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Unpacking students’ epistemic cognition in a physics problem‐solving environment
Umeå University. (UmSER)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5251-0374
Umeå University.
University College London, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2019 (English)In: Journal of Research in Science Teaching, ISSN 0022-4308, E-ISSN 1098-2736, p. 1-38Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

It is a widely held view that students’ epistemic beliefs influence the way they think and learn in a given context, however, in the science learning context, the relationship between sophisticated epistemic beliefs and success in scientific practice is sometimes ambiguous. Taking this inconsistency as a point of departure, we examined the relationship between students’ scientific epistemic beliefs (SEB), their epistemic practices, and their epistemic cognition in a computer simulation in classical mechanics. Tenth grade students’ manipulations of the simulation, spoken comments, and behavior were screen and video‐recorded and subsequently transcribed and coded. In addition, a stimulated recall interview was undertaken to access students’ thinking and reflections on their practice, in order to understand their practice and make inferences about their process of epistemic cognition. The paper reports on the detailed analysis of the data sets for three students of widely different SEB and performance levels. Comparing the SEB, problem solutions and epistemic practices of the three students has enabled us to examine the interplay between SEB, problem‐solving strategies (PS), conceptual understanding (CU), and metacognitive reflection (MCR), to see how these operate together to facilitate problem solutions. From the analysis, we can better understand how different students’ epistemic cognition is adaptive to the context. The findings have implications for teaching science and further research into epistemic cognition.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2019. p. 1-38
Keywords [en]
epistemic beliefs, physics simulation, problem solving
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147666DOI: 10.1002/tea.21606OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-147666DiVA, id: diva2:1205390
Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2019-11-19
In thesis
1. "Kunskap är vad du vet, och vet du inte kan du alltid googla!": elevers epistemic beliefs i naturvetenskaplig undervisningskontext
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Kunskap är vad du vet, och vet du inte kan du alltid googla!": elevers epistemic beliefs i naturvetenskaplig undervisningskontext
2018 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

One important goal of science education is to help students develop an adequate understanding of what science is and how it is done. An understanding of science includes epistemic beliefs, that is, individuals’ beliefs about the nature of knowledge, how knowledge is constructed, and how knowledge can be justified. The epistemic beliefs are hypothesized to exist on a continuum ranging from naïve to sophisticated. Students’ epistemic beliefs and their epistemic cognition have been shown to influence various facets of learning. The overarching purpose of this thesis is to contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the role played by epistemic beliefs within the context of science education. The thesis intended to answer the following three general questions within a scientific context: 1) What prerequisites for drawing conclusions about epistemic beliefs are given based on the choice of questionnaire as a measurement method, including its design and content? 2) What is the relation between students’ epistemic beliefs and other phenomena that are important in learning situations? 3) What is the relation between students’ epistemic beliefs and their epistemic practices?

The studies used both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine students’ epistemic beliefs and epistemic practices. Data sources included questionnaires, video and screen observations, and semi-structured interviews. Participants in the studies were students in Grade 5-11 in Sweden and Germany. A series of four papers address the purpose of the thesis and respond to the three general questions. The first paper investigate relations between students’ epistemic beliefs and perceived classroom characteristics and whether differences could be found between the two countries. The second paper investigate the relative importance of epistemic beliefs dimensions for predicting achievement goals in Grade 5 through 11, in both a cross-sectional and a longitudinal study. The third paper explore the relationships between students’ scientific epistemic beliefs, their problemsolving process, and the quality of solutions produced by students. Finally, the fourth paper describe students’ epistemic practices of problem solving in science and their sense making in the moment, to deepen the understanding of the process of the students’ epistemic cognition. In relation to the first question, results indicate that the chosen measurement method for epistemic beliefs generates certain prerequisites for how epistemic beliefs can be understood and characterized. This in turn may have consequences when epistemic beliefs are studied in relation to, for example, other phenomena and epistemic practices. With regard to the second question, findings show that there are many relationships between epistemic beliefs and other phenomena, but also that they are in many cases context and/or situation dependent. Regarding the third question, the results point out that the relationship between students’ epistemic beliefs and their epistemic practices should be understood by how the students show, through words and actions, that they understand what the situation requires. Thus, there is no universal relationship between sophisticated epistemic beliefs and successful epistemic practices. It can be concluded that students’ epistemic beliefs do not exist in a vacuum without interacting with other phenomena, but that they depend on the surrounding context or situation in different ways. More studies that take into account different types of situations are required. This would in turn most likely also contribute to a better understanding of how students’ epistemic beliefs, epistemic cognition, and epistemic practices develop in relation to the surrounding teaching context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för naturvetenskapernas och matematikens didaktik, Umeå universitet, 2018. p. 73
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 83
Series
Studies in science and technology education, ISSN 1652-5051 ; 103
Keywords
problemlösning, kunskapssyn, lärandemål, lärandemiljö, simulering, motivation
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147670 (URN)978-91-7601-887-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-06-08, N320, Naturvetarhuset, Umeå, 09:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-18 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2018-12-19Bibliographically approved

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Lindfors, MariaBodin, Madelen

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