Many students will be busy putting the finishing touches to their TOK presentations, here are a few last minute pieces of advice. The planning document is the only evidence the IBO will have of your presentation, make sure it is filled in to ensure the best possible mark. As a matter of good practice, initially try and choose two or three Real Life Situations (RLS) before settling on one of them, not all RLS will necessarily provide good TOK material. Make a note of all the questions raised by the RLS and try and connect the latter to TOK concepts and material (e.g. WoKs, AoKs, Personal/Shared Knowledge…). From those you should be able to create one or more Knowledge Questions (KQ), then choose the one you are most comfortable with or most interested in exploring.

Let’s go through the form and highlight the dos and donts of the most important sections of the TOK Presentation Planning Document.

  1. The title: It should not be the Knowledge Question but a brief, if possible, memorable one highlighting the main theme of the presentation (e.g. The Pitfalls of Social Media).
  2. The RLS: This is the foundation of the whole presentation and therefore must be got right. An RLS can be any event rooted in time and place. Make sure it is described in sufficient detail including the key facts about its context (where, when, who, what, why…). Make sure any source used is acknowledged at some point.
  3. The KQ: The KQ should clearly emerge from the RLS and be expressed in general terms, it should not refer to the RLS explicitly (e.g. To what extent does Reason provide more reliable knowledge than Emotion in Ethics?).
  4. The Connections: Explain the steps taken from choosing the RLS to the creation of the KQ. The steps suggested in the opening paragraph could be used here. This is about making the connection between the RLS and the KQ as clear and explicit as possible.
  5. The Development: This is where the core of the presentation is to be found. There is no need to repeat the RLS or KQ at this point. Make sure you identify the subsidiary KQs (SKQ) you are going to use to develop your ideas, and briefly outline your answer. Also make sure you refer back to your RLS to illustrate your points. This section should be clearly presented, making sure that bullet points/numbers/letters are used to indicate the different sections. Depending on the length of the presentation two SKQs by candidate should be enough.
  6. The conclusions: This section should be in three parts. Firstly, outline your conclusion(s) and the reasons for them, make sure you have answered your main KQ. Secondly, explain why these are important or why they matter (e.g. their significance), if possible how they provide interesting insights into your chosen RLS. Lastly, show how your conclusions may be relevant to other RLSs (two should be sufficient). Be careful not to choose RLSs which are identical or too similar to your original one. A good way of doing this is to connect those to WoKs or AoKs not referred to in the core of your presentation.
  7. Lastly, make sure your sources are clearly acknowledged.

The planning document is in many ways an outline not unlike an essay plan. Make sure you aim to cover all the key criteria set out in the presentation assessment instrument.

Namely, your outline will show clear connections between your chosen RLS and your KQ. The latter will be explored in detail through relevant subsidiary KQs and the original RLS will be effectively used to illustrate the arguments. An appreciation for the limitations (different perspectives) of your arguments will have been shown. Clear, relevant and pertinent conclusions will be stated with appropriate implications of the latter will be pointed out.

Good luck!