The IBO have finally published a leaflet on this elusive but extremely important concept that provides the foundations to any TOK presentation and essay. Here's the link to the document on the IBTOKSPOT website: Knowledge Understanding Issues.
Remember: KIs are usually formulated as questions. You will gain higher marks if you're capable of formulating specific and focused OPEN questions using the TOK terminology presented to you at the start of your studies. This means:
1/ Steer clear of using verbs at the start of your questions: 'Can...?', 'Do/Does...?', 'Have/Has...?', 'Will...?'. These sentence starters will lead you to create CLOSED questions which have either a yes or no answer.
2/ Use instead the words 'How...?', 'Why...?', 'What...?', 'Where...?', 'When...?' at the start of your question. Alternatively, use the phrases 'How far...?', 'In what way....?', 'To what extent...?' to begin your question. In this way, you can create questions that will push you to explore your topic more widely and deman more rigorous arguments and counter-arguments.
Here's a key paragraph from the IBO document that you should study well since it gives you some key trigger vocubulary to set you on your way to formulating challenging and relevant KIs:
"Knowledge issues that are most likely to support high levels of achievement are:
• open-ended questions that admit more than one possible answer
• explicitly about knowledge in itself and not subject-specific claims
• couched in terms of TOK vocabulary and concepts: the areas of knowledge, the ways ofknowing and the concepts in the linking questions—belief, certainty, culture, evidence,experience, explanation, interpretation, intuition, justification, truth, values
• precise in terms of the relationships between these concepts."
('Understanding Knowledge Issues, IBO, 2009)
Click onto the Knowledge Issues tab on the left to look at other clarifying articles on the subject.