Investigation of Students’ Personal Epistemologies in the Judgments of Truth about the Social and Physical World Considering Their Grade Level and Gender

Şen M., Kamacı Y.

KAFKAS EĞİTİM ARAŞTIRMALARI DERGİSİ, vol.10, no.3, pp.432-453, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)


Students’ epistemological beliefs are important in science education as developed epistemological beliefs facilitate learning, reasoning skills, academic performance, and engagement in debates. This study specifically addresses two issues about personal epistemology: grade level and gender. As a theoretical framework, the developmental view was adopted in this study and the Epistemological Belief Instrument developed by Kuhn et al. (2000) was used to collect data. Therefore, personal epistemology was defined in three hierarchical categories: absolutism, multiplism, and evaluativism. Two domains of personal epistemology which are physical truth and social truth were studied in this study. A total of 430 students ranging from primary school to the university level participated in the study. The relationships between grade level, gender, and personal epistemology were analyzed by use of the chi-square test of independence. The findings showed a significant relationship between grade level and judgment of social truth with a small effect size. The same relation was also observed between gender and judgment of social truth. On the other hand, no significant relationship was observed between gender and the judgment of physical truth, and between grade level and the judgment of physical truth. We think that the findings contribute to understanding the nature of personal epistemology regarding developmental level and gender.