Remember that “common knowledge” is cultural. Assume an international examiner. Especially with “popular culture” references.
Don’t spend time criticizing the title!
What are the knowledge issues?
What stance will you take?
What AoKs and WoKs will you address?
What are the examples?
Deal with any counterclaims.
Note any implications.
Writing “Formal / Academic” essays: basic plan (e.g. “Essay” questions in History, Geography, Science, English, extended essays and TOK essays)
Introduces the TOPIC or interprets the QUESTION and mentions the
different ASPECTS which will be covered in the essay WITHOUT
Presents a LOGICAL PROGRESSION of ASPECTS of the topic, along
with EXAMPLES, EXPLANATIONS and INTERPRETATIONS of
meaning, ARGUMENTS in support of a point of view and / or
EVALUATES the evidence and presents your OPINION or your
CHOICE in the matter with PERSONAL REASONS for your decision.
For ToK specifically..
What to put in the Introduction: Make sure the key concepts you use are discussed in the introduction along with a statement of the Knowledge Issues and a brief statement of your position. You should give the reader some helpful signposts here about how you will deal with the issues raised in the Title.
What to put in the Body of the Essay: The arguments and main examples should appear in the body of the essay. Here you should give some detailed support for your position. Then there should be some anticipation of possible weaknesses in, or objections to, your position.
What to put in the Conclusion: The conclusion should state an evaluation of the arguments presented and the implications of this. There should be an answer to the question "So what?" For example you could end with a 'forward looking view'.
Paragraph 1: hook, background information, thesis Paragraph 2: a.o.k. #1 explanation and example(s) Paragraph 3: counter-example(s) and rebuttal(s) Paragraph 4: a.o.k. #2 explanation and example(s)– the relationship to a.o.k.#1 Paragraph 5: counter-example(s) and rebuttal(s) Paragraph 6: sum up your argument refer back to the knowledge question explain why your information matters
…such as "Since the dawn of time man has been obsessed with knowledge.” The essay
does not need a romantic lead-in so you should start it straight away. Like a film the first paragraph should be packed with TOK Action.
Gross Unsubstantiated Generalizations
…such as "Americans see wealth itself as a moral good". Be very
careful with the use of the word ‘all’. Check carefully what it is you want
The embodiment of moral good -according to ALL Americans.
These are fictional examples usually based on stereotyping - "An Israeli would regard the Defensive Wall as necessary while a Palestinian would see it as an infringement of his basic human liberties". Rather than relying on fiction, try and find a statement made by a real Israeli and a real Palestinian.
Worse are examples which typecast Areas of Knowledge, such as "A scientist would look at the statue and try to work out the forces in it while an artist would react emotionally to it" or "All scientists are atheists” and “religious believers are highly emotional and prone to superstition".