RLS’ KIs and KQs: Developing Strength in Acronym work.


This is your go to spot for information and learning helpers related to some of the “SKILLS” of TOK…specifically, those acronyms of RLS (Real Life Situation) KIs (Knowledge Issues) and KQs (Knowledge Questions)! 

Real Life Situations

Quite Simply, RLS’ are situations from real life (duh) that are useful in illustrating philosophical or TOK content and/or analysis! 

In both the Presentation and the Essay, you need to be able to identify a RLS that will be conducive to lucidly and intelligently furthering your analysis and argumentation. Practice at choosing the “right” RLS is essential.

Some Resources: 


Knowledge Issues

These are “Issues with Knowledge” (duh). But more specifically, issues with AOKs that are studied in tok. For example, what is an issue in the AOK of art?  One may be assessment of “Quality.” So you could state that art as an area of knowledge creates the issue of quality assessment. This of course can lead to a knowledge question…”Is it possible to assess quality in art?”

From the IB: 

Knowledge issues are issues about knowledge. They can apply to any aspect of knowledge and may refer to the acquisition, production, shaping, classification, status, and acceptance or rejection of knowledge. Knowledge issues range from the extremely general (“Can a fact exist without a context?”, “What constitutes good evidence?”) to the specific (“How can we distinguish between valid and invalid deductive arguments?”, “What should the role of emotion be in the justification of ethical decisions?”). Both extremes are appropriate focuses for TOK discussions and both can and should be explored in a TOK course. However, not all knowledge issues are equally appropriate for assessment purposes.

Some Resources: 


Knowledge Questions

These are the big guys. This is where you excel or struggle as a TOK student. Can you create quality, relevant, insightful first and second order knowledge questions?!

First Order Knowledge Questions:  These are ?s about knowledge within an AOK and thus can be answered using the tools of that aok. In other words, first order knowledge questions are indeed broad, are indeed deep, are indeed philosophical, but they LIVE IN ONE AOK.

Second Order Knowledge Questions:  These are ?s about knowledge in general and are TRANS AOK. That is, they don’t live in a singular AOK. You would pose a knowledge question and then ground your analysis in a variety of AOKs (2 or more).

For example, if we go with the above Knowledge Question inspired by quality assessment in art, we could ask, “To What Extent is Quality Objective?” or “Is Quality ALWAYS subjective?”

Some Resources: