Analysis of the KQ

Analysis of the KQ

The presentation is not aimed to analyze the RLS but rather a knowledge question that was extracted from it in the context of the RLS (applying the conclusions to the main RLS).

TOK presentation is not a descriptive research project on some subject of general interest but rather the analytical dialogue between two levels (real world and the TOK world) as illustrated by the diagram below.


Source: Theory of Knowledge Guide (2015)

The waterline marks a border between two worlds: the real world and TOK world, and thus two specific vocabularies: situation-specific and TOK concepts embedded in analytical language. The student is supposed to move between the 2 worlds in the analysis, keeping it mostly below the waterline with occasionally going above it.

Development (analysis and progression) of the KQ involves:

  • using ideas and TOK concepts;
  • progressing through argumentation by addressing related knowledge issues/claims (or questions), identifying assumptions, fallacies, and biases;
  • using different perspectives: Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing might serve as perspectives as well as approaches: rational vs. empirical, emotional vs. rational,  personal vs. shared, historical vs. scientific, quantitative vs. qualitative, subjective vs. objective, ethical vs. scientific, creator vs. audience, etc. Perspectives might also be connected with different viewpoints based on:
    • Gender
    • Race
    • Nation
    • Religion
    • Philosophical theory
    • Historical era
    • Culture
    • Socio-economic status
    • Education;
  • considering implications (effects or consequences) of the conclusions drawn (for knowledge in general – see TOK concepts).

Processed with VSCO with 4 presetHowever, the different perspectives should not be detached from each other. More sophisticated presentations will use them to progress the arguments, compare and contrast different viewpoints and draw conclusions in answer to the central KQ. Exploring different perspectives involves evaluating them when it comes to:

  • the degree of empirical support,
  • quality of justifications,
  • methodological considerations,
  • application,
  • usefulness, etc.


This analysis must involve the use of examples (other RLSs) and reasoned arguments; not only personal opinions. The analytical language should be applied throughout the development.


Structure of the development:

  • To effectively analyze the KQ use 2-3 developments (3 recommended only for group presentations);
  • Each mini-development (1, 2, …) might have a following structure: claim, explanation, example, counterclaim, explanation, example, rebutal, mini-conclusion, applying back to RLS

Claim – affirmative sentence that answers the question in relation to the certain aspect

Counterclaim – introduces an exception, problem (limitation) with your claim, opposing view or theory

Examples – needs to be used for both claims and counterclaims (optionally), they can come from the shared knowledge or from your personal knowledge however need to be real-life (not hypothetical)

Other available materials on the structure of the presentation:

How to Structure a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Presentation by Tim Woods