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Futurology: TOK

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Part of Book:Futurology

In futures studies, it is sometimes beneficial to analyze using some of the central tenets of Theory of Knowledge courses now being taught in IB educational programs.


Bias

Bias is inherent in every writer's drafts. However, it is not hard to pinpoint. To clear your articles and edits of bias, please proofread them from the perspective of an opponent or the general public. In doing so, do you detect some cases of obvious unfair writing that you would disagree with or would not like to see written? If so, you now know where you need to modify your contribution, and you have also become a bit more skilled at locating your personal bias.

  • Example: "All Islamists are terrorist fundamentalists"-- not true for the vast majority of Islamists, and definitely will result in animosity from more readers than just those Islamists being targeted.
  • Example: "In the future, people must be futurewise or they shall be left behind"-- while this may be true, it does not reflect the beliefs of the majority of the population, who are psychologically more prone to being conservative than radical.

How much do you know on your topic for sure? Most people do not realize it, but their bias has such an extensive influence on their perception of the world around them that they may fall into the trap of accepting their bias as a total truth.

Please take all possible precautions to reduce the amount of bias present in your work. It appears to strengthen your writing, but it actually hinders it, considering the ability of most people to see and discredit biased writing.

Justification

In any prediction, there should be a good reason for its occurrence. Therefore, any claims that you present in your article should be justified appropriately. In doing so, you strengthen your article by showing why it is possible or probable.

Justification is easier than you might think. If you are writing an article because you have just read something that involved the subject, then your justification is already done—simply cite that source at the bottom of your entry.

Not only does this addition help to spice up your essay, but it also shows that you are knowledgeable with your topic, that you have considered it from various points of view, and that you have strong analytical skills—a must have if your object is to convince your reader of your mastery over the topic that you wish to present.

Readers are much more likely to believe in your claims and arguments if you support them with rationalization and critical analysis. Finally, if your claims are strongly grounded in logic and proof, potential opponents and critics will have more difficulty in attacking your claims.

Limitation

Given the uncertainty in any prediction, almost nothing presented on the Future Wikia can be taken as definite. Therefore, take care to avoid terms such as "will" and "must" or otherwise self-assured language, which will only cause readers to discredit you as a novice, and replace these words with less absolutist terms such as "maybe" or categorize your piece as a scenario.

  • Example: "We cannot know the future."-- true, but then exactly what is the future? We can know some things to a reasonable extent.
  • Example: "Wikipedia gives all the information on all topics that you may want to know."-- Wikipedia is HUGE, but as the contributors are not screened before-hand, the reliability of the source is of great controversy in schools.

Taking care to present the limitations of your argument may seem to contradict the very claims that you are trying to make, and would seem detrimental to your objective. Keep in mind, however, that realizing that you have limitations demonstrates that you understand your subject matter and that you are scholarly enough to discuss the subject on a very high level. Thus, your audience will look upon your article and think to themselves that you are clearly aware of what you are doing.

A Note on Accuracy

Accuracy: Please take the time to proofread your work. Using Microsoft Word's grammar and spelling check will save you much time, and also pinpoint your weak areas. Also, make sure that your work is reliable and plausible.

  • Example: "See main article: Futur:Concepts"-- this is spelled wrong. Especially when it comes to links, make sure they work.
  • Example: "You've folowed a link to a page that yet doesn't exist."—this has an error in both spelling and grammar.

Accuracy cannot be emphasized too much. A typographical or grammatical error can be much more noticeable than a weakness in reasoning, and therefore can easily ruin the appearance of your article. Therefore, reviewing your contribution is always a must for any contributions that you make.

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