Example essays

As part of theory of knowledge (TOK), each student chooses one essay title from six issued by International Baccalaureate®(IB). 

The titles change in each examination session. 

Upcoming and past questions include: 

  • “To what extent are areas of knowledge shaped by their past? Consider with reference to two areas of knowledge.”
  •  “'There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.' To what extent do you agree with this statement?”
  • “There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.”
  • “'The task of history is the discovering of the constant and universal principles of human nature.' To what extent are history and one other area of knowledge successful in this task?”

Further guidance on the TOK essay and exhibition can be found in the IB’s Programme Resource Centre (PRC) .

Materials in the PRC are only available to existing IB World Schools. These materials are free.

There are a number of resources on TOK in the IB Store , which are available to everyone.

Find out how to become an IB World School .

tok essay thesis example

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How To Write A ToK Essay - Updated 2023

Ace your ToK Essay with our expert tips & tricks! Get the latest and greatest techniques on "How To Write A ToK Essay" and impress the IB examiners.📝💡

How To Write A ToK Essay - Updated 2023

Table of content

Purpose of tok, assessment of tok, the game plan, execution of the gameplan, planning for tok essay, structure of tok essay, introduction, conclusions, bibliography.

How to write a TOK Essay? 

To answer that, you must familiarise yourself with what a TOK Essay is about.

Before you start reading this article,  Amanda  has some excellent TOK tips for you!

Theory of Knowledge is one of the most meta subjects that IB offers. Despite its complexity, TOK helps in providing a base for holistic learning and allows students to have a multidisciplinary experience. 

To understand TOK is to understand the essence of IB, a task that most people consider unattainable.

But not for you! 

Thank your lucky stars who made you land on Nail IB. How exactly will Nail IB help you? 

Well, nailing International Baccalaureate is something we will discuss later. 

Let's focus on cracking your TOK essay, shall we?

TOK demonstrates how students  can apply their knowledge  with  greater awareness  and  credibility .

Big words, huh? 

Now that we know that we cannot just slide through the Theory of Knowledge, let's understand how we can conquer this battle all guns blazing.

ToK essay’s primary objective is to answer the  why  behind our studies. 

It makes one aware of the real-life implications of their subjects. The students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions and appreciate the diversity of different perspectives. It helps the students find their unique perception, a prerequisite for excelling in the IB TOK essays.

Before we dive into our gameplan, let’s overview the rules of the game.

There are two assessment tasks in the TOK: an essay and a presentation . While a presentation encourages students to explore a real-life situation through the lens of TOK, an essay is written on the basis of the various questions provided by the International Baccalaureate Organisation.

  • The presentation is to assess a student’s ability to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation whereas IB TOK essay is more conceptual.
  • The essay is externally assessed by IB and must be on any one of the prescribed TOK essay titles issued by the IB for each examination session.
  • Word limit of a TOK essay is 1600 words ( excludes extended notes, footnotes, bibliography).

Now that we have unleashed the game, let’s move ahead towards the gameplan of acing both, your presentation and your essay.

One of the fundamental tasks of TOK is to examine different areas of knowledge and find out their similarities and differences.

The TOK essay requires the students to investigate two Areas of Knowledge (AOK)  and two Ways of Knowing   (WOK) . AOKs and WOKs are investigated via questions such as:

  • How do we know what we know? (WOK)
  • What counts as evidence for X? (AOK)
  • How do we judge which is the best model of Y? (WOK)
  • What does theory Z mean in the real world? (AOK + WOK)

The aforementioned are  Knowledge Questions  which help combine the Areas of Knowledge and the Ways of Knowing that they are using. This eliminates the superficial way of learning and makes an individual sensitive to the nature of the information.   Our acquisition of Knowledge can be broadly divided into Shared Knowledge and Personal Knowledge.

Shared knowledge: What WE know It is the product of more than one individual. Although individuals contribute to it, shared knowledge does not solely depend upon the contributions of a particular individual—there are possibilities for others to check and amend individual contributions and add to the body of knowledge that already exists.

Personal knowledge: What I know It is essentially dependent on the experiences of a particular individual. Also known as procedural knowledge, it is gained through experience, practice and personal involvement and is intimately bound up with the particular local circumstances of the individual such as biography, interests, values, and so on.

The best hack to ace TOK essay is to develop a habit of making connections between the construction of knowledge, its acquisition and its relevance in the real world. 

After that one needs to develop an interest in understanding the difference between diversity and cultural perspectives and personal assumptions.

One also needs to critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful lives.

Yes, this is what you signed up for. It may sound a little intimidating but once you get the hang of it you will be able to see the matrix and understand this beautiful world a little better.

Understand that to provide the best version of your writing, it will take you more than one or two drafts. First and foremost, you need to pick your essay topic diligently. Try to choose an essay topic that best interests you. The topic should also allow you to explore the Areas of Knowledge towards which you are naturally inclined. Here are a few sample questions:

a) 'Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.' To what extend do you agree with this statement?

b) With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape their personal knowledge.

c) How can we know if knowledge is produced more through 'Passive Observation' or 'Active-Experiment' within the Human and Natural-sciences under a Mathematical-Perspective?

d) "The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives". Assess the validity of this statement.

Great things take time. It took me more than a couple of weeks to finalize this TOK essay guide. It is completely okay if the first few drafts may not look pleasing or award-winning to you. You will require sharpening your perspective towards the topic each time you polish your draft. Your writing journey from a dull draft to a masterpiece will be a whole process that you will have to be patient with. Have faith in yourself and proceed stepwise.

You need to consider the opinions of others who have devoted hours of research and a lifetime of dedicated studying the topic that surrounds your writing. Unravelling the realms of your mind palace is so Sherlock but let’s not deny the fact that at times, Watson is the one whose expertise helps Sherlock through pretty difficult times. I mean even Batman needs a Robin. In support of my awesome sauce examples, the point I am trying to make is that  finding support for our claims and counterclaims through research is a good thing .

Use real-life examples to support your claims and counterclaims. These examples need to be documented researched examples like studies, experiments, articles, presentations by well-known people, etc. Examples that stem from your diploma subjects are highly encouraged, but those will need to be supported by research as well.   

It is suggested that you choose a title, stick to it, tackle it and not be afraid. Do not change your mind unless there is a good reason. Also, try choosing Areas of knowledge that you truly enjoy. You know slaying a known devil is much easier than an unknown one. Allot a TIMELINE to your essay. Start with creating an outline of your essay. This will help you to track your progress and accomplish your goals

You can use tools like  Trello  to organize your ideas and plan your TOK essay.

Areas of Knowledge (AOKs): TOK distinguishes between eight areas of knowledge. They are mathematics, the natural sciences, the human sciences, the arts, history, ethics, religious knowledge systems, and indigenous knowledge systems. It is suggested that students study and explore six of these eight.

Ways of knowing (WOKs): TOK identifies eight specific WOKs- language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition, and memory. It is suggested that studying four of these eight in-depth would be appropriate. WOKs underlie the methodology of the areas of knowledge and provide a basis for personal knowledge.

Moving ahead, let us discuss the structure of your TOK essay.

Your essay will consist of 4 broad segregations

Before breaking down further on the pillars, keep the following in mind

  • Please note what the TOK essay title is asking you. (Read it a couple of times. We highly recommend that you brainstorm ideas with your TOK coordinator)
  • Make sure you understand the command term and the question it is asking.
  • What kind of knowledge is being elicited?
  • When choosing your areas of knowledge (AoK) and ways of knowing (WoK) make sure that you are able to draw contrasts and comparisons, that is, you are able to find evidence that supports as well as challenges your claims.
  • Identify key terms in your TOK essay title. Make sure you define them. Your essay will gravitate around them. Key terms/words in your titles are your essay anchors. Your response should be built around them.
  • Your writing skills come in handy while you work on your IB TOK essay. Like any other essay make sure you have proper thesis statements and topic sentences to guide the evaluator through your work.
  • Respect the TOK essay title. Rephrasing the topic is not encouraged . Your main job is to address the title.

Introduce your topic accurately and state your thesis statement for the essay carefully.  A thesis statement is like a teaser to your entire essay wherein you define your key terms and introduce your interpretation of the question. Make sure that you do not reword the prescribed title in your thesis. Instead, it needs to, as the word says, INTRODUCE your readers to what your essay is about. A strong introduction allows the reader to deduce what knowledge question(s) you are trying to answer.

So, in a nutshell

  • Write interesting things about the given TOK essay title .
  • Define key terms
  • Narrow in on the particularly interesting aspect
  • State your thesis statement . This will be your short answer to your given title if you don't know how to write a killer thesis statement check out this blog from SparkNotes .
  • State your Roadmap. This will help the readers in understanding the direction of your essay.

The body can be mainly divided into 3 segments.

Body (1st Segment)

  • AoK Claim:  Here you investigate your first Area of Knowledge and draw parallels between your AoK and the question. This is done by stating your claim. Claims can be general in nature and need not reference a particular area of knowledge. They help you shape your essay and investigate the question further. 
  • Evidence: Example of a real-life situation, describe thoroughly and accurately, which supports your stated claim. (AoK)
  • Counter-Claim: State your counter-claim: like claims, those can be general and need not reference a particular area of knowledge. Counterclaim helps you show the other side the coin and gives your essay a holistic nature. 
  • Evidence: A referenced real-life situation/example. Describe thoroughly and accurately, show how this supports your counterclaim (AoK ).
  • Don’t forget to weave in your WoKs:  You need to take into account the source of your knowledge. Here you can also investigate if your nature of acquiring the knowledge has, in any way, affected it. It is good practice to question if your knowledge would be different had it been acquired through a different source/method
  • Mini-conclusion: Here you analyze your examples in reference to your claims and counterclaims. You must connect to your thesis statement and the prescribed title. How does your proposed argument, in this particular part of the body, connect to the prescribed title and the knowledge questions you are trying to answer?

Body (2): Follow the above process for your second AOK.

  • Use this part of your essay to compare and contrast your varying AoKs. You need to connect them to your thesis and your prescribed title clearly showing how your arguments respond to the PT.

Your conclusion section will make your essay come together. It is the glue that will make your essay stick together. Herein, you need to

  • Reiterate your thesis (initial response).
  • Use your mini conclusions to write a final conclusion.
  • Tell the reader what the significance is for knowing what we know in this particular PT.
  • Discuss implications as well.
  • Offer another perspective, how will the perspective of a different person affect the claims/counterclaims you make in the essay?
  • Don’t forget to make the end strong.

We recommend all the ib students use the  citation machine  (It's FREE) to organize or generate a bibliography for your TOK essay. Please go through this extensive guide provided by the IB before you start working on your citations.

If you are still struggling heaps with your TOK essay feel free to subscribe to our tok notes bundles or get access to more than 500+ IBDP notes and past papers here .

Nail IB is your virtual companion that helps you hustle through your diploma and provide you with the right resources at the right time. To know more about acing IB, click  here .

I hope this article will become the foundation for figuring out how to write a TOK Essay.

Remember to have faith in yourself.

I hope you NAIL your TOK essay!

Quoting the great Napolean Hill

"Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

IB Resources you will love!

Nan + free ib flashcards, -1 + free ia samples, nan + ib videos by experts, -1 + ib sample practice questions, ib resources for nan + subjects.

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How to Write a TOK Essay

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. This article has been viewed 250,777 times.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Theory of Knowledge essay is a 1200–1600 word essay on prescribed topics or titles created by the IB. As the name suggests, your Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay should focus on knowledge issues (what is knowledge? why and how do we know things?) and link to other areas of knowledge as well. About two-thirds of your final TOK grade is determined by your score on your TOK essay.

Choosing Your Essay Title

Step 1 Understand the structure of a TOK essay.

  • Mathematics
  • Natural sciences
  • Human sciences
  • Religious knowledge systems
  • Indigenous knowledge systems

Step 2 Ask your teacher for the prescribed titles for the TOK essay.

  • “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge.”
  • “When mathematicians, historians and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain’ in the same way?”

Step 3 Select a title carefully.

  • Do you understand the keywords or concepts in the title? You may not be clear on what a title is asking you to do. Go through the title and highlight any words or concepts you are unsure about. Some titles will use keywords from TOK courses, such as “belief”, “knowledge” “truth”. You may want to check back on your class notes and consider what these words mean in the context of the title.
  • Do you have a strong interest in the title? The title should play to your interests and you should feel you can write about the title with care and diligence. For example, if you are skilled or interested in the arts, you may choose a title like “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge” and pick the arts as one area of knowledge. Keep in mind, however, you should balance your passion for the title with an objective perspective.
  • Do you have something relevant to say about the title? It’s important that you relate the question to the ideas you have covered in your TOK course, as well as the topics you have studied in class, and your own personal experiences or thoughts. The essay should have an objective tone, but you will still need to inject it with personality, passion, and clarity.

Step 4 Put the title in your own words.

  • For example, in a title like: “When mathematicians, historians and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain’ in the same way?”, you may rephrase it into two sentences. The title refers to three AOK: mathematics, history, and science. It is then asking you to compare and contrast the way these three AOK use explanation as a way of knowing about a topic or issue.
  • By breaking down the title into short sentences, you now have a clearer picture of what the title is asking you to do and how you might go about answering the title sufficiently.

Structuring the Essay

Step 1 Note the assessment criteria.

  • Understanding the knowledge issues: your essay must be focused on the knowledge issues, link and compare at least two knowledge issues, show relevancy between at least two knowledge issues, and demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the knowledge issues.
  • Knower’s perspective: your essay must demonstrate independent thinking, self-awareness, at least two different perspectives, and several supporting examples.
  • Analysis of the knowledge issues: your essay must show insight and depth, justify your main points, present arguments and counter-arguments, and explore any assumptions and implications of your topic.
  • Organization of ideas: your essay must be well structured, explain key concepts, be factually accurate, and cite references where applicable.

Step 2 Read the essay instructions.

  • You may also be asked “to what extent” or “in what way” a statement is justified. You will then need to present for and against arguments for the statement.
  • If you are asked a direct question, your essay should address to what extent or in what ways you are for and against an argument or position.

Step 3 Brainstorm ideas around the essay title.

  • Start by doing a general, open brainstorm. Write down everything that comes to mind when you think about the title without passing judgement on any of the ideas, or stopping to read over your brainstorm.
  • After five minutes of brainstorming, read over your notes. Identify ideas that relate to each other or that contradict each other. If you are evaluating or assessing a claim in the essay title, create a for column and an against column. Group your brainstorming ideas into either column. Create a third column for grey area ideas, or ambiguities, and place ideas in that column.
  • Note any examples of the ideas that you wrote down. For example, you may be addressing a title like: “When mathematicians, historians and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain’ in the same way?” You may create a brainstorm for each area of knowledge (mathematics, history, science) in relation to the idea of explaining something. You may then use examples of “something” that can be explained in each AOK: a mathematical equation, a historical moment in a battle or a trial, and a scientific theory.

Step 4 Identify the knowledge issue in the essay title.

  • You should also identify the areas of knowledge you will be discussing in your essay. For example, for a title like: “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge” you may choose two AOK: the arts and science. You may then compare and contrast the function of “reason” and “imagination” in the arts and in science.

Step 5 Create an outline.

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction. You would provide an explanation and interpretation of the title and identify the key terms in the title. You would also state your thesis and explain or identify a knowledge issue related to the title.
  • Paragraph 2: First Area of Knowledge. For example, the arts. Discuss how the arts answers the title and provide supporting examples. You should also note any counter-arguments against the title or any limitations of the supporting examples.
  • Paragraph 3: Second Area of Knowledge. For example, mathematics. Note how mathematics answers the title and provide supporting examples. You should also note any counter-arguments against the title or any limitations of the supporting examples.
  • Paragraph 4: Third Area of Knowledge (if applicable)
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion. Summarize your main ideas and restate your thesis. Conclude by answering the title fully, taking into account the counter arguments and limitations of the areas of knowledge.
  • You may also decide to structure your essay based on a main argument and a main counter-argument. Your outline may contain four paragraphs total:
  • Paragraph 1: Introduction and explanation of the knowledge issue.
  • Paragraph 2: Main argument, with justification and one to two supporting examples.
  • Paragraph 3: Main counter-argument, with justification and one to two supporting examples.
  • Paragraph 4: Conclusion.

Step 6 Create a thesis...

  • Some students find it useful to draft their thesis statement once they have finished writing a first draft of the essay. By this point, you will likely have a better sense of the main arguments in the essay and be able to write a clear, concise thesis statement.
  • For example, you may need to create a thesis statement for this title: “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge.” You have chosen two AOK: the arts and mathematics. Consider how reason and imagination function in the arts and in mathematics, as well as the different ways they function in each AOK. Your thesis may be: “Through reason and imagination play an important role in both mathematics and the arts, the imaginative thoughts of mathematicians must be provable, while the imaginative thoughts of artists need only be reasonable.” [5] X Research source

Writing the Essay

Step 1 Use your essay outline as a guide.

  • You may want to also refer back to your brainstorming notes to identify the supporting examples for your two areas of knowledge, or your main argument and your main counter-argument.

Step 2 Avoid using dictionary definitions in your essay.

  • For example, you may be discussing the use of reason and imagination in the arts. Rather than discuss a familiar artist, like Picasso, or a familiar example of imaginative thinking, like the Sistine Chapel, use supporting examples that feel original and insightful. Though the essay should be objective in nature, it should also feel reflective and personal. Using a supporting example that you feel passionate about, like Pollack’s kinetic movement paintings, or Rodin’s sculptures, will show you have taken the time to explore unique examples.

Step 3 Cite all external sources using MLA style citations.

  • Reference surprising or little known claims, but not well known facts or commonly held opinions. For example: “The sun is the center of the solar system” is a well known fact you will not need to cite. But “Rodin was a traditionally-schooled artist and had a craftsman-like approach to his work” will require a citation as it is maybe a little known fact.
  • Reference any sentences or sections where you are closely following someone else’s train of thought or argument, even in your own words.
  • Reference exact quotes, and use quotation marks.
  • Be consistent with your citations and the way you reference certain sources.

Step 4 Read your essay out loud.

  • As you read your essay out loud, make sure there are no vague or abstract sentences or terms. You want to ensure you use your 1600 word count in a clear and concise way. Every word will count in your TOK essay.
  • Confirm you have addressed knowledge issues in your essay. Your essay should answer the question “How do you know?” and assess the strengths and weaknesses of knowledge claims in at least two areas of knowledge. You should also use arguments and counter-arguments to support your thesis statement, as well as strong supporting examples.

Step 5 Correct any spelling or grammatical errors.

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  • ↑ http://www.dirk-solies.de/TOK/how%20to%20write%20a%20ToK%20essay%20cambridge.pdf
  • ↑ http://www.toktalk.net/2009/11/20/starting-and-planning-the-tok-essay/

About This Article

Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA

To write a TOK essay that compares several areas of knowledge, start with an introductory paragraph that explains your title and states your thesis. Then, write 2-3 main body paragraphs, discussing in each a single area of knowledge and how it relates to your title. Try to provide supporting examples in each case, and address any potential counter-arguments, as well. Finally, end your essay with a conclusion that summarizes your main ideas and restates your thesis. When you’re done, check to be sure that you’re within the 1,200-1,600 word limit for the essay. To learn from our English reviewer how to choose an essay title and create your thesis statement, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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tok essay thesis example

Guide to the TOK Essay

What’s covered:.

  • What is Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?
  • What is the Theory of Knowledge Essay?

How is the Theory of Knowledge Essay Scored?

How to structure your theory of knowledge essay.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB/IBDP) is a rigorous and rewarding internationally based educational program that offers courses in numerous studies, from humanities to chemistry. Students take part in a two-year curriculum that includes external examinations, internal assessments, research papers and community service hours. Essentially, students will have to do a bit of everything, especially with IB’s core, which is CAS, TOK, and the extended essay (EE). Understanding how TOK, IB’s flagship class, is assessed with its essay is important to success in the course overall. 

What is Theory Of Knowledge (TOK)?

Theory of Knowledge is IB’s way of introducing a more intuitive way of thinking into classrooms. TOK is at its surface as simple as it sounds: you essentially learn the “what” and “why” of how we learn and understand knowledge. In order to assess students of their skills in TOK, IB uses an essay and a presentation. The essay makes up 67% of your total TOK score, making it the most important task to focus on for getting a high score. 

What is the Theory Of Knowledge Essay?

The TOK essay is a 1600 word essay written about topics usually given to students from their teachers from a list of numerous options. It is an essay that promotes arguments and counterarguments for the topic at hand. Understanding your ways of knowing (WOKs) and areas of knowledge (AOKs) is extremely crucial before you even start choosing a topic to write on, as your essay will revolve around and structure itself based on these two concepts. Being able to demonstrate higher-level thinking and using examples to solidify the points you make in your essay is also important. Additionally, you’ll need to reference every source of information that you use, since that is something examiners look for as well.

As said earlier, 67% of your grade is from the essay, and your overall TOK score receives a letter grade using a calculated score out of thirty. Your essay score and presentation score are each out of ten. The grades for your TOK presentation and essay are determined by sending material to the board of IB, from which they designate a grader/examiner to read your essay and grade based on a rubric that determines the level of knowledge you exhibit in your writing.

The following formula should better explain how to find your TOK grade. 

(presentation score) + (essay score * 2) = overall score out of 30

The grade boundaries out of 30 that determine your letter grade can vary each year so checking in with your school for the most recent ones is the best course of action, but an example set would be like this:

Once you have a letter grade for IB, your extended essay, which is another part of the core, is also included into a larger grading schema to calculate your core score, which is three additional points required to complete and earn the diploma. The following table details this grade further:

Doing well in the core is important to passing IB and getting three points out of the total 45 attainable points. 

There’s a trick that most IB students use in writing the TOK essay, and it boils down to understanding four key components of learning:

  • Content : Understanding knowledge issues
  • Clarity : Structuring your essay in a legible and clear/easy to read manner
  • Creativity : Using your personal ways of thinking and applications of knowledge specific to your understanding of the knowledge issue
  • Critical Thinking : Using a counter argument for every argument you have to analyze your own claims constantly 

Dividing your actual essay into three main chunks helps, starting with an introduction. Your introduction should be where you state your knowledge question, the central point of your essay, and you should make use of jargon specific to the concept. As the basis of your essay, the introduction should be where you form claims and counterclaims that either support or challenge the knowledge question through heavy analysis and evaluation. 

The body of the essay follows the introduction, and it is where most of the conceptual analysis of your knowledge question takes place. Every argument and its counterargument should have a dedicated paragraph of its own, and make sure to not jump back and forth too much throughout the essay. to avoid creating messy transitions for the reader and potentially harming your score. Understanding the essay from the reader’s point of view is important, as it will help you better understand how to structure the body of your essay.

A conclusion in the TOK essay is mainly for finding closure among the numerous arguments that have been taking place thus far in the essay. Make sure to summarize but not repeat previous information entirely to refresh the reader. A conclusion should essentially loop back to the beginning of the essay, the knowledge question. The knowledge question’s answer should be the conclusion and the stopping point of the essay, and by now the answer you provide should be backed by paragraphs of supporting claims and counterclaims. If done right, concluding the essay can be how you earn most of your points. 

Start Early

Starting early is an obvious and effective advantage to students. Aside from TOK, let alone the presentation, IB has substantial work that requires focus and allocated time dedicated to it, such as external examinations and the extended essay. These tasks are equally as important as the TOK essay, so starting your outlining, drafting or even just planning early will set you up for success.

Send Your Drafts to Your Teacher

Your TOK teacher is a great resource for drafting essays and making edits to perfect your final product. Making use of time outside of the classroom to catch your teacher for a quick review of your essay could be a bigger advantage than you realize. Making use of an outside perspective is essential to forming a great essay. 

While your final IB grade isn’t as important as you’d think regarding college admissions, understanding how to pass TOK and using the lifelong practices you’ll learn in the class is even more important. TOK creates students who think outside conventional methods, making them excellent candidates in the eyes of college admissions offices. Taking TOK and showing proof of understanding it as well as capability of academic rigor is what colleges are looking for. For more information on how your chances of college admissions might look, use CollegeVine’s admissions calculator !

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

tok essay thesis example

How To Write a ToK Essay IBDP – Step-By-Step Guide

  • Created on October 3, 2019
  • Blog , IBDP , Learning Tips

Let’s learn how to write a ToK Essay with Tutopiya. The IB ToK Essay contributes to the overall score of a student’s IB Diploma. The award of points for the IB ToK Essay is in conjunction with the extended essay. A maximum of three points is awarded according to a student’s combined performance in both the TOK and Extended Essay. 

Tutopiya will help and guide our IB Diploma students on the following:

  • How to Start a ToK Essay
  • Cover the ToK Essay Structure
  • How to Write a ToK Essay Conclusion
  • Analysis of a ToK Essay Example 

Choosing Your Essay Title 

Before you can dive into structuring or writing your essay, you will need to spend time to decide on a topic you wish to write on. For the IB ToK Essay, you are required to compare and contrast different ways of knowing through perception, language, reason, emotion with different areas of knowledge (AOK). 

1 – Selecting your prescribed title and knowledge question

Before you hastily decide on a title you wish to write, take some time to read each title carefully on the list and brainstorm ideas. 

Tip #1: Brainstorming

Get some initial ideas you have of each and every title/ question down on paper. Ask yourself some simple questions when brainstorming for each title. 

Am I confident to write an essay about this? Is the question asking what I am thinking? Do I understand the keywords or concepts in the title?

You may not be clear on what the title is asking you to do. Go through the title and highlight any keywords and concepts you are unsure about or may have missed out. 

Do you have a strong interest in the title? We recommend that you should at least be interested since you will be spending time and effort on researching this topic, pick something you are willing to research more about!

Can you relate anything to the title? Though the IB Tok Essay should be as objective as possible, you can always inject the essay with personality and character.

You can always do so by adding in ideas or topics you have learned or studied in class or even personal experiences. 

Tip #2: Understanding the question in your own words

The titles of these essay questions can sometimes be long and difficult to grasp when you first read them so before you write the IB ToK Essay, consider paraphrasing the question in your own words.

You may struggle to understand the keywords and concepts in the title, you may even be unsure about the perspective, comparison and contrast of the title. 

To help our IB students, we recommend breaking down the question/ title by first, understanding the keywords in the title. Then, put the title together and understand what they are asking. 

This way, you will be able to understand the title more in-depth than before and able to answer the title sufficiently. 

Structuring your Essay

1 – knowing the assessment criteria .

Overall Assessment 

2 – Theory of Knowledge Essay 

The rubrics require students to be able to understand the knowledge questions and their quality of analysis of knowledge questions. View the TOK Essay Mark Scheme here .

You will have to choose two Areas of Knowledge (AOK) to explore.

There are 8 different Areas of Knowledge are as follows:

  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Humane Sciences
  • Religious knowledge systems 
  • Indigenous knowledge systems 

You can also use Ways of Knowledge (WOK) in your essay and the are as follows:

  • Sense Perception
  • Reason 
  • Imagination

Analysis of a Sample Essay 

Question: “Doubt is the key to knowledge (Persian Proverb). To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?

Important Keywords in the Title 

“To what extent” 

When keywords like this appear, note that you need to present 2 different perspectives to the question, a for and against argument in your essay. 

Paragraph 1: Introduction 

You would provide an explanation and interpretation of the title and identify the key terms in the title. You would also need to state your thesis and explain or identify the areas of knowledge you will be exploring in your essay.

1 – Start the essay by saying something relatable or interesting

By doing that, you can capture the reader’s attention and make them want to read more by evoking a sense of curiosity to find out more about your essay. 

2 – Your Thesis/ Stand

You can also state your thesis (that is different from mainstream ideas – to capture the reader’s attention). You can make the decision to be a for or against stand in your essay. If you decided 

In your own words , give an interpretation of the title and show that you are able to identify the key terms of the question.

“The problem with doubt as the key to knowledge is that doubt isn’t a way of knowing. Doubt is an emotion we feel that motivates us to seek knowledge.” 

3 – Outline of the paragraph

Give the readers an idea of what you will be going through in your body paragraphs , a sentence that gives the readers a preview. Let the readers know which AOKs you will be exploring, making it easier for the examiner to know what to look for. 

“However this motivation can manifest itself differently in contrasting areas of knowledge like Mathematics and Religion.” 

Your introduction should not be too long, use around 150 to 200 words for your first paragraph would be sufficient. 

Paragraph 2: First Area of Knowledge. 

1 – begin your paragraph with a claim or topic sentence.

This helps you to outline your argument about the title. 

“Mathematics is an area of knowledge that is only concerned with reason.” 

2 – Explain and Elaborate

Now, give explain and elaborate on your topic sentence/ claim. 

“In a right-angled triangle a²+b²=c² and that’s it. There are no alternative answers or personal interpretations. An answer to a mathematical problem is either right or wrong. This is because the main way of knowing in math is reason and evidence is required for a mathematical statement to be true or false.” 

3 – Give an example with an explanation

This helps you to further elaborate and explore your topic sentence or claim.

The example you give should be personal, specific, precise and real.

This way you can make your claim believable and relatable in some sense. This also helps to evoke a sense of authenticity in your essay. 

“When we first learned about negative numbers in math class it made no sense to me. How could a bigger number have a lower value than a smaller one? It was illogical and it contradicted all the math I had learned before that day….. Either the previous mathematical information was wrong or the new information about negative numbers were wrong. But he explained the concept of a number line with a central point 0 and that they were both right.”

4 – Linking back

Remember to link back to your claim and the question after you are done exploring this example. 

“My doubt led to understanding and was the key to my knowledge.”

Paragraph 3: Counter

1 – state your counterclaim.

This paragraph would focus on counterclaim . You are supposed to discuss 2 different perspectives to your claim, a for and against. You are to argue against your claim above this paragraph.

“On the other hand, doubt in mathematics can be detrimental to education.”

2 – Give an Example and Explanation

Add in an example and explanation to support your counterclaim. 

“For example, after I do a question from the International Baccalaureate mathematics textbook I always look at the back in order to check if my answers are correct because it has answers in the back. If I do not have the book and I am in class then I ask my mathematics teacher for the correct answer. I do this when I am uncertain of my answer to a question and my doubt allows me to gain knowledge i.e. whether my answer is wrong or right. My doubt also helps me to assess how much of the mathematical concept I have understood by marking myself. However, this can be detrimental to progress because I started to become dependent on the answers at the back of the book or my mathematics teacher. Every time I do a question I feel like I have to verify my answer with an authoritative source which I have now come to understand leaves no room for exploration or the development of my own methods.”

3 – Linking back

Link back to your prescribed title and your claim of this paragraph. 

“My doubt caused a loss of confidence in my mathematical abilities and dependence on authoritative sources.”

Now, follow this format and carry on writing for the next two body paragraphs, exploring on another Area of Knowledge, in this case, this student will have to write one more AOK on Religion and a counterclaim for it. 

Aim to write a maximum of 600 words for each Area of Knowledge (Paragraph 2 and 3, Paragraph 4 and 5). 

Paragraph 4: Second Area of Knowledge

  • Topic Sentence
  • Example + Explanation 

Paragraph 5: Counterclaim 

  • Topic Sentence (Counterclaim)
  • Example + Explanation
  • Link to prescribed title and your initial claim of this Area of Knowledge 

Finally, write your ToK Essay conclusion in one paragraph totalling 200 to 250 words .

Paragraph 6: Your conclusion

Explain the different insights you have gained or have come out of this essay. 

“As illustrated by the example of dependence on authoritative sources in mathematics doubt can be detrimental and cause a loss of confidence. Similarly, doubting conjectures has also proven to be unfruitful. However, within mathematics individual doubt can lead to the acquisition of knowledge.” 

Implications and significance

Tell the readers why it is important to know that and how does it matter that they understand this when you write your IB ToK Essay.

Perspectives and Extension

If you can, try to input a very different perspective on your conclusion. Perhaps recognizing a different way of approaching the question, which could have resulted in different insights. 

You can mention the limitations of your essay saying there are one or two unresolved questions that this essay has revealed. It’s about showing the readers that the conversation is not over yet. And that, there is more to the question and more rooms that you can explore. 

“Furthermore, in areas like religion where we do not yet have the tools to prove it one way or the other simply doubting something by itself is a step towards acquiring knowledge because by suggesting that certain view is not absolute it makes room for new knowledge.”

A Quick Tip for writing a ToK Essay

Tip: try not to use dictionary definitions in your essay.

You want to show the examiners that you are writing a reflective essay, not a textbook definition heavy essay. Don’t rely too much on dictionary definitions to prove your argument or support a counterclaim. This will demonstrate that you did not engage with the topic and bypassed complexities around the topic. 

Instead of using standard answers or cliche examples, you can try to use your own personal experiences to make it original and insightful for your readers. Though the essay should be objective, your essay should still have a personality and character. 

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Tutopiya is a 1-1 Live Online Tutoring for all students aged 8 to 18 years old. Tutopiya offers the IB Diploma Program curriculum to all students, visit our IB curriculum page to find out more about the subjects we teach here. We also have a blog full of useful IB resources for our students, why not read another sample essay for IB TOK ?

Interested to try our online learning with our expert IB tutors? We provide FREE 60 minutes trial lesson to all new students. You can sign up or simply fill up a trial form application here to begin learning with Tutopiya! Come learn how to write a ToK essay with Tutopiya today!

I am currently a full-time student studying at a local university in Singapore while freelancing as a writer. I enjoy writing and sharing useful education-related tips with my fellow studying peers. During my leisure time, I enjoy doing creative arts and volunteering work. I am passionate about sharing my experience as a student! ☺

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IB TOK Essay Structure in Detail

Theory of Knowledge is an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on understanding the different ways of knowing and how our knowledge is acquired, developed and used. It involves exploring the connections between different disciplines, such as the sciences, humanities, mathematics, and the arts, and recognizing the complexities of real-world problems and issues. Through TOK, students are able to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them, as well as develop their critical thinking skills.

TOK helps people understand the links between different disciplines, allowing them to see a broader perspective on the world. By equipping students with the tools to think critically, TOK prepares them for meaningful dialogue about complex issues. Additionally, it serves as a valuable way for students to assess and evaluate their own knowledge and beliefs, as well as question and challenge the knowledge of others. In essence, TOK encourages exploration of the different ways of knowing and understanding the world.

For teachers, understanding the importance of TOK can help to create more effective learning environments. By introducing and discussing different theories and perspectives, teachers can provoke deeper exploration and thought, which can help to ground students’ understanding and open up new sources of knowledge. Moreover, introducing TOK in the classroom can develop students’ ability to think critically, allowing them to form logical arguments and see the connection between different areas of knowledge.

To sum up, Theory of Knowledge is an interdisciplinary field of study that encourages exploration of the different ways of knowing and understanding the world. It provides students with the skills to think critically and examine the complexities of real-world issues. Additionally, it is a useful tool for teachers to help develop students’ abilities to think critically and explore different perspectives. Now, let’s take a closer look at the TOK essay structure.

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IB TOK Essay Structure in Detail

Outline of the TOK Essay Structure

The International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essay is a 750 to 1600 word requirement on the student’s knowledge of the world, and how they analyze and evaluate it. The TOK essay structure is designed to help students express their ideas in an organized, concise and effective way.

The TOK essay has a distinct structure that should be followed throughout the paper. The basic structure includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each of these parts should be a separate section within the outline and should include specific points.

The introduction should clearly define the topic and provide an overview of the essay’s purpose. It should also introduce the three Are of Knowledge (AOKs) that are relevant to this essay and describe how they will be connected in the essay.

Following the introduction, each body paragraph should contain an argument, evidence to support it and then a conclusion that ties back to the main argument. Body paragraphs should cover each AOK mentioned in the introduction, with the arguments relating to each AOK. In addition, body paragraphs should state how each AOK is related to each other.

Finally, the conclusion should summarize all of the arguments made in the body of the essay and suggest ways to further explore the topics presented. This should be done with a focus on how these areas of knowledge intersect to create a more holistic understanding of the world.

By following this structure, students can ensure that their TOK essay is well organized and effectively communicates their ideas. Additionally, it will help students stay on track with the essay’s requirements and ensure that their essay meets the grading criteria.

Overview of the Grading Criteria for TOK Essays

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay is one of the most important components in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, and it carries a significant chunk of the overall score. Writing a compelling TOK essay requires much more than simply understanding the topics and reading about them. If you’re hoping to get an excellent grade, it’s crucial to understand how your work will be assessed.

Knowledge Questions and their Relevance

The key part of any TOK essay is the knowledge questions – these need to be answered directly with a clear focus and relevance to the question. A well-structured essay will address the question from various points of view and as far as possible. It should also provide appropriate examples and evidence for your points, any counterclaims or alternative viewpoints and your own knowledge experiences.

Organization and Structure

The essay should be logically organized and structured with clearly defined sections. Every section needs to have a purpose and its own independent set of arguments. It should also include citations and sources where appropriate, as well as personal knowledge experiences. The overall essay should be written in an academic style, consistent with the rest of the TOK curriculum.

Reasoning and Argumentation

Make sure you use complex reasoning to develop a strong argument that supports your main point in the essay. To do this effectively, you’ll need to reference other sources, research documents and your own personal experiences. Your essay should also discuss the validity and reliability of the sources used, and whether they are relevant to the particular knowledge issue being discussed.

Grammar and Language

Finally, the essay should be written using a formal language, grammar and punctuation. When writing the essay, it’s important to keep in mind that TOK is designed to be studied from an international perspective. Grammatical accuracy, clarity and consistency in language will help to make sure your points come across effectively, and allow you to get the best score.

Understanding the grading criteria that are used to assess TOK essays is crucial if you want to earn a high grade. Make sure you pay close attention to each of the criteria discussed here and ensure your essay covers them all. This will help you get the most out of your TOK essay and ensure you reach the grade you deserve.

Step-by-step Guide to Writing a TOK Essay

Writing a Theory of Knowledge essay can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By breaking the essay writing process down into small, manageable steps, you can make it easier and less stressful. This step-by-step guide shows how to use the Areas of Knowledge (AOKs) to write an effective TOK essay.

Step One: Brainstorm

The best way to start your TOK essay is to brainstorm ideas. Take some time to think about your experiences and create a list of potential topics that could be developed into an essay. Don’t worry if the ideas don’t relate directly to the question – this is just for brainstorming purposes.

Step Two: Research

Once you have an idea of what kind of essay you are going to write, it is time to do some research. Look into the different AOKs and try to pinpoint which ones are relevant to your topic. This should give you a basic knowledge of the topic and the various perspectives that need to be considered in the essay.

Step Three: Outline

Now that you have researched the topic, it is time to create an outline. Make sure to include the main points you want to cover in the essay, as well as any counterarguments that may be presented. Also, include any evidence or examples that will support your argument. The outline should be as detailed as possible to ensure that you stay on track when writing the essay.

Step Four: Writing

Now that you have completed your research and created an outline, it’s time to start writing. Remember to remain focused on your main argument and use evidence from your research to support your claims. Be sure to explain how each AOK applies to the essay, and how they interact with each other. Consider how the different perspectives can be combined to form a complex argument.

Step Five: Proofreading and Editing

Once you have completed the essay, it is important to proofread and edit. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes, and make sure your argument is well structured and logically consistent. Also, make sure to address any counterarguments that you outlined in the essay. Finally, consider adding any new information or ideas that you discovered during the writing process.

By following these steps and using the AOKs as a guide, you can be sure to craft a high-quality TOK essay that meets the assessment criteria. With the right amount of effort and dedication, you can succeed in writing an effective TOK essay.

Using Personal Knowledge Experiences in TOK Essays

The International Baccalaureate or IB TOK essay is an important component of the student’s diploma. When selecting a TOK essay topic and writing a response, it is essential to include personal knowledge experiences.

A student’s individual experiences are just as important as the facts and theories presented in an essay. Personal knowledge experiences help to bring life to the paper and make it stand out from the rest. For example, if you are writing about the concept of truth and objectivity, your personal experience may help to provide insight into how different perspectives could be interpreted.

When using personal knowledge experiences in your TOK essay , it is important to consider how these experiences could contribute positively to your argument. Ask yourself questions like ‘how has this experience informed my viewpoint?’. By reflecting on your experiences, you can demonstrate your understanding of the TOK essay question and explain why your view is important.

In addition to reflecting on relevant prior experiences, you should also think about any current research or experiences you can draw upon. If there is an opportunity to conduct interviews or visit a local museum, these activities can be used to support your argument.

It is important to remember that the personal knowledge experiences you choose should not take away from the overall structure of the paper. These experiences should be used to reinforce the points you have made and to supplement your argument. Make sure to check your essay for any grammatical errors or typos and ensure that your points are backed up by logical reasoning.

Ultimately, using personal knowledge experiences in your TOK essay can help to differentiate it from other papers. It is a great way to demonstrate your understanding of the subject and your ability to present evidence to support your views.

Tips on Thinking Critically for TOK Essays

Writing a successful Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay requires the ability to think critically and develop strong arguments. Critical thinking can be difficult and complex, so here are some tips to help:

  • Gather evidence: Any successful argument needs evidence and facts to back it up. Research your topic thoroughly and make sure you have solid evidence to support your argument.
  • Analyze evidence: Consider the source of the evidence and evaluate it objectively. Does this information support or contradict your argument?
  • Be creative: Think outside the box when constructing your argument. Analyze different perspectives and viewpoints to gain a deeper understanding of your topic.
  • Think logically: Once you have gathered all your evidence, it’s time to build an argument. Structure your argument in a logical way, leading from one point to another.
  • Question assumptions: It is important to be open-minded and question any assumptions you may have about the topic. Reflect and challenge ideas to create an argument with diverse points of view.
  • Anticipate counterclaims: Not all readers will agree with your argument, so be prepared to address objections or counterarguments. Showing how you thoughtfully considered the other perspective demonstrates critical thinking skills.

By following these tips, you will be able to submit a high quality TOK essay with a carefully crafted argument. Remember that clear and logical thinking is essential for a successful essay.

Creating a TOK Essay Outline

Creating an outline for a Theory of Knowledge essay can be challenging, but it will help you make sure your essay is structured clearly and logically. An outline allows you to break down your essay into sections that are easy to understand and follow. This helps to ensure that your essay takes a clear path from the introduction to the conclusion.

When creating your TOK essay outline, there are a few key steps you should take to ensure you are producing an effective outline. The first step is to brainstorm what topics and ideas you want to include in your essay. Once you have identified the topics you want to include in your essay, it is important to determine how they fit together and how you want to present them. This helps you to come up with a basic structure for your essay.

Once you have a structure in place, you should move on to developing more specific subtopics. These topics will form the basis of the main body of your essay, and help you to further develop each point you’re making. This is a crucial step in creating a TOK essay outline, as it helps to ensure that all of your ideas are clearly expressed and logically organized.

The final step in creating your TOK essay outline is to develop an effective thesis statement. This statement will serve as the main focus of your essay, and should encapsulate the main point that you are trying to make. Once you have developed a thesis statement, you will be able to start putting together the outline of your essay in a logical and organized manner.

Creating a TOK essay outline is a great way to ensure your essay is well-structured and logically organized. Following the steps outlined above will help you create an effective outline that ensures your essay is organized in a clear, logical manner.

Using Language Effectively to Support Claims in a TOK Essay

Using language effectively is an important part of crafting a quality Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay. To ensure that your essays are thought-provoking and well-structured, you should use language to support claims and strengthen arguments.

Recapping Your Key Ideas

When writing a TOK essay, it is important to restate your key points throughout the text. This helps to remind the reader of the main argument and highlights the evidence used to support it. Using simple language to effectively explain the idea again ensures that your ideas are not lost within the essay.

Using Strong Vocabulary

To make sure that your essay stands out, it’s a good idea to use strong vocabulary and varied sentence structures. This can help to emphasize a point and add detail to your essay. However, it is important to be aware of using too much “big” words; using language that is too complex can confuse your reader and obscure the point you are trying to make.

Making Connections

Connecting ideas together is another key element when writing an effective TOK essay. Using language to make connections between concepts, personal knowledge experiences and evidence can help show how each point supports the overall argument.

Making Assumptions Explicit

It is important to remember that the reader may not necessarily be familiar with the same knowledge as you. Making assumptions explicit means that you explain the source of your idea or opinion and why you believe it is valid. This also allows you to explore different perspectives on the topic.

Summarizing Your Argument

In conclusion, you should use language effectively in your TOK essay to ensure that your arguments are clear and concise. Repeating the main points, using strong vocabulary and connecting ideas together will make your argument more compelling. Additionally, making assumptions explicit and summarizing your argument at the end of the essay will help the reader understand and appreciate your unique viewpoint on the topic.

Introduction to TOK Essay Assessment Criteria

Writing a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay can be a challenging task for students. It requires careful thought, research, and organization – not only of the facts and arguments but also of the assessment criteria.

In TOK essays, students are assessed on their ability to think analytically and critically. The International Baccalaureate (IB) has developed a set of criteria that are used to evaluate each TOK essay. It’s important for students to have a good understanding of each of these criteria so they know what to focus on when writing their essay.

The Criteria

The TOK essay assessment criteria are split into two categories: C & P (communicate and present) and A & R (argument and reason).

  • Communication and Presentation (C&P): This criterion evaluates a student’s ability to communicate their ideas effectively and demonstrate a clear understanding of the topic. Points awarded for this criteria are based on how well the essay is structured, use of evidence, clarity of language, and strength of argument.
  • Argument and Reasoning (A&R): This criterion assesses a student’s ability to apply logic and rational thinking to their essay. Points awarded for this criterion depend on the student’s capacity to use evidence to support their argument, make well-thought-out conclusions, and reference counterclaims (where relevant).

Advice For Meeting These Criteria

When writing your TOK essay, it is important to follow the criteria carefully and make sure that you address all of the points. Here are some tips to help you do this:

  • Read the question correctly and make sure you understand what it is asking. Analyze the keywords and think about how you can use them in your essay.
  • Research relevant AOKs (Areas of Knowledge) and create an outline to plan your essay. Make sure all of your arguments are supported by logical reasoning, evidence, and examples.
  • If relevant, think of counterclaims and provide effective refutations to them.
  • Write your essay using clear language and organizing your thoughts in a way that is easy to read and understand.
  • Proofread your essay several times and make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Write a strong conclusion that ties together all of your arguments and summarizes your main points.

By following these steps, you should be able to create an essay that meets the TOK essay assessment criteria and earns you the grade you deserve!

The Role of Counterclaims in a TOK Essay

When attempting to answer a TOK essay question, it is essential that you consider various counterarguments and opposing viewpoints. These counterclaims can help in developing a TOK essay that is well-reasoned, logical and backed up with evidence. Looking at counterclaims can also help to create a balanced argument and give your TOK essay added depth.

Including counterclaims in your TOK essay can help you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of an argument. Through considering opposing points of view, you can develop ideas that are less biased and more convincing. For example, if you are discussing the impact of technology on modern life, perhaps you could argue that technology has had both positive and negative implications for society. This can add an interesting layer to your essay and make it stand out from the crowd.

When introducing counterclaims into your TOK essay, it is important to make sure that your arguments remain impartial. Rather than simply stating that one point of view is wrong, it is better to present both sides of the argument and discuss their merits or drawbacks. It is also a good idea to use evidence or personal experiences to back up your argument.

When addressing counterclaims, be sure to include any opposing opinions on the topic, as well as potential solutions should a conflict arise. For example, if you are discussing a particular ethical dilemma, it is important to present both sides of the argument and explore any potential solutions or proposed compromises.

All in all, considering counterclaims and their potential implications is a vital part of constructing an effective TOK essay. Through engaging with opposing viewpoints and exploring possible solutions, you can produce an argument that is thought-provoking, balanced and convincing.

Summary of key points for crafting a high-scoring TOK essay

To craft a high-scoring Theory of Knowledge essay that is structurally sound, there are a few key points to consider. To begin with, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of the TOK essay structure, as well as its grading criteria. Once you understand the structure and criteria for a TOK essay, you must ensure that your essay includes the appropriate Areas of Knowledge. You should use personal knowledge experiences to answer TOK essay questions and make sure that you think critically when forming arguments.

It is also necessary to form a clear TOK essay outline, as this allows the essay to be structured properly. This means that, when writing the actual essay, it is important to use language effectively to support claims and arguments and also to include counterclaims. Finally, it is essential to meet the TOK assessment criteria set out by the instructor, as these criteria will be used to determine your grade.

In summary, to craft a high-scoring TOK essay that is structurally sound, it is important to understand the TOK essay structure, the grading criteria, and how to use the AOKs within the essay structure. Additionally, using personal knowledge experiences, thinking critically and creating a clear outline can help to ensure that the essay is written correctly. Furthermore, the essay should use correct language, include counterclaims, and meet all assessment criteria.

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a devoted educator, marketing specialist, and management expert with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector. After obtaining his business degree in 2016, Nick embarked on a quest to achieve his PhD, driven by his commitment to enhancing education for students worldwide. His vast experience, starting in 2008, has established him as a reputable authority in the field.

Nick's article, featured in Routledge's " Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization ," highlights his sharp insights and unwavering dedication to advancing the educational landscape. Inspired by his personal motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to streamline students' lives and foster efficient learning. His inventive ideas and leadership have contributed to the transformation of numerous educational experiences, distinguishing him as a true innovator in his field.

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When selecting a topic for your IB Music Internal Assessment, both SL and HL students face a unique set of challenges and opportunities. As a seasoned IB educator with years of experience guiding students through this process, I’ve come to recognize the importance of choosing a topic that aligns with the IB criteria and resonates with your musical interests and strengths.

Film IA Topics

Film IA Topics: SL and HL Topic Ideas

Choosing a topic for your IB Film Internal Assessment (IA) can be exciting and daunting. Whether you’re enrolled in the Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL), the key is to select an option that not only intrigues you but also meets the criteria of the IB Film course. In this article, we dig into a variety of creative and thought-provoking ideas for both SL and HL Film IA topics.

IB Dance IA

IB Dance IA Topics: SL and HL Ideas

When it comes to the IB Dance Internal Assessment (IA), students face the exciting challenge of exploring a topic that resonates with their interests and meets the academic rigor of the IB curriculum. I’ve seen how choosing the right topic can set the stage for an enriching learning experience. In this article, I’m thrilled to share some engaging topic ideas for both SL and HL students aimed at sparking creativity and intellectual curiosity.

tok essay thesis example

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IB TOK Exhibition examples

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Not sure what to search for? You can always look through our example Internal Assessments below for inspiration.

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All TOK Exhibition Examples

Filter exemplars, does some knowledge belong only to particular communities of knowers, how can we know that current knowledge is an improvement upon past knowledge, want to get full marks for your tok exhibition allow us to review it for you 🎯, how important are material tools in the production or acquisition of knowledge, how can we distinguish between knowledge, belief and opinion, fast track your coursework with mark schemes moderated by ib examiners. upgrade now 🚀, what is the relationship between knowledge and culture, how is current knowledge shaped by its historical development, ¿qué desafíos plantea la difusión o la comunicación del conocimiento, is bias inevitable in the production of knowledge, what challenges are raised by the dissemination and/or communication of knowledge, should some knowledge not be sought on ethical grounds, what is the relationship between personal experience and knowledge, who owns knowledge, why do we seek knowledge, what constraints are there on the pursuit of knowledge, does some knowledge belong only to particular communities or knowers concept: culture, how important are material tools in the production or acquisitions of knowledge, to what extent is certainty attainable, are somethings unknowable, who owns knowledge, what challenges are raised by the dissemination and/or communication of knowledge, what is the relationship between knowledge and culture, 材料工具在产生或获取知识中有多么重要, can new knowledge change established values or beliefs, what is the relationship between personal experience and knowledge, is bias inevitable in the production of knowledge, what are the implications of having, or not having, knowledge, on what grounds might we doubt a claim.


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How to Structure the TOK Essay?

TOK essay structure

Luke MacQuoid

Hello, fellow IB students! Fear not if you’re struggling with the IB Theory of Knowledge essay. I’m here to guide you through writing a stellar work. Having been in your shoes and now a seasoned IB writer, I understand how daunting this task can feel. But let’s break it down together. In this article, I’ll share insights on how to structure the TOK essay, a skill I’ve honed over years of experience.

Fundamentals of TOK Essay Structure

Let’s dig into the TOK essay structure, an essential aspect of successful IB essay writing. In my view, understanding the basic structure is like having a guide for your academic paper. So, a typical TOK essay includes three main parts.

The introduction is where you set the stage. It’s about introducing your topic and presenting your thesis statement — your central argument or standpoint. A strong introduction captures the reader’s attention and clearly outlines what you will discuss.

The body of your essay is where the discussion takes place. Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of your thesis. Here’s a simple breakdown:

  • Point . Start with a clear point that relates to your thesis.
  • Explanation . Elaborate on this point. Why is it relevant? How does it relate to the TOK concepts ?
  • Example . Provide examples to support your point. It could be real-life situations, specific knowledge claims, or references to areas of knowledge.
  • Analysis . Analyze your example; don’t just describe it. How does it support your argument? What implications does it have for knowledge?

In the conclusion, you’re wrapping up your essay. Restate your thesis in a new light, considering the arguments and examples you’ve presented. It’s your final chance to make an impact on your reader, so make it count by summarizing your main points and leaving them with a final thought or question to ponder.

Remember, while the structure is like a skeleton, how you articulate your arguments, provide evidence, and engage with TOK concepts breathes life into your essay. Keep your writing clear, coherent, and focused on your thesis throughout.

How to Choose the Right Title for Your TOK Essay?

Selecting the appropriate title for your TOK essay is a significant step. From my extensive experience writing and mentoring in the IB program, I can tell you that your chosen title sets the tone for your essay. It’s not just a label; it’s the guiding star of your argument.

When faced with the list of prescribed titles from the IB, take your time to reflect on each one thoroughly. Which of these titles sparks your curiosity or challenges your thinking? The right title should resonate with your interests and knowledge. Here’s why this is crucial:

  • Personal Engagement . A title that genuinely interests you will inspire deeper thought and more passionate writing. Your connection to the topic will shine through in your essay, making it more compelling.
  • Scope for Exploration . Consider how the title allows for the exploration of TOK concepts. A good title should offer enough breadth to discuss various perspectives and areas of knowledge yet be specific enough to allow for in-depth analysis.
  • Connect with Areas of Knowledge . Consider how the titles relate to different areas of knowledge (AOKs) and ways of knowing (WOKs). Choose a title that allows you to draw on the AoKs and WOKs you are most familiar with or find most intriguing.
  • Formulate Your Argument . A well-chosen title will help you formulate a clear and concise thesis statement and meet a TOK essay word count . It should offer a clear path to build your arguments upon.

The title of your TOK essay is more than just a starting point; it’s the framework upon which your entire argument is built. Take the time to choose wisely, and ensure it’s a title you can engage deeply and critically. This careful consideration at the beginning significantly affects the ease of writing and the quality of your final essay.

Writing a Captivating Introduction for Your TOK Essay

Writing an introduction for your TOK essay is like setting the stage. It’s your first impression on your reader and, more importantly, the examiner. Having guided many students through this process, I’ve learned that the introduction is not just about stating facts; it’s about engaging, intriguing, and presenting your stance. Your introduction should serve several key purposes.

Present Your Thesis Statement

It is the cornerstone of your essay. Your thesis statement should clearly state your perspective or argument to the TOK title. It must be concise yet powerful, giving the reader a clear sense of your viewpoint and how you intend to research it.

Interpret the Essay Title

Before digging into your argument, you must show you’ve thought deeply about the title. Explain the title and hint at the angles you will research. It sets the context for your argument and shows the examiner that you’re addressing the title directly.

Outline Your Approach

Give the reader a map of your essay. What aspects will you cover? How will you approach them? It doesn’t mean listing every point you’ll make but giving a general idea of the structure and flow of your argument.

Engage the Reader

The introduction is also about capturing the reader’s interest. Start with an intriguing statement, a thought-provoking question, or a compelling quote. It can be a great way to draw the reader into your discussion.

Connect to TOK Concepts

Briefly indicate how your essay will engage with key TOK concepts. It could include the areas of knowledge you will focus on or the ways of knowing that will be most significant in your analysis.

IB TOK essay structure

Structuring the Body of Your TOK Essay

This part of the TOK essay is where you develop your ideas, present evidence, and conduct a thorough analysis. Here’s a comprehensive guide to writing the body of your TOK essay.

Paragraph Organization

Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence related to your thesis. This sentence should introduce the paragraph’s main idea, clearly linking your argument. Each section must focus on a single main idea to maintain clarity and coherence.

Develop Ideas

After introducing the main idea, it’s time to develop it. It involves explaining your point in more detail, relating it to TOK concepts, and showing how it supports your thesis. Be sure to include your insights and understanding. Your engagement with the topic is what brings your essay to life.

Use Evidence

Each point you make should be supported by evidence. It could be real-life situations, historical examples, science, literature, or personal experiences. What’s important is that your examples are relevant and help to substantiate your argument.

Critical Analysis

Don’t just present evidence; analyze it. Discuss its implications, strengths, and weaknesses. How does it support your point? What does it say about knowledge? This analysis demonstrates your critical thinking skills and depth of understanding.

Ensure that your paragraphs are interconnected. The end of each paragraph should naturally lead to the beginning of the next. This can be achieved through transition sentences summarizing one point and hinting at the next or directly linking the concepts discussed in consecutive paragraphs.

Reflect on Counterarguments

In your body paragraphs, it’s also effective to consider counterarguments or alternative perspectives. It shows the breadth of your understanding and strengthens your argument by demonstrating that you have considered and rebutted opposing views.

How to Add Real-Life Examples to Your TOK Essay?

When selecting examples, ensure they directly illuminate the point you’re making. The beauty of TOK is its interdisciplinary nature, so draw various areas like history, science, current events, or even personal experiences. This variety demonstrates your broad understanding of knowledge across different fields.

However, it’s not just about listing examples. The art lies in how you link them to TOK concepts. Each example should be a tool to explore these concepts, shedding light on your argument. It’s essential to analyze your examples, discussing their implications and relevance to the essay question. This approach shows critical thinking and a deep engagement with the material.

Also, consider the limitations of your examples. Acknowledging potential biases or missing perspectives reflects your ability to evaluate knowledge claims from multiple angles critically. Smoothly integrating these examples into your essay improves its flow and coherence, making your arguments more compelling. Remember, effective use of real-life examples can turn a good TOK essay into a great one.

tok essay thesis example

Need help with your IB TOK essay?

From research and analysis to structuring and editing, our skilled mentors will be by your side, helping you write an exceptional TOK essay that meets the word count and stringent IB criteria.

Making Conclusion for Your TOK Essay

The conclusion of your TOK essay is much more than just a summary. It’s your final opportunity to make an impact. Drawing from my extensive experience in IB writing and mentoring, I can give some key elements to include.

Synthesize Key Points

Your conclusion should summarize the main points you’ve made. It isn’t about listing each point again but about drawing connections between them to reinforce how they collectively support your thesis. Show the reader how the pieces fit together.

Address the Implications

Discuss the broader implications of your argument. What does your analysis suggest about the nature of knowledge? How does it contribute to our understanding of the TOK themes? It’s your chance to demonstrate the significance of your discussion beyond the confines of the essay.

Reflect on AOKs and WOKs

Briefly reflect on how your essay engages with different areas of knowledge and ways of knowing. How have these contributed to your understanding of the topic? This reflection shows your ability to think about knowledge holistically and interconnectedly.

Leave Thought-Provoking Idea

End your essay with a thought-provoking idea or question. It could be related to a gap in the current understanding, a future direction for research , or a philosophical question that emerged from your discussion. The goal is to leave the reader thinking deeply about the topic even after reading.

The Bottom Line

And there you have it! A guide on how to structure the TOK essay. Remember, this is your opportunity to showcase your critical thinking skills. With a clear structure and a bit of creativity, you’re well on your way to success. Best of luck, and remember that our experts are always ready to help you with TOK essay writing.

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Luke MacQuoid has extensive experience teaching English as a foreign language in Japan, having worked with students of all ages for over 12 years. Currently, he is teaching at the tertiary level. Luke holds a BA from the University of Sussex and an MA in TESOL from Lancaster University, both located in England. As well to his work as an IB Examiner and Master Tutor, Luke also enjoys sharing his experiences and insights with others through writing articles for various websites, including extendedessaywriters.com blog

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TOK Essay Examples: Expert Writing Tips and Insights

tok essay thesis example

What is TOK Essay

How is the Theory of Knowledge Essay Evaluated

How many words is the tok essay.

Tips How to Write a TOK Essay

Bad TOK Essay Example

Good tok essay example, final words about tok essays.

Beginning the quest to write a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay can be both daunting and exciting. While wading through the complexities of this assignment, I realized the power of examples to light the way. This article was born from my endeavor to explain the TOK essay process. In it, I will explain what the TOK essay is all about and provide invaluable tips to help circumvent the pitfalls many people fall into. I'll also break down two examples to give a clear picture of what success looks like. Use these tips if you're struggling to understand the criteria or looking for ways to enrich your argument. I hope that by sharing my experiences and lessons learned, you will gain clarity and confidence when writing your TOK essay.

What is a TOK Essay

Studying the exploration of the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay was an enlightening journey into the core of how we comprehend and authenticate knowledge. This essay, a fundamental aspect of the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum, challenges thinkers to critically engage with the dynamics between 'ways of knowing' and 'areas of knowledge.

As I delved into various IB TOK essay examples, I grasped the significance of presenting well-founded arguments enriched by concrete examples within a structured 1600-word framework. The process was more than an academic endeavor; it was a deep dive into questioning the essence of knowledge itself. Through this exploration, I discovered the vital role of critical analysis and the meticulousness required in sourcing information, offering a profound perspective on the intellectual rigor demanded by the IB TOK essay. This understanding reshaped my approach, leading me to utilize tools like the paper typer to streamline the process while maintaining academic integrity.

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay is graded from A (excellent) to E (elementary), focusing on critical thinking and depth of analysis. It evaluates understanding and analysis of knowledge issues, coherence in organizing ideas, clarity in language use, and proper citation of sources.  Marks are awarded based on how effectively the essay addresses knowledge questions related to ways of knowing (WOKs) and areas of knowledge (AOKs), including exploring various viewpoints and integrating arguments and counterarguments. This score, combined with the TOK presentation, contributes to the TOK component of the IB diploma, emphasizing the essay's role in showcasing students' analytical abilities and understanding of knowledge.

When you begin writing your TOK essay, remember the strict requirements set forth by the IB curriculum. The minimum word count for a tok essay is 1,200 words, caps at 1,600 words. This range forced me to be concise yet thorough in exploring complex knowledge questions, ensuring I could present my arguments and analyses within these limits. It was a balancing act of depth and brevity, pushing me to refine my ideas into a coherent, impactful essay without exceeding the maximum word limit.

5 Tips How to Write a TOK Essay

Writing a TOK essay is more than an academic task; it's an essential skill that sharpens your ability to think critically and articulate complex ideas. Mastering this essay impacts your grades and prepares you for real-world challenges by developing critical analysis and argumentation skills. These tips help you navigate common pitfalls and enhance your essay, ensuring a successful and insightful knowledge exploration.

Understand the Question

Start by thoroughly reading the essay prompt. Ensure you grasp the key concepts and terms. Break down the question to understand what it's asking you to do. This foundational step prevents misinterpretation, a common mistake.

Plan Your Essay

Before diving into writing, create an outline. Plan how you'll address each part of the question, including your arguments, counterarguments, and examples. This organization prevents your essay from disjointed and helps maintain a clear focus.

Use Real-Life Examples

Incorporate examples from real life, history, or your own experiences that relate to the essay's topic. These examples make your arguments more convincing and relatable, helping you avoid abstract and vague statements.

Balance Your Arguments

Present multiple perspectives on the issue, including supporting and opposing viewpoints. This balanced approach demonstrates critical thinking and understanding of the complexity of knowledge, moving beyond one-sided arguments.

Revise and Proofread

After writing your first draft, take the time to revise and refine your essay. Look for areas where you can clarify your arguments, ensure coherence, and correct grammatical errors. Proofreading is crucial to avoid simple mistakes that can detract from the quality of your essay.

In today's world, knowledge is everywhere. We learn things from schools, the internet, and talking to people. But what is knowledge? Some say it's just information we believe is true, but I think it's more about what we see and experience. For example, I know Paris is in France because I've seen pictures of it and people talk about it, even though I've never been there. This shows that seeing and hearing are the best ways to learn things.
However, some think books and the internet are better because they have much information. But can we trust everything we read online or in books? I don't think so. Many false things are out there, so it's hard to know what's true. This makes it confusing to understand what knowledge is.
In conclusion, knowledge is a complex topic. It's important to use our senses, as well as to read books and surf the internet to learn. But we should always question what we learn to know if it's true.

Mistakes in First Example

  • Lack of Clear Thesis Statement:  The essay lacks a clear and concise thesis statement that outlines the argument or perspective on knowledge.
  • Vague Language: Terms like "things" and "stuff" are too vague and do not provide specific examples or clear ideas.
  • Overgeneralization : The essay makes broad generalizations without supporting evidence, such as "seeing and hearing are the best ways to learn things.
  • Lack of Depth in Argumentation: The argument does not delve deeply into the Theory of Knowledge concepts, failing to explore the complexity of how knowledge is acquired or validated.
  • Absence of Counterarguments: There's no exploration of counterarguments or different perspectives on knowledge, which is essential for a balanced TOK essay
  • No Reference to Ways of Knowing or Areas of Knowledge: The essay fails to specifically reference any ways of knowing (WOKs) or areas of knowledge (AOKs), which are crucial components of a TOK essay.
  • Poor Structure and Organization: The essay jumps from one idea to another without a clear, logical progression or connection between paragraphs.
  • Lack of Critical Analysis: The essay relies on personal beliefs and anecdotal evidence rather than critical analysis or exploration of knowledge questions.
The quest to define knowledge has perplexed philosophers and scholars for centuries. At the heart of this inquiry lies the distinction between belief and knowledge. This distinction prompts us to consider the reliability of our sources and the methods through which we acquire information. As traditionally understood, knowledge extends beyond mere factual information; it encompasses justified true belief, a concept that necessitates scrutiny of evidence and justification of our beliefs.
Consider the example of Paris being in France. While many of us have not visited Paris, we accept its location as a fact. This acceptance is based not solely on photographs or narratives but on a consensus of reliable sources, including maps, educational materials, and authoritative texts. This scenario illustrates the significance of consensus and reliability in transforming belief into knowledge.
Contrastingly, the digital age presents a challenge to knowledge acquisition. While a vast repository of information, the internet is also rife with misinformation. The critical evaluation of sources becomes paramount in distinguishing between credible knowledge and mere belief. This underscores the importance of critical thinking and source evaluation as vital components of knowledge acquisition.
In conclusion, understanding knowledge necessitates a multifaceted approach. It requires engaging with various ways of knowing, including sense perception and reason, and considering the reliability of our sources. Our journey toward knowledge is not merely about accumulating facts but cultivating the ability to discern truth in a world saturated with information.

Improvements Made

  • Introduction of a Clear Thesis Statement: The excerpt now opens with a clear thesis that sets the stage for discussing the nature of knowledge.
  • Use of Specific Language: The language is now precise, replacing vague terms with specific concepts and examples.
  • ‍ Elimination of Overgeneralization: Broad claims have been replaced with nuanced arguments supported by examples and reasoning.
  • Incorporation of Depth in Argumentation: The argument delves into the complexity of knowledge, discussing the distinction between belief and knowledge and the role of justification.
  • Introduction of Counterarguments: The text acknowledges the challenge of digital misinformation, presenting a counterpoint to the initial argument about consensus and reliability.
  • Reference to Ways of Knowing (WOKs ): The essay now mentions sense perception and reason, directly tying the discussion to key TOK concepts.
  • Improved Structure and Organization: The essay flows logically, with each paragraph building upon the previous one to develop a cohesive argument.
  • Enhanced Critical Analysis: The revised excerpt critically examines the knowledge acquisition process, moving beyond personal anecdotes to engage with broader epistemological questions.

‍ In parsing TOK essay examples, I discovered the undeniable importance of key writing strategies for creating insightful essays. Understanding the question, careful planning, incorporating real-life examples, balancing arguments, and diligent editing became essential steps. By applying these strategies, you will tackle the complexities of TOK concepts, achieving a more nuanced and reflective exploration of how we understand and interact with the world.

biology ia topics

Planning and structuring the TOK essay

TOK Home > Free TOK notes > TOK essay guidance > Planning and structuring the TOK essay

tok essay thesis example

Once you’ve grasped the essay rubric , and chosen your title , you can start planning and structuring your TOK essay. You base this around the 3 interactions with your teacher, which are one-on-one meetings discussing your progress, and receiving feedback.

As well as the interactions, you can also ask your teacher specific questions about your essay, for example, the suitability of arguments and examples.

STEP 3: Plan and structure your TOK essay

Interaction 1.

In your first interaction, you’ll discuss the title that you have chosen and why, your interpretation of its general meaning, and the key words from the title that you’ve identified and will be focusing on.

You should also have a good idea about the areas of knowledge you’ll be using as the context of your essay (these may be specified in the title), the key concepts that could be included, and have a rough idea about the arguments and counterarguments that could be offered.

By the end of the first interaction, you should be clear about your choice (ideally, the meeting will have confirmed you made the right decision, rather than making you rethink it, but that’s still not a problem at this early stage of the essay-writing process), know the context you’ll be using, and be ready to write your introduction.

Interaction 2

During your second interaction, you’ll explain how you have moved your ideas forward, and the arguments and counterarguments that you’re developing. Ideally, you should be able to show your teacher your introduction, and a rough plan of the rest of your essay.

Be ready to discuss personal experiences and real-world examples that you will use to support points, key thinkers, and different points of view. It’s also useful to discuss any challenges and problems that you’ve encountered. Your teacher should then give you plenty of advice on how to turn all of this into a draft essay, which takes you to the final interaction.

Interaction 3

The third interaction is arguably the most important one, as it is when you will discuss your draft essay, and receive written feedback on how to turn this into your final version.

The first thing to ensure is that your draft is as complete as it possibly can be. The reason for this is that your teacher can only give you one set of written feedback, so if you’ve given them something that doesn’t have much detail, they won’t be able to give you any meaningful advice.

Make sure your teacher has had enough time to go over your essay, and has provided you with clear and detailed feedback on the strength and clarity of your arguments, the suitability of your examples, how successfully you’ve considered perspectives and implications, and how effectively your essay answers the questions. You should now feel ready to write the final version of the essay.

A four-step guide to the TOK essay

Click on the buttons below to take you to the four steps of creating a great TOK essay. Don’t forget that we have plenty of videos on this and other aspects of the course, and members of the site have access to a huge amount of other resources to help you master the course and assessment tasks.

tok essay thesis example

Check out our three-minute explainer video on the TOK essay here . The video goes over the basics of the TOK essay, such as how it’s assessed, the word count and other practical details, terms such as ‘perspectives’ and ‘implications’, and the role of real-world examples in justifying claims and arguments.

You’ll find more videos on this and other aspects of TOK here , and you can dive into much more depth via our free and premium webinars, here .

Watch our essay & exhibition webinars

Click on the images below to access these premium webinars on how to create the essay and exhibition. Access more webinars here , and watch our videos on the assessment tasks on this page .

tok essay thesis example

FAQs about the TOK essay

How do i choose my tok essay title.

You choose your essay from six prescribed essay titles, that are released at the beginning of your second DP year. We give a few tips on how to choose a PT that will work for you here . But briefly, choose one that links to your pre-existing knowledge, and that you find personally engaging.

What will I be writing about in my TOK essay?

You’ll be answering your prescribed title, within the context of two areas of knowledge, considering how different perspectives might affect our response to the question, and what the implications of your arguments are.

Can I use ChatGPT to write my essay?

You can use ChatGPT to help you gather materials for your essay, but you should definitely not be using it to write the essay. Be very careful with ChatGPT. It bases its answers on online material, and much of this is inaccurate or out-of-date. For example, depending on what you ask it, it may tell you that you have to explore multiple areas of knowledge (rather than the two stipulated by the titles), and that you have to identify a separate knowledge question to the title (which is absolutely not the case).

How much help should I expect from my teacher?

Your teacher should run through the PTs when they are first released, and then meet you for three interactions, during which you’ll discuss your progress. They are allowed to give you one set of written feedback. But you can consult them at other times with specific questions.

Do I need to use real-world examples in my TOK essay?

Yes, real-life examples help illustrate your points and make your arguments more tangible. They can be drawn from personal experiences, historical events, scientific discoveries, etc.

Should I include my personal opinion in the TOK essay?

While the TOK essay is not about your personal opinion per se, it’s important to reflect on your perspective and how it shapes the way you understand the title. However, you should avoid using the essay as a platform for rants or unsubstantiated claims.

Is it necessary to include counter-arguments in my TOK essay?

Yes, including counter-arguments shows a deeper understanding of the complexity of the topic and demonstrates your critical thinking skills. It also enables you to consider different perspectives, and evaluate the implications of arguments.

Should I include the 12 key concepts in my essay?

Yes, as much as you can, draw on the key concepts such as justification, evidence, perspective, bias, certainty, and objectivity within your arguments linking them to the title, and to the real-world examples you draw on.

How do I ensure that my TOK essay reflects my own original thinking, and avoids plagiarism?

Clearly attribute ideas and sources that are not your own, and strive to present original insights and interpretations supported by evidence and reasoning. See our point above on using ChatGPT – never view this as more than a tool to help you gather material for your essay, rather than a tool to write it for you.

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when writing a TOK essay?

Avoid oversimplifying complex issues, relying solely on personal opinion without justification, neglecting counter-arguments, veering off the question, and failing to include a consideration of different perspectives.

How long do I have to write my essay?

You’ll have 6 months from the time the prescribed titles are released, to the deadline date for uploading your essay to the IB. However, most schools will set their own deadline for completing the essay, so that everyone has plenty of time to complete your PPF, and upload it on time. Follow what your school tells you about this.

How important is the TOK essay PPF?

The PPF (‘Planning and Progress Form’) is the document that you fill in to outline your discussions during the three essay. Although this is not directly assessed, it is an important part of demonstrating that you have approached the TOK essay in an ethical way, which is now particularly important in the era of ChatGPT.

What are some effective strategies for revising and editing my TOK essay to improve clarity and coherence?

Take breaks between revisions, seek feedback from peers or teachers, and carefully proofread for grammar, punctuation, and coherence.

Should I include references or a bibliography in my TOK essay?

While not required, referencing sources appropriately adds credibility to your essay; use footnotes or endnotes for citations.

tok essay thesis example

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Overcoming ToK Essay Hurdles: Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Henrik M.

Writing a Theory of Knowledge (ToK) essay is no small feat. As IB students, picking the right concepts and language to convey your understanding is crucial. Why? Because your ToK essay is more than a mere academic exercise; it’s a unique opportunity to showcase your grasp of how knowledge is formed and understood.

Avoiding common mistakes in your essay is not just a recommendation—it’s a necessity for success. Making errors, be they structural or conceptual, can be a slippery slope that diminishes the quality of your writing, leading to grades that don’t reflect your true potential.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through those sneaky pitfalls that you need to watch out for and provide you with clear, actionable strategies to ensure your ToK essay is a shining example of academic writing done right. So, without further ado, let’s delve into the common mistakes and learn how to sidestep each one confidently and effectively.

Understanding ToK Essays

Theory of Knowledge (ToK) essays are a fundamental component in the educational journey of any IB student. The significance of these essays cannot be overstated; they are not merely academic writings but are instead reflective pieces that encourage you to ponder deeply on the nature and scope of knowledge itself.

A ToK essay requires you to answer complex questions about how we know what we claim to know. You’re expected to examine various ways of knowing and areas of knowledge, scrutinizing them through different lenses and perspectives. This intellectual exercise is essential, as it cultivates critical thinking, prompting you to explore and question the underpinnings of knowledge and understanding.

However, the complexity of "A grade" ToK essays often presents a formidable challenge. Students frequently find themselves navigating through a maze of abstract concepts and ideas, which, while fascinating, can be tricky to articulate clearly and cohesively in writing. The task demands not just a solid grasp of the subject matter but also the ability to connect diverse ideas in a way that is logically sound and compelling to the reader.

Additionally, students often grapple with structuring their essays effectively. The requirement to craft an argument that is both deep and broad, all while adhering to a prescribed word limit, can indeed be daunting. Striking a balance between depth of discussion and brevity of expression is often easier said than done, making the crafting of a ToK essay a meticulous and demanding endeavor.

But fear not! With a clear understanding of common mistakes and the strategies to avoid them, you’re already on the right track to crafting a ToK essay that not only meets but indeed exceeds expectations. The first step, of course, is to familiarize yourself with the potential pitfalls, and that’s exactly what we’ll explore in the sections to follow. Let's dive deeper into these challenges and unlock the secrets to overcoming them!

Structural Mistakes

Understanding the structural nuances of a ToK essay is imperative for crafting a piece that is not only coherent but also engaging and persuasive. Let’s delve into some structural mistakes often made and explore how to adeptly avoid them.

Mistake#1: Lack of Clear Thesis

The thesis is the beacon that guides your reader through your essay, providing them with insight into the main idea or argument that you will explore and elucidate. Without a clear thesis, your essay can easily become a jumbled assortment of ideas that are difficult for readers to follow.

  • Importance of a Thesis : A succinct and clear thesis provides direction. It’s not only a roadmap for your readers but also a guide for you as the writer. It keeps you focused, helping you develop and support your argument effectively.
  • Crafting a Strong Thesis : Your thesis should be precise and concise. Avoid vague or overly complex language. Clearly state the areas of knowledge and ways of knowing you’ll explore, and articulate the relationship between them. Always keep your thesis specific and straightforward to ensure your essay is coherent and compelling.

Mistake#2: Inconsistent Flow

The flow of your essay is pivotal. Readers should smoothly transition from one idea to the next, with each paragraph building upon the previous. An essay with inconsistent flow is not only challenging to read but also fails to convey ideas effectively.

  • Importance of Coherent Structure : A logical flow of ideas enhances the readability and impact of your essay. It ensures that your arguments are presented and developed in a way that is easy for readers to understand and engage with.
  • Ensuring Consistent Flow : Start with an outline to organize your thoughts coherently. Each paragraph should have a main idea, supporting details, and a concluding sentence that connects to the next paragraph. Use transitional words and phrases judiciously to guide readers through your essay. Carefully review and revise your essay to eliminate any disruptions in flow, ensuring a seamless reading experience from introduction to conclusion.

Remember, an essay that is structurally sound is not only more enjoyable to read but also more persuasive, as it clearly conveys your understanding and insight into the Theory of Knowledge. In the next section, we’ll explore conceptual misunderstandings, another significant hurdle you need to overcome for a successful ToK essay. Stay tuned!

Conceptual Misunderstandings

Delving deeper into the crafting of a sterling ToK essay, it’s crucial to sidestep the common conceptual misunderstandings that students often find themselves ensnared by. These conceptual pitfalls can greatly diminish the quality of your essay, so let’s shed light on how to adeptly navigate through them.

Mistake#3: Misinterpretation of ToK Concepts

ToK essays necessitate a profound understanding of complex and abstract concepts related to knowledge and knowing. Misinterpreting these concepts can lead your essay astray, resulting in a piece that might be well-written but fundamentally flawed in its understanding.

  • Common Misconceptions : Students often struggle with grasping the nuanced distinctions between various ways of knowing and areas of knowledge. There might be confusion about the application of these concepts, leading to an essay that misses the mark in its analysis and argumentation.
  • Accurate Understanding and Interpretation : To avoid misinterpretation, immerse yourself in the ToK course framework. Engage deeply with the prescribed titles and understand the expectations and nuances associated with each. Take time to reflect on each concept, considering its implications and how it applies to different areas of knowledge. Engaging with your teacher and peers for discussions can also facilitate a deeper understanding.

Mistake#4: Failure to Relate to Real-life Situations

ToK essays aren’t abstract musings; they demand a concrete connection to real-life situations , providing a context through which the reader can appreciate the implications and relevance of the discussed concepts.

  • Importance of Practical Examples : Using real-life examples illuminates your argument, providing tangible illustrations of abstract concepts. These examples not only make your essay relatable but also demonstrate your ability to apply theory to practice, which is a critical aspect of the ToK assessment.
  • Effective Strategies for Making Connections : Choose examples that are relevant and effectively illustrate your argument. Your examples should not be mere anecdotes but should be used as a lens through which the reader can understand and engage with the concepts you're discussing. When selecting examples, ensure they are clear, accurate, and well-researched. Each example should be analyzed in depth, exploring its relevance and implications in the context of your argument.

By avoiding these conceptual pitfalls and ensuring your essay is rooted in accurate understanding and relevant examples, you’re well on your way to crafting a ToK essay that is insightful and compelling. In the upcoming sections, we’ll delve into additional common oversights to be wary of as you continue on your essay-writing journey.

Common Oversights

Amidst the meticulous crafting of your ToK essay, there are subtle, often overlooked elements that can quietly, yet significantly, impact the effectiveness of your final submission. Below, we illuminate these common oversights and provide guidance on how to diligently avoid them.

Mistake#5: Ignoring Guidelines and Criteria

The provided guidelines and criteria for the ToK essay aren’t arbitrary; they are meticulously designed to guide you in crafting an essay that is coherent, insightful, and reflective of the IB’s expectations.

  • Importance of Adhering to Guidelines : Guidelines offer a clear structure and outline that you are expected to follow, ensuring your essay meets the fundamental requirements set by the IB. Ignoring these can not only lead to a disorganized essay but also cost you valuable marks during the assessment.
  • Tips for Following Guidelines and Criteria : Familiarize yourself with every detail of the provided guidelines and criteria. Approach them not as restrictions, but as a framework supporting you in developing a structured and coherent essay. Before starting, create a checklist based on the guidelines and continuously refer to it as you write, ensuring each section of your essay aligns with the expected standards.

Mistake#6: Overlooking Proofreading

Even with insightful arguments and a well-structured essay, neglecting the proofreading process can severely undermine the quality of your writing. Proofreading isn’t just about correcting grammatical errors; it’s about refining your essay to convey your ideas clearly and effectively.

  • Significance of Revising and Editing : Revision and editing are crucial for presenting a polished essay that reflects your best work. They allow you to identify and rectify not only language errors but also issues with flow, coherence, and argumentation.
  • Efficient Proofreading Techniques and Tools : Begin by taking a break after writing your essay before you start proofreading — approaching it with fresh eyes makes it easier to spot errors. Read your essay out loud; this technique helps identify awkward sentences or grammatical errors. Consider using proofreading tools or software to catch mistakes you might have missed, but always review their suggestions critically. Getting feedback from teachers, peers, or professional services can also provide valuable insights.

By avoiding these common oversights and investing time in adhering to guidelines and meticulous proofreading, you enhance the overall quality and impact of your ToK essay. Stay tuned, as we continue to guide you through this process, unveiling more insights and tips in the sections to come!

Learning from Examples

Taking a practical approach to understanding common mistakes in ToK essays, real examples serve as invaluable resources for learning. Through these examples, we can pinpoint exactly where students tend to err and visualize the corrections needed for an exemplary essay.

Examples provide tangible illustrations of the common mistakes students frequently make in their essays. These aren’t shared to criticize but to enlighten and guide you through the process of avoiding similar pitfalls. By examining these errors and understanding their corrections, you gain a practical sense of what to avoid and how to improve your own writing.

We’ll walk through select examples that highlight typical mistakes in various areas, such as structuring, conceptual understanding, and adherence to guidelines. Each example will be paired with a revised version, providing a clear contrast between the initial mistake and the correct approach.

Real examples offer a hands-on learning experience. They allow you to directly see and understand the nuances and subtleties of ToK essay writing. Engaging with these examples, you’ll not only identify mistakes but also develop a keen eye for the aspects that constitute a well-crafted ToK essay.

Through analyzing these real-life examples, not only do you become adept at sidestepping common errors, but you also garner practical insights and tips for crafting an essay that is coherent, compelling, and compliant with IB standards. Engage with these examples actively, reflect on the corrections made, and implement these learnings into your essay writing practice for optimal results!

As we reach the culmination of this insightful journey through the intricacies of ToK essay writing, it’s imperative to reflect and internalize the wealth of knowledge shared in this guide. Crafting a stellar ToK essay is indeed a nuanced endeavor, laden with challenges yet immensely rewarding when navigated with precision and awareness.

Through this guide, we traversed through pivotal aspects such as understanding the essence of ToK essays, acknowledging and correcting structural mistakes, circumventing common conceptual misunderstandings, and meticulously avoiding oversights that often go unnoticed. We also shed light on the practicality of learning from real examples, illuminating the pathway to mastering the art of ToK essay writing.

However, understanding common mistakes is just the starting point. The true challenge lies in diligently applying these insights into your writing process, continuously refining and improving until your essay is a true reflection of your intellectual prowess and understanding of the Theory of Knowledge. Remember, each mistake avoided is a step closer to a ToK essay that not only meets but surpasses expectations.

For students eager to craft an essay that mirrors the depth and breadth of your understanding, avoiding the highlighted mistakes is non-negotiable. Approach your ToK essay with a clear, focused mind, armed with the knowledge of what to avoid and how to correct missteps should they occur. With each draft, you're not just writing; you’re learning, improving, and ultimately, excelling.

However, should you find yourself in need of expert assistance do not hesitate to explore our ToK essay writing service . With a team of seasoned ToK essay writers at your service, we offer unparalleled support to help you navigate through the challenges of ToK essay writing, ensuring you submit a piece that is nothing short of exemplary.

Last edit at Sep 28 2023

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Henrik M.

IB Tutor and Writer

With over a decade in the educational realm, Henrik has guided countless IB students towards academic excellence. Combining a deep understanding of the IB curriculum with practical strategies, Henrik is committed to making challenging subjects approachable and essays memorable.

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EXPLAINED: May 2024 TOK Essay Prescribed Titles

What happened to this post? HackIB has been acquired by MyIBTutor . All content is now available on the MyIBTutor Blog with more exciting IB content to come! Click here to see it for yourself!

Looking for November 2024 Session TOK Essay titles? Click here.

TOK Essay Titles – May 2024 Examination Session

The titles for May 2024 are released! Here they are below:

Make sure to bookmark this page as I explain and provide examples for each of these titles in depth! UPDATE: Title 1, 2, 5 and 6 are now available. Stay tuned for more! For general guidance on how to write a good TOK essay, check out my TOK Essay advice collection .

Is subjectivity overly celebrated in the arts but unfairly condemned in history? Discuss with reference to the arts and history.

How can we reconcile the opposing demands for specialization and generalization in the production of knowledge? Discuss with reference to mathematics and one other area of knowledge.

Nothing is more exciting than fresh ideas, so why are areas of knowledge often so slow to adopt them? Discuss with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.

Do we underestimate the challenges of taking knowledge out of its original context and transferring it to a different context? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Do we need custodians of knowledge? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Are we too quick to assume that the most recent evidence is inevitably the strongest? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.

This title attempts to challenge students on the main school of thought that you learn over the TOK course. The gist of your TOK teaching on both of these AOKs probably boiled down to something like: everything is art and it’s just whatever the artist wants to create, while history is always biased because the winners always write all of history. However, this eliminates much of the nuance in each of these AOKs that are worth exploring. That’s what makes this prompt interesting.

Is subjectivity overly celebrated in the arts? I will be honest, I never thought we really ‘celebrated’ subjectivity. It just, was. Inherently, art is a subjective exercise – you can think about this point a little further. You will find some heated discussion on whether art is subjective or could it be objective on the internet and I won’t delve into that here, because it isn’t the point of this title. The key here is to focus on the EXTENT of subjectivity and is it to the detriment of the area of knowledge itself. Then, we have to consider, whose subjectivity are we talking about: is it the artist’s subjectivity, or the audience’s subjectivity. For example, the Mona Lisa wasn’t that well known when it was first painted. I’m sure the Da Vinci thought it was quite a nice piece, but it seems like we didn’t really celebrate his subjectivity. It wasn’t until a certain audience found it subjectively good, that we accepted it as one of the greatest pieces of art in the world! That is an example of how subjectivity is relevant in the dissemination of artistic knowledge. For a more modern example, what about your favourite YouTuber? Do they truly make what they want? NO! They are often beholden to sponsors, and you – the audience! What you want to see, is what they will make! So it is YOUR subjectivity that drives their decision to produce art, not necessarily purely their subjectivity. Subjectivity by definition is just a person’s opinions, emotions, thoughts. This connects well with the TOK concept of values. What VALUES and WHOSE values are determining what art is created (in a variety of contexts), how art is perceived, and how art changes in its reception over time? These are all good questions to ponder. For more unconventional examples about art, think about how museums choose what art to display, what constitutes good art for prizes like the Nobel Prize for Literature, or why some art is considered more expensive than others? Are there systematic ways to think about our subjectivity and how we apply it to art? Is it really overly celebrating subjectivity or simply a necessity to make sense of the abundance of artistic knowledge in a sea of information today?

History gets a bad rep in the TOK classroom. Students like to trash on History calling it biased and unreliable. In this prompt, I don’t want you to refute these claims, but just think about how they aren’t necessarily catastrophic as we might think. We aren’t denying that biases in history could be problematic. I would be suspicious too, if the only accounts of the Rohingya Genocide came from the Myanmar military. However, the word condemned in the title suggests that we might be too harsh on historians when they get things wrong. We should focus on how the historical method recovers itself from failures in biases from its sources. Yes, it might be biased, but is it better than no history? Furthermore, does subjectivity actually ADD value to the way we produce, and interpret historical knowledge? While I’m sure a completely objective, news story like report of what happened in 1886 would be a historian’s dream, that isn’t the case! No matter how objective we try to be, we colour the events we experience by our own opinions, feelings and emotions. But isn’t that history in itself? In an almost cliched way, history’s subjectivity tells us more about what happened in the past and their beliefs and values more than words could ever say.

In both the historical and artistic discussions, you should focus more on the methodologies of these AOKs and how they achieve their AOK’s purpose. Subjectivity manifests in different ways in these AOKs and their methodology reflects that. In the overt awareness of subjectivity in the Arts, its method to produce knowledge is characteristically defined by subjectivity. In History, the method is to identify the covert influences of subjectivity, then to produce the most truthful knowledge possible. You can see that the goals of these two are different, and hence they deal with subjectivity differently. Don’t fall in the trap of focusing your discussion too much on your examples, but generalise to the patterns of how subjectivity manifest in your AOKs and whether their treatment of it is problematic.

It is crucial, when writing the essay for this prompt, to clearly define in your introduction what specialisation and generalisation means. DO NOT use the dictionary definitions here – since this is a TOK Essay, you want to make a TOK version of specialisation and generalisation, in terms of how these two things differ in the production of knowledge. Clearly defining the two in this way will form a solid foundation for you to have a nuanced discussion on this process of reconciliation between the two. The prompt hints at the competing demands on knowledge of specialisation and generalisation – i.e. you might not be able to produce knowledge in the same way if you were aiming for specialisation versus generalisation. So, this provides a point of contrast for you to choose examples and frame your discussion. Remember, the idea of competing demands is an ASSUMPTION, not an argument posed by the question. You should focus on how your chosen examples demonstrate a way to balance the interests of both and reach a ‘middle-ground’ rather than arguing that specialisation or generalisation are compatible with each other. TLDR: Don’t challenge the assumption.

For the first AOK of Mathematics, you should have encountered many personal examples just from your study of IB Maths. Most of your learning has been on generalisation, and the application of such generalisations. For instance, you learn about Calculus, a general topic within Mathematics, and then apply it in various contexts. Mathematicians love generalisations – that Calculus you learned? Well, the definition of a derivative generalised for all functions could be summarised by the first principles of derivatives function that HL AA students learn. You would have less interaction with specialisation of Mathematical knowledge. In a broader sense, the specific components of mathematics, cannot be separated from the general. You can’t solve calculus problems without the fundamental theorem of calculus. However, you could argue that the fundamental theorem of calculus didn’t need calculus problems to exist. Thus, an interesting dilemma arises in Mathematics – the generalisation could be produced, without a particular need for specialisation, but specialisation often calls for generalisation to first exist.

Looking at the latest mathematics research, you will find that applied mathematics is most common. Rarely do you see people get excited by new discoveries of solutions to elliptical curves, but more do when you tell them a new mathematical model to improve our prediction of the weather. We may place greater value on specialisation of knowledge, because we could see its usefulness more immediately, but, the Area of Knowledge does not require such specialisation to produce knowledge. So, do we encourage people to produce knowledge with the goal of specialisation in mind, or do we tell them to produce whatever theoretical generalised mathematical knowledge they can? Look to how mathematics is applied to Quantitative Finance, Econometrics, and Actuarial Science. They specialise mathematical knowledge and provide for some of the most lucrative careers. Does that speak to our preference and demand for specialised knowledge? But then again, what of the interdependence between generalisation and specialisation? How do we balance the two and how does the methodologies of the AOK contribute to this balancing act?

For the second, complimentary AOK, you could have discussions with all of the AOKs. For the Sciences, you could present a similar argument about needing to have some general theories before you could specialise. The scientific method is essentially one big generalisation process – you take specific observations and you make inferences so that you can generalise about some natural process. However, the knowledge that produces need not be general, it can still be specific. If we take specialisation as the goal, then we could pose narrow hypotheses to test. If we take generalisation as the goal, then we might need multiple of these narrow hypotheses to form a full picture, testing each individual case. Thus, specialisation could lead to specialisation alone, but more often, generalisation is the result of many specialisations.

One last question you might want to consider and attempt to answer in your essay is, do you want to know something about everything or everything about something? The answer to that will depend on your AOK. While we want to know about everything on everything, that is simply not reality. So, what trade offs do we make in each AOK, and how does each AOK decide on what we need to know more on?

You might be able to appreciate how long it takes ideas to actually be implemented in reality by looking at the recent Nobel Prize winners for Economic Sciences. The winner of the 2017 prize was Richard H. Thaler, for his contributions to behavioural economics. He explored the impacts of limited rationality, social preferences and the lack of individual self-control on economic decision making on an individual and market level. He started these findings from the 1980s, but it is only recently, in the 2022 revision of the IB syllabus that Economics students learn about the field of Behavioural economics in any detail! So why is it so?

To some extent, it is hard to criticise things for moving slowly. After all, new discoveries like behavioural economics represents a fundamental paradigm shift towards the way research is conducted in the particular AOK. Often times, fresh ideas are left to “ferment” so that their truthfulness can be tested with time. Nothing is more embarrassing than going down a rabbit hole only to find that your assumptions turned out to be monumentally incorrect. Even if we are making a big shift in light of new ideas towards the way we produce knowledge, doing so takes time! For many years and still now, we rely on strong assumptions of rationality to make economic models function. While the psychology of such behaviours are well researched, applying them to an Economic setting may not be. That is to say, it is important to consider how these new ideas arise, and what effect it has on existing knowledge, and the way we produce future knowledge. New ideas is simply new knowledge, but with the added implication that it has some effect on the existing knowledge within an AOK. It could potentially change how we view current knowledge, or how we conduct research given a particular discovery.

In the AOK of the human sciences, which broadly follows the scientific method, you could drawn some inspiration from the philosopher Thomas Kuhn’s view of scientific progress. He argues that within a period of “normal science” where we make incremental progress under the assumption of an overarching model, but there comes a point where we notice accumulation of imperfections with such a model that leads to new paradigms – new ideas, that fundamentally change how we do science. Then we undergo a sort of scientific revolution, where there are debates and decisions made over what sort of model we need to follow, until everyone eventually accepts the new paradigm and returns to a normal science period so that continual small improvements are made to knowledge, until another paradigm shift happens again. While you are not expected to demonstrate such strong philosophy knowledge within the TOK Essay, it is helpful to consider how each AOK handles such ‘revolutions’. For instance, it is harder to irrefutably find falsities in human sciences given the difficulty in replicability and corroborative studies compared to natural sciences.

As for complimentary AOKs, any would suit here, as each AOK has a very different way to handle new ideas. Many factors influence the way new ideas is accepted. For this title, we need to take the assumption that their acceptance is slow, not argue with it. Instead, you should consider what factors influence this slowness, and how different AOKs have different factors in mind when deciding how to accept new ideas. This relates to the nature of the AOK (what is its purpose) and the methodology guiding knowledge production in them.

Have you ever said something that sounds very weird out of context? That might have just been something silly with no real consequences, but in the realm of knowledge, we need to be careful about the consequences of knowledge taken out of their original context. This article highlights how the context of medical treatment matters a lot! As you can imagine, something that works in one field, doesn’t always apply in a straightforward manner to another. This is why there are whole research teams dedicated to what we call “translational research”. That is, trying to “translate” what you get from something like a lab setting, into actual products, like life-saving medications.

The obvious links to AOKs here are the Natural and Human Sciences. For Natural Sciences, we often start off knowledge production in a lab setting, or in a controlled environment. However, the application of such knowledge is rarely as controlled! So an interesting point to consider is how natural scientists have to account for the fact that their findings won’t ever be used in as perfect a setting as their research. Sure, you might have developed bullet proof wood , but how is that going to work in practically when it comes to mass manufacturing it for the army or the police? This is one of the biggest challenges that natural scientists face. It’s not that we aren’t trying to produce exciting knowledge, but that the application of such knowledge in a practical and appreciable context is often very difficult. Something like the mRNA technology (which recently was awarded a Nobel) took a long time to be developed into actual vaccines. The question then is, do we underestimate this process? Often it depends on the goal of the scientist. If the knowledge producer set out with an idea to commercialise in mind, then they would often consider the practical implications of findings. However, people studying theoretical physics for example, would struggle to immediately find very accessible real life implications. That doesn’t mean the knowledge is worthless, but certainly, the challenges are there.

What about non-scientific disciplines? Recently, I went to an art exhibition that trend Van Gough’s paintings into a 3D digital display. There was a Banksy exhibition that took the original murals he painted on the street, into this museum environment. Does changing the context of how art work is shown, and the manipulation of artistic knowledge change its meaning? What is the goal of transforming art into a different context? There are many reasons. Sometimes, it is to create satire (have a look at the parodies of the Mona Lisa), bringing old art onto a new audience (like VR exhibitions of Da Vinci), or simply making it more accessible to people (by making art works digitally available). The producers of these adapted forms of knowledge take great care in considering how this impacts the meaning of the art in its changed form. When artwork is so subjective, the context of art is often required to understand the artist’s meaning and intention, to ‘interpret’ works accordingly. At the same time, as we know art is quite subjective, is a ‘correct interpretation’ always required? If we are to remain artistic purists, then many of the joys of art could be lost! Imagine if you were admonished for listening to Taylor Swift through Spotify on your AirPods because it isn’t the original uncompressed music file with all the details, and you aren’t listening to it on the exact set of thousand dollar speakers it was created with? It would be ludicrous to assume that artistic knowledge is always going to be disseminated in the same context. Thus, this must be a consideration of artists. Is this consideration more or less difficult for different types of art? How is this consideration different to science considering there is no ‘right’ answer to interpreting art?

When thinking about this title, we aren’t arguing whether it is difficult. I think we all agree it is. However, it is about whether we underestimate just how difficult it is! Center your focus on how each AOK’s methodology highlights the consideration of being able to change contexts, and whether that affects the interpretation of the knowledge in question.

The term ‘custodians of knowledge’ is not something TOK students have likely heard of before, but this concept is relatively simple to understand. If you think positively about it, it could be protectors of knowledge, people who preserve knowledge, keeping it for generations to come – for example, some people might consider the Indigenous Peoples’ in Australia to be custodians of their unique cultural knowledge and what they call dreamtime stories. In this way, they keep culture alive, even if most people nowadays speak English and don’t readily tell their history. However, thought about negatively, it could also mean “gatekeepers’ (pardon the Gen Z language) of knowledge. The idealogical “protection” of knowledge could also be seen as a way to prevent some forms of knowledge from becoming knowledge in the first place. Talk to any university academic, and they will tell you how many times their research papers have been rejected. That’s why there is a bias towards statistically significant results, while research that showed that nothing significant has happened doesn’t often get published. Thus, these two contrasts provide for interesting discussion, particularly when considering how each AOK has different forms of custodians of knowledge and how they “gatekeep” or “protect” knowledge in different ways.

Take the AOK of the arts as an example. The career of artists are laughed upon because it is so hard to “break in” to the fine world of art. Many artists aren’t acclaimed until they are long dead. Perhaps most famously, the Mona Lisa wasn’t very well known until several hundred years after it was made. Thus, artists are often at the mercy of custodians of artistic knowledge like art curators and critics, who decide what merits acknowledgement as knowledge. After all, knowledge is only knowledge when there is consensus it is. And if the big wigs in the art industry doesn’t think it’s worth a mention, your art, however brilliant it seems to you, would not reach the consensus required to be considered knowledge. Of course, there are debates on the necessity of custodians in such a subjective AOK. After all, there were many times I questioned how some “artworks” even made it into the modern art museum when it’s literally splashes of paint on a canvas. I digress. However, there is something to be said about maintaining some form of standard to art. We judge whether some art is good or bad, but not in a very rigorous way. Custodians of knowledge supposedly have a framework to make such judgement in a way which preserves the nature of the AOK, and the knowledge within it. Therefore, discussion about the necessity of the custodians should focus on how they contribute to the purpose of the AOK, and whether it is compatible with the nature and methodologies of the AOK.

To further illustrate what I mean, you could see that Natural Sciences might present a stronger argument to the necessity of such custodians. We implicitly “trust” science, for better or for worse, because we know that there is a level of credibility imbued by the scientific method. It is the custodians’ role to maintain the standard of adherence to the scientific method that keeps this credibility alive. This is why, when flat earthers argue that they can’t see the curvature of the earth from the horizon, that it doesn’t get published in a scientific journal as fact! This is why, when research emerges that denies the existence of climate change, custodians have a responsibility to retract such research . However, at the same time, it also places much pressure on producers of such knowledge to create something worthy in the eyes of custodians. You might have heard of the data manipulation scandal that forced Stanford’s president to resign. Thus, custodians do appear quite important in this AOK, when we value the truthfulness of knowledge so much, but that isn’t without its consequences.

I recommend picking two contrasting AOKs that value much different things when writing the essay. While comparison is not a requirement for the essay, it gives you a more nuanced understanding of the question and thus a more reflective piece. For instance, we have just demonstrated that art is relatively subjective, while the sciences are less so. Thus, this influences the role which custodians need to play in each AOK.

The framework to answering this title for many students will follow a similar structure: an example of when novel evidence was accepted and had groundbreaking impacts, and another example where such evidence was problematic and disputed. Repeat this for the second AOK you choose and you’ll have 4 contrasting examples. This is not the only way to approach this title, but is my personal preference considering the structure I suggest to most students that ensures firstly, you will pass the basic criteria of a TOK Essay, and secondly, you will have a strong foundation to succeed. However, since everyone will have a similar style and collection of examples, it is even more important for this title, that you tease out the meaning and the effect on each area of knowledge, and knowledge in general, that your examples represent.

To demonstrate what I mean, let’s focus on two natural sciences examples. First, consider the case of “Cold Fusion”, a theory that you could supposedly have nuclear fusion at room temperature, discovered and subsequently debunked in 1989. A contrasting example, could be recent Nobel Prize winner of Medicine and Physiology, for the research on mRNA vaccines. Immediately, it is obvious that one shows where recent evidence isn’t the strongest, while the latter shows that it could be. But the focus should be on are we TOO QUICK in assuming so, not whether we should or not. Well, what are the reactions and timelines for each example? While Cold Fusion was met with excitement from the general public for the potential it holds for energy production, I wouldn’t say we ‘assumed’ it to be strong. Looking at the news reports from that time, you can see that there was great anticipation about the discovery, leading to lots of sudden funding and interest to investigate it and replicate it. As for mRNA, that discovery took a long time! First the technology, and the getting it to not appear foreign to the human body was very tricky. Even after it was discovered, we waited quite a while, with many people’s first experience with mRNA to be their COVID 19 vaccine. What you need to draw from these two examples is the methodological similarities and differences which reflect the NATURE of Science, and thus, the purpose of science. You see in both how there is an emphasis on replication which corroborates or falsifies, and only after doing so for a long time do we accept it to be true, otherwise it is debunked. So yes, there are moments where Natural Sciences provides strong compelling evidence that ends up false, there are many hurdles with in the methodology of the Natural Science that prevents us from being TOO QUICK to assume it to be true.

For this prompt, it is too easy to fall into the debate of why something was true or why something was false and tricked the population. This is not the point of the essay. You should avoid talking about the specifics of your examples at length. You need to demonstrate how your examples reflect the wider methodologies of the Natural Sciences (and similarly, for your second AOK) that either encourages or discourages our assumptions that novel evidence is always best. As you can see from my examples above, I focused on how such assumption does not happen too quickly because there are many ways we verify scientific knowledge to be true. I don’t discuss the specifics of the actual science behind Cold Fusion or mRNA as that isn’t required. You are better off focusing on the methodologies behind the AOKs themselves and answering the question.

Some interesting complements to the Natural Science AOK could be History (particularly focusing on revisionism and how historical events could be interpreted differently over time), Mathematics (how could the methodologies differ and are there ‘mistakes’ in Maths), or even Human Sciences (replication is a bit more difficult with that!).

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20 responses to “explained: may 2024 tok essay prescribed titles”.

Brandon Avatar

Hi, when will you deconstruct #6? Much appreciated.

hackib Avatar

I just did! Hope it helps.

Brandon Avatar

Thank you so much!

dora Avatar

hello! when will you deconstruct #2? would really really appreciate it !!!

Just posted!

Mathias Ndinya Avatar

Hi when will you deconstruct No. 5? Much appreciated.

Tim Habay Avatar

Could you please deconstruct no5. ?

Check it out!

alisha wang Avatar

Please Please deconstruct 5 ASAP, first draft due in 5 days!!!! Thanks!

I just did! It’s a very interesting title.

sally Avatar

Hi, when will you deconstruct #3? Much appreciated.

I have just posted this. Thanks!

TOK2024 Avatar

Hi, when will you deconstruct #4? Thanks!

Just updated!

Jais Avatar

Hi, is there more in depth analysis of title 4 coming?

Sorry it took a while, but it’s here now!

anis ayuni Avatar

I have a question, for PT3, so what will be our possible counterclaim? is it another factor that will make it slow? or find another RLS that show sometimes fresh ideas can be adopted fast ?

I would reread the prescribe title. The title is asking you “why”. So all you need to do is propose different sorts of reasons as to why this slowness occurs. You don’t need to challenge the assumption within the title that it is slow. Accept that it is slow, and propose various ideas for why that is the case according to the properties of your chosen AOK.

MS Avatar

Could you explain how you would format number One. Would I only be talking about two examples one for each AOK and what about them? Introduction, aok 1 and aok2 and conclusions

For sure! You should refer to my article on structuring for TOK Essay for more details. In general though, you can approach this prompt with two examples for each AOK, with one example about subjectivity being overly celebrated, and one not in the arts, while for history, it would be one where it is condemned unfairly vs not.

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Evaluation in ToK Essays: Understanding Different Points of View

Daniel Trump

  • December 12, 2023
  • Student Support , ToK Essay

Introduction to Evaluation in ToK Essays

A subscriber asked me to explain what IB mean by “Different points of view” (aka “evaluation”, or “counterclaims”) in the ToK Essay. This is a fairly detailed exploration of what evaluation means in the context of the Theory of Knowledge (ToK) Essay. “Different points of view” (ie evaluation) is a critical component for achieving a high score, especially for marks 5 or higher in the IB ToK Essay Marking Scheme. This post aims to explain ‘different points of view’, which is central to writing a nuanced and well-argued ToK essay.

The Essence of Evaluation

In ToK essays, ‘different points of view’ / evaluation refers to exploring varied perspectives on a main knowledge claim. Previously termed as ‘counterclaim’, the International Baccalaureate (IB) now focuses on a more nuanced approach, moving away from binary arguments to encompass contrasting perspectives. I often use the term ‘evaluation’ to refer to different points of view as students will be used to using the term evaluation in group 3 subjects like Economics and Psychology.

Examples of Different Points of View

Let’s consider an example from the May 2024 essay topic on Custodians of Knowledge. Suppose the main claim is: “ We don’t need Custodians of Knowledge because they suppress the evolution of knowledge. ” Different points of view, or evaluation points, on this claim could include:

  • Preservation of Knowledge: Custodians of Knowledge preserve existing knowledge, enabling further evolution.
  • Independent Evolution: The evolution of knowledge is independent of custodians, driven by external needs.
  • Co-evolution with Knowledge: Custodians are a byproduct of knowledge evolution, developing alongside it.

Commenting on the relative strength of these arguments and linking them to the prescribed title helps you to develop ‘Implications’, which helps your essay to be placed in a higher marking band.

Developing Different Points of View

Different points of view in a ToK essay can include:

  • Contrasting relationships to the main claim.
  • Additional factors influencing the relationship described by the main claim.
  • Flaws in the causality, or direction of causality, indicated by the main claim.

These perspectives can be developed through the four pillars of knowledge: Acquisition, Production/Construction, Evolution, and Evaluation. By questioning how knowledge in your essay was acquired, produced, evolved, and evaluated, you can effectively develop diverse viewpoints.

Structuring Your ToK Essay

The number of different points of view in your essay depends on your essay’s structure and question. A typical structure might look like this:

  • Claim in AoK 1:
  • Real-world example
  • Different PoV1
  • Different PoV 2 (and possibly 3)
  • Claim in AoK 2:
  • Different PoV 3
  • Different PoV 4 (and possibly 5)

Whether the main claim in Areas of Knowledge (AoK) 1 and 2 should be the same depends on your essay’s approach. A different claim in AoK 2 can provide more evaluatory (“different points of view”) material.

Conclusion and Additional Resources

ToK Essay Help e-book

Understanding and effectively incorporating different points of view is essential for a high-quality ToK essay. It demonstrates critical thinking and the ability to engage with complex ideas from multiple angles. For more detailed guidance and examples on ToK essay structures and writing strategies, refer to the e-book “How to Write the ToK Essay in 6 Easy Steps” and the detailed guidance notes for this season’s essays.

By adeptly evaluating different points of view, your ToK essay can transcend from a mere presentation of ideas to a critical exploration of knowledge, enhancing both its depth and academic rigour.

If you have suggestions for further blogposts/videos get in touch: [email protected], I’d love to hear your ideas.

Stay ToKTastic,

Daniel, Lisbon, Dec 23

Watch the video on YouTube ! :

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Jane Coaston

What the TikTok Bill Is Really About, According to a Leading Republican

An illustration of a man in a suit against a background of phones featuring the TikTok logo.

By Jane Coaston

Ms. Coaston is a contributing Opinion writer.

Last month, the House passed a bill that would require TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, to sell its U.S. business to a company without ties to the Chinese government or face a ban of the TikTok app in the United States.

In Washington, which has become increasingly hawkish toward the Chinese government, worries and fears about the Chinese Communist Party’s role in ByteDance are widespread. But outside Capitol Hill, millions of people — especially younger Americans — use TikTok every day for entertainment and increasingly for search. Even beyond the potential speech or other legal issues, if this bill becomes law and a divestiture doesn’t work, those people might be pretty surprised if they were no longer able to download or update the TikTok app.

Representative Mike Gallagher, Republican of Wisconsin, is a co-sponsor of the legislation. He’s about to leave Congress, but if this becomes law, it will have an effect on social media and U.S.-China relations long after his departure. Many lawmakers in both parties are concerned about the effects of social media on teens. Mr. Gallagher’s much more concerned about the Chinese government, and we spoke about speech concerns, the message to authoritarian governments from a bill like this and how Donald Trump’s fluctuating support affects the chances the bill will become reality.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity and is part of an Opinion Q. and A. series exploring modern conservatism today, its influence in society and politics and how and why it differs (and doesn’t) from the conservative movement that most Americans thought they knew.

Jane Coaston: So what’s the scenario with TikTok that you fear the most? Data theft, misinformation, tracking generations of Americans and then using their information and attention against them? Or something duller than what I’m imagining?

Representative Mike Gallagher: There are two threats. One is what you could call the espionage threat. It’s data security — using the app to find Americans, exfiltrate data, track the location of journalists, etc. We have incidences of this happening already that are in the public domain. That’s a serious threat, but I actually think the greater concern is the propaganda threat. If TikTok continues to establish itself as the dominant news platform in America and if the algorithm remains a black box and subject to the control of ByteDance and, by extension, the Chinese Communist Party, you’re placing the control of information — like what information America’s youth gets — in the hands of America’s foremost adversary. And that’s a risk I don’t think we can afford to take. Obviously, there’s well-established precedent when it comes to traditional media for foreign ownership, which is why we think a divestiture is the most prudent way to guard against both of those threats.

[ In 2022, Forbes reported that TikTok employees pulled the IP addresses and user information of three reporters to monitor their whereabouts after the reporters published a critical article about ByteDance; TikTok said the employees were no longer employed by the company. ]

Coaston: Let’s say I’m 19 years old, I’m in college. I use TikTok for normal stuff. Make the case to me that there’s a security risk.

Gallagher: We have already examples of TikTok, as I mentioned before, spying on journalists. TikTok has not been truthful about where its data was housed in the past, and using TikTok’s own metrics when it comes to comparing content on that platform versus Instagram — recognizing it’s not an apple-to-apples comparison, based on the different way the apps work — there are disparities that don’t make any sense. It can’t be explained away by sounding variables such as the fact that TikTok doesn’t operate in India. And the closer you get to the topics that are sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party — whether it’s Covid origins, whether it’s the Uyghur genocide, whether it’s Hong Kong, etc. — the disparities get more and more severe. Again, this gets back to the black box nature of the algorithm. But the other thing I would say to that 19-year-old who wants to continue to use TikTok, that’s fine. In the scenario that our bill envisions, once the ownership structure changes, the national security concerns are substantially alleviated. I see no reason the user experience can not only continue but also improve.

[ This year TikTok limited access to a tool that researchers used to track trending topics on the platform. In the past, groups like the Network Contagion Research Institute at Rutgers University have found that based on tags, certain topics, like protests about increasing antidemocratic measures in Hong Kong and reports of the confinement and forced labor of Uyghur Muslims in China, are underrepresented on TikTok compared with Instagram. TikTok has said that the Chinese government has no influence over the app. ]

Coaston: How much have you used TikTok? Do you have a burner phone with TikTok on it, by any chance?

Gallagher: I do not. I don’t really use social media at all. I have a staff account, but I made that decision about six years ago, I think, to remove myself personally from it. I don’t have it on my phone. And that was more to me a matter of wanting to be effective, and I found myself not having the time I wanted to do deep thinking and writing and researching, and the minute I got off it, the more my productivity improved. Now, that’s just me personally; I just don’t find it useful. There are occasions when I would use Twitter to sort of monitor various Chinese Communist Party propaganda accounts during the pandemic. I became fascinated with what they were doing to spread kind of dangerous anti-American rhetoric on our platforms.

People will send me TikTok videos sometimes as examples, but I don’t have the app even on a burner phone. I do think when we’re talking about all this stuff — social media companies in America and China — a principle underlying all of it has to be reciprocity. As we have this debate about how and whether to regulate a foreign-adversary-controlled social media application in the United States, it’s worth remembering that our social media applications are not allowed in China. There’s just a basic lack of reciprocity, and your Chinese citizens don’t have access to them. And yet we allow Chinese government officials to go all over YouTube, Facebook and X spreading lies about America. I think this is a microcosm with a broader lack of reciprocity in the entire U.S.-China relationship. And I do think, as a matter of principle, it puts us on firm ground to address this issue.

Coaston: Jameel Jaffer at the Knight First Amendment Institute recently said on X, “A U.S. TikTok ban would be a gift to authoritarian regimes around the world.” There’s also an argument that banning an app in the same way that the Chinese Communists do, as you just mentioned, is basically a propaganda win for China. How should conservative China hawks be thinking about the messages that this ban might send worldwide?

Gallagher: Which is why it’s not structured as a ban and why TikTok lies about it being an outright ban. That argument backfired — and I think the push notification they forced on millions of users actually sort of proved our point about the concerns with how the tool could be weaponized to inject disinformation into the American legislative process and the democratic process. The outcome we’re trying to navigate toward is a divestiture or a sale or a separation. I actually think that’s an outcome that American investors in ByteDance should want. We’re not talking about an outright ban; we’re trying to force a sale. Now, you need a mechanism to force the sale, to be sure. I also would disagree that the bill addresses content or speech; it’s about conduct, specifically foreign adversary control of social media.

[ TikTok has sent messages to users to call their representatives, which resulted in widespread calls to congressional offices. ]

Coaston: So there are some Republican lawmakers who seem most concerned with the mental health of young people rather than something specific to Chinese ownership. In states like Utah, where I live, there are efforts to restrict teen social media usage more broadly. Are you in favor of that more expansive, less libertarian approach to social media and big tech for younger people? For adults?

Gallagher: Well, I think I need to caveat this: I share the concerns, but it’s a separate issue than what this bill is trying to address. What I’m narrowly trying to address with this bill is foreign adversary control of a dominant social media platform and news platform in the United States. Now, once we address that issue, then we can have a bigger debate about the effect of social media more broadly to include American social media companies. I’ve been persuaded by Jonathan Haidt’s work, both in the previous book he wrote with Greg Lukianoff, “The Coddling of the American Mind,” and then Haidt’s book that just came out, “The Anxious Generation,” that it is strongly correlated with the skyrocketing rate of anxiety and depression that we’re seeing among Gen Z. I think it’s worthy of government attention. There’s not an obvious government solution that I’ve been able to address. In fact, right now, my instinct is that it is my responsibility as a parent to set guardrails and not rely on the government to do it for me.

You could, however — and I think this is where Haidt’s analysis has been very persuasive — entertain raising the internet age of adulthood. And that is something that I haven’t seen a piece of legislation yet that I’m ready to co-sponsor, but the idea makes sense to me, and I think there would be government authority to do that if we decided to do that. But again, that is not what this bill is about.

The other idea, which I think is sensible but doesn’t lend itself to federal legislation — though there might be state and local efforts at the school-district level — is finding a way to incentivize, if not mandate, phone-free schools. Haidt’s analysis is very good at highlighting the benefits of doing that. But again, that’s not something I would legislate as a member of Congress, if that makes sense. As a parent, I’m terrified about the corrosive impact of social media. I even see it among my colleagues, and I referenced my own experience and how social media, I think, really sapped my own productivity. I think there’s a way in which it precludes us from having a serious debate on certain policy issues because there’s no shared epistemological framework. We’re debating what is true and what isn’t, and we spend all our time on that, and we never get to the actual debate over policy. But again, that’s just a broader issue, and it’s not addressed by our bill right now.

Coaston: So Donald Trump supported banning TikTok, and now he doesn’t. How much harder does that make it for Republicans to vote for this legislation?

Gallagher: So in many ways I was surprised by his statement because a lot of this started with Trump. I mean, he was ahead of the curve when he tried to address the national security problems posed by ByteDance ownership of TikTok. And our bill is an extension of that effort. Obviously his effort ran into a legal buzz saw. We tried to learn from that and draft the bill in a way where it would survive a legal challenge and was on the strongest constitutional grounds. The bill is not trying to shut TikTok down and then force all its users onto Facebook. So if that’s the former president’s concern, then this bill should not worry him, because that is not the intent, and that, I don’t think, is what would practically happen. And then we had the vote after he made the statement, and we still got 352 votes. I think that just shows that there’s serious bipartisan concerns about ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok, and either this administration or the next administration, which could be the Trump administration, is going to have to address it.

After the interview, I followed up with Mr. Gallagher via email on a few points. These have also been edited for length and clarity.

Coaston: Conservatives also used to be pretty leery of government control and intervention. The approach of many conservatives to TikTok feels to me like “government knows best” and “government will call the shots.” Did conservatives change their way of thinking, or is China just scaring the hell out of them?

Gallagher: There’s a clear precedent of the government protecting Americans from national security threats posed by foreign-adversary-controlled applications and preventing our foreign adversaries from influencing the American airwaves. For a century, the Federal Communications Commission has blocked concentrated foreign ownership of radio and television assets on national security grounds, and in 2020, CFIUS (the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States) forced a divestment of the app Grindr, citing national security concerns stemming from its Chinese ownership.

Coaston: Clearly, there are a lot of younger people who would be upset if a divestment didn’t work and TikTok no longer operated in the United States. How do you think about the politics of that?

Gallagher: Fortunately for the kids, this bill presents a great opportunity for ByteDance to divest of TikTok and continue operating in the United States. This decision is squarely in TikTok’s hands.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips . And here’s our email: [email protected] .

Follow the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook , Instagram , TikTok , WhatsApp , X and Threads .

Jane Coaston was the host of Opinion’s podcast “ The Argument .” Previously, she reported on conservative politics, the G.O.P. and the rise of the right. She also co-hosted the podcast “The Weeds.” @ janecoaston


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