Comparison of Omniscient Authority Epistemological Beliefs across Environmental Sciences, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics

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Epistemological beliefs are defined as the nature, sources, and limits of knowledge. Initially, research on epistemological beliefs was conducted with an implicit assumption that epistemological beliefs are similar across different domains of knowledge. In this study, this assumption was tested by investigating how much confidence pre-service science teachers (PSTs) have in the knowledge generated by experts in the domains of environmental sciences, physics, chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Investigation of PSTs’ epistemological beliefs is noteworthy since their conceptions of knowledge are likely to influence their attitudes toward education and, ultimately, their performance in educational settings and our future generations. The sample of this study is comprised of nineteen PSTs. They were asked to describe their epistemological beliefs using percentages with a set of open-ended questions and then compared the five fields directly in terms of their confidence to experts. PSTs expressed more negative beliefs about experts in environmental sciences such that experts do not reflect their own conclusions and advice thoroughly. Moreover, they emphasized that among the disciplines they have more trust in scientists in mathematics because the knowledge produced by these researchers are proven facts. Overall, the results of this study indicated that epistemological beliefs can differ among different domains. In line with the results of the present study, educational implications and directions for future research were discussed.

Keywords: Personal Epistemological Beliefs, Domain-Specific Epistemological Beliefs, Pre-Service Science Teachers
Stream: Teacher Training and Professional Development
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Elif Adibelli

Research Assistant, Elementary Education Department, Middle East Technical University
Ankara, Turkey

Ozgul Yilmaz-Tuzun

Associate Professor, Elementary Education Department, Middle East Technical University
Ankara, Turkey

Gaye Teksoz

Assistant Professor, Elementary Education, Middle East Technical University
Ankara, Turkey

Marlene Schommer-Atkins

Professor, Counseling, Educational and School Psychology, Wichita State University
Kansas, USA

Ref: L09P1328