay. It’s advisable to avoid typical or clichéd examples that offer no analysis such as flat earth or Newton’s apple.

7.      Sources footnotes and bibliography

Academic honesty is a requirement in all IB subjects. If an idea is someone else’s, acknowledge that with a reference. This isn’t a research essay but you need to cite sources correctly. Use footnotes and a bibliography using the conventional method that you used for your Extended Essay. http://www.neilstoolbox.com/bibliography-creator/

8.      Introductions and conclusions

You might look at exemplar essays to see examples of good introductions and conclusions. In your introduction you could include an engaging example, your thesis statement and you might offer some signposting to show the direction of your essay. In the conclusion offer a summary and an evaluation of your answer. Possibly end with a forward looking view.

9.      Write the final draft

Write the final draft in the light of your teachers’ global feedback. Present the final version in a conventional 12 point font such as a Times New Roman and double spaced to allow examiners to annotate your essay. You can make your essay anonymous so it only has your candidate number and school number.

10.  Complete the PPF form and upload

It’s also a requirement that you complete the paperwork – there is an essay form to fill in the TK/PPF form available to your teacher on the OCC.

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