Body of knowledge

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A Body of Knowledge (BOK or BoK) is the complete set of concepts, terms and activities that make up a professional domain, as defined by the relevant learned society or professional association.[1] It is a type of knowledge representation by any knowledge organization. In the theory several definitions are given, for example:

  • Body of Knowledge is: (1) "Structured knowledge that is used by members of a discipline to guide their practice or work.” (2) “The prescribed aggregation of knowledge in a particular area an individual is expected to have mastered to be considered or certified as a practitioner.” (BOK-def). Waite’s pragmatic view is also worth noting: “BOK is a stepping stone to unifying community” (Waite 2004).[2] - Tuncer Ören (2005), [3]
  • A 'Body of Knowledge' (BOK) is a set of accepted and agreed upon standards and nomenclatures pertaining to a field or profession. - INFORMS, 2009[4]
  • A body of knowledge (BOK) is a set of knowledge within a profession or subject area which is generally agreed as both essential and generally known. - Gary R. Oliver, 2012[1]

A body of knowledge is the accepted ontology for a specific domain. A BOK is more than simply a collection of terms; a professional reading list; a library; a website or a collection of websites; a description of professional functions; or even a collection of information.

Examples of bodies of knowledge

The following are examples of bodies of knowledge from professional organisations:


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gary R. Oliver. Foundations of the Assumed Business Operations and Strategy Body of Knowledge (BOSBOK): An Outline of Shareable Knowledge. 2012. p. 3.
  2. Waite, W. (2004). "V&V Education Initiatives," Foundations ’04.
  3. Ören, Tüncer I. "Toward the body of knowledge of modeling and simulation." Proceedings of the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation Conference, Orlando, FL, Nov. 2005.
  4. Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences. National Meeting (2009) INFORMS Conference Program, p. 65.