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The role of educational context in beliefs about knowledge, information, and truth: an exploratory study

A Correction to this article was published on 27 December 2017

This article has been updated

Abstract

Beliefs about knowledge have been found to relate to a variety of student outcomes and to vary across educational domains and instructional contexts. However, there are limited data on students’ beliefs about information and truth, vis-à-vis knowledge (i.e., epistemic beliefs) and how these beliefs differ across instructional settings. Undergraduates from two educational contexts, in the USA (n = 240) and the Netherlands (n = 72), participated in this study. While students in the USA were enrolled primarily in lecture and discussion classes, students in the Netherlands followed a problem-based learning curriculum. Beliefs about knowledge, information, and truth and their interrelations were examined across these two contexts through graphical and written justification tasks. Results from this exploratory study indicate that Dutch students were more likely than American students to depict knowledge, information, and truth as subjective and to define knowledge and information as synonymous. Commonalities and differences associated with educational backgrounds are considered in relation to instructional implications.

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  • 27 December 2017

    An earlier version of this paper contained incorrect tables due to a publication error. Tables have now been corrected.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

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Correspondence to Alexandra List.

Additional information

Alexandra List. Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education, Penn State University, 227 Cedar Building, State College, PA 16820, USA. E-mail: azl261@psu.edu; Web site: https://ed.psu.edu/directory/azl261

Current themes of research:

Multiple text comprehension and integration. Multiple text evaluation. Individual differences in multiple source use.

Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

List, A., Grossnickle, E. M., & Alexander, P. A. (2016). Profiling students’ multiple source use by question type. Reading Psychology, 37(5), 753–797.

List, A., Grossnickle, E. M., & Alexander, P. A. (2016). Undergraduate students’ justifications for source selection in a digital academic context. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 54(1), 22–61.

Emily Grossnickle Peterson. School of Education, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Spring Valley Building, Washington, DC 20016, USA. Web site: http://www.jmu.edu/news/cise/2016/11/23-emily-grossnickle-award.shtml

Current themes of research:

Relational reasoning. Interest. Curiosity. Text processing.

Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Grossnickle, E. M., List, A., & Alexander, P. A. (2015). Elementary and middle school students’ conceptions of knowledge, information, and truth. The Journal of Experimental Education, 83(4), 469–494.

Patricia A. Alexander. Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methods, College of Education, University of Maryland, 3304 Benjamin Building, College Park, MD 20742, USA. E-mail: palexand@umd.edu

Current themes of research:

Relational reasoning. Expertise development. Reading. Epistemic beliefs.

Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Alexander, P. A., Winters, F. I., Loughlin, S. M., & Grossnickle, E. M. (2012). Students’ conceptions of knowledge, information, and truth. Learning and Instruction, 22(1), 1–15.

Sofie M. M. Loyens. University College Roosevelt, P.O. Box 94, 4330 AB Middelburg, Netherlands. E-mail: s.loyens@ucr.nl; Web site: http://www.ucr.nl/about-ucr/Faculty-and-Staff/Academic-Core/Pages/Sofie-Loyens.aspx

Current themes of research:

Problem-based learning. Motivation. Video-based modeling.

Most relevant publications in the field of Psychology of Education:

Loyens, S. M., Magda, J., & Rikers, R. M. (2008). Self-directed learning in problem-based learning and its relationships with self-regulated learning. Educational Psychology Review, 20(4), 411–427.

Loyens, S. M., Rikers, R. M., & Schmidt, H. G. (2006). Students’ conceptions of constructivist learning: a comparison between a traditional and a problem-based learning curriculum. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 11(4), 365–379.

An earlier version of this paper contained incorrect tables due to a publication error. Tables were corrected in this version.

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List, A., Peterson, E.G., Alexander, P.A. et al. The role of educational context in beliefs about knowledge, information, and truth: an exploratory study. Eur J Psychol Educ 33, 685–705 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-017-0359-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-017-0359-4

Keywords

  • Knowledge
  • Information
  • Truth
  • Epistemic beliefs
  • Educational context