This work proposes a new methodology for establishing the tractability of a reasoning service that deals with expressive first-order knowledge bases. It consists of defining a logic that is weaker than classical logic and that has two properties: first, the entailment problem can be reduced to the model checking problem for a small number of characteristic models; and second, the model checking problem itself is tractable for formulas with a bounded number of variables. We show this methodology in action for the reasoning service previously proposed by Liu, Lakemeyer and Levesque for dealing with disjunctive information. They show that their reasoning is tractable in the propositional case and decidable in the first-order case. Here we apply the methodology and prove that the reasoning is also tractable in the first-order case if the knowledge base and the query both use a bounded number of variables.