Educational Psychology Review

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 3–54

Domain-Generality and Domain-Specificity in Personal Epistemology Research: Philosophical and Empirical Reflections in the Development of a Theoretical Framework

  • Krista R. Muis
  • Lisa D. Bendixen
  • Florian C. Haerle
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10648-006-9003-6

Cite this article as:
Muis, K.R., Bendixen, L.D. & Haerle, F.C. Educ Psychol Rev (2006) 18: 3. doi:10.1007/s10648-006-9003-6


This review synthesizes and critically examines 19 empirical studies that have addressed the domain-specificity/domain-generality issue in personal epistemology. We present an overview of traditional and more contemporary epistemological stances from philosophical perspectives to offer another basis from which to examine this issue. Explicit examples of academic domains are described and epistemological comparisons are made based on our synthesized definition. Given the epistemological similarities and differences across domains that we identified from empirical and philosophical considerations, we propose that beliefs are both domain general and domain specific. Accordingly, we present a theoretical framework of personal epistemology that incorporates both positions and hypothesize how the belief systems might interact in terms of the development of personal epistemology and relations to various facets of cognition, motivation, and achievement. The article ends with a discussion of educational implications.


Personal epistemology Domain-specificity/domain-generality Philosophy Development 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krista R. Muis
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lisa D. Bendixen
    • 1
  • Florian C. Haerle
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA
  2. 2.Carl von Ossietzky UniversityOldenburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Educational PsychologyUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA

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