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"Kunskap är vad du vet, och vet du inte kan du alltid googla!": elevers epistemic beliefs i naturvetenskaplig undervisningskontext
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UmSER)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5251-0374
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 [sv]
problemlösning, kunskapssyn, lärandemål, lärandemiljö, simulering, motivation
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147670ISBN: 978-91-7601-887-3 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-147670DiVA, id: diva2:1205419
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
List of papers
1. Students’ epistemic beliefs in Sweden and Germany and their interrelations with classroom characteristics
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Students’ epistemic beliefs in Sweden and Germany and their interrelations with classroom characteristics
2019 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0031-3831, E-ISSN 1470-1170, Vol. Published online: 29 Aug 2019Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the field of epistemic belief research, more studies on how these beliefs are formed in different cultural contexts are called for. Moreover, there are strong assumptions that teachers’ instructional practices are paramount to the development of students’ epistemic beliefs. The current study aims at investigating differences between Sweden and Germany in both, and in their relationships. A cross-sectional study was conducted with 4,731 students in Grades 5 through 11. To sum up, latent multi group comparison revealed several differences in the level of students’ beliefs and classroom characteristics. Moreover, latent regression analyses showed that the observed classroom characteristics were significant predictors of students’ beliefs concerning the justification and development of knowledge, and that the prediction pattern differ between countries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2019
Keywords
Students’ epistemic beliefs, classroom context, cross-country comparison, national cultural differences
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147664 (URN)10.1080/00313831.2019.1651763 (DOI)2-s2.0-85071316130 (Scopus ID)
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2013-2180
Note

Originally included in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2019-11-15Bibliographically approved
2. Relationships between epistemic beliefs and achievement goals: developmental trends over grades 5–11
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Relationships between epistemic beliefs and achievement goals: developmental trends over grades 5–11
2019 (English)In: European Journal of Psychology of Education, ISSN 0256-2928, E-ISSN 1878-5174, Vol. 34, no 2, p. 295-315Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Examining how students' epistemic beliefs (EB) influence their cognition is central to EB research. Recently, the relation between students' EB and their motivation has gained attention. In the present study, we investigate the development of the relationship between students' EB and their achievement goals (AG) over grades 5–11. Previous studies on this topic are limited, in both number and range, and have produced inconsistent results. We performed a cross-sectional study, ranging over grades 5–11, and a 3-year longitudinal study (n = 1230 and 323, respectively). Data on students' EB and AG were collected via questionnaires. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) supported a two-factor goal model (Mastery and Performance goals) and a structure of students' EB comprising Certainty, Source, Development, and Justification. For each grade, students' CFA scores on the respective goals were regressed on their scores on the EB dimensions by orthogonal projection to latent structures analysis. Although results indicated a weak relation between students' EB and AG, trends in the cross-sectional data were largely replicated in the longitudinal study. Though naïve EB were in general associated with performance goals and sophisticated EB with mastery goals, the transition to upper secondary school was associated with changes in the relationship between students' EB and AG. We discuss how the commonly used formulations of EB items may affect their ability to measure the naïve-sophisticated continuum, in turn affecting the predictive roles of EB dimensions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019
Keywords
Epistemic beliefs, Achievement goals, Relationship, Development, Grade 5 11, Science
National Category
Didactics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147665 (URN)10.1007/s10212-018-0391-z (DOI)000461328900002 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2013-2180
Note

Originally published in thesis in manuscript form.

Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2019-04-23Bibliographically approved
3. The role of students' scientific epistemic beliefs in computer-simulated problem solving
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of students' scientific epistemic beliefs in computer-simulated problem solving
2019 (English)In: Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, ISSN 0031-3831, E-ISSN 1470-1170, Vol. 63, no 1, p. 124-144Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on how epistemic beliefs influence students' learning in different contexts is ambiguous. Given this, we have examined the relationships between students' scientific epistemic beliefs, their problem solving, and solutions in a constructionist computer-simulation in classical mechanics. The problem solving process and performance of 19 tenth grade students, with different scientific epistemic beliefs, was video recorded and inductively coded. Quantitative analysis revealed that different sets of epistemic beliefs were conducive to different aspects of students' problem solving process and outcomes.  Theoretically sophisticated beliefs were in general associated with logical strategies and high solution complexity. However, authority dependence was associated with high degree of adherence to instructions. Hence, there might not be a universal relationship between theoretical sophistication of students' epistemic beliefs and quality of learning outcomes. We suggest that the conduciveness to desired outcomes is a better measure of sophistication than theoretical non-contextualized a priori assumptions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Routledge, 2019
Keywords
Epistemic beliefs, problem solving, computer simulation, sophistication
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-134192 (URN)10.1080/00313831.2017.1324907 (DOI)000451601200008 ()2-s2.0-85020209220 (Scopus ID)
Projects
DOLIS
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 721-2013-2180
Available from: 2017-04-28 Created: 2017-04-28 Last updated: 2019-10-16Bibliographically approved
4. Unpacking students’ epistemic cognition in a physics problem‐solving environment
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Unpacking students’ epistemic cognition in a physics problem‐solving environment
2019 (English)In: Journal of Research in Science Teaching, ISSN 0022-4308, E-ISSN 1098-2736, Vol. pu blished 08 November 2019, p. 1-38Article in journal (Refereed) Published
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 Periodicals, Inc., 2019
Keywords
epistemic beliefs, physics simulation, problem solving
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-147666 (URN)10.1002/tea.21606 (DOI)
Available from: 2018-05-14 Created: 2018-05-14 Last updated: 2019-11-11

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Lindfors, Maria

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