The purpose of this study was to acquire a better understanding of the interaction between scientific epistemological beliefs and learning orientations in a group of Taiwanese eighth graders. After analyzing questionnaire responses of an initial sample of 202 students, 20 information-rich students were selected as the final subjects for this study. A qualitative analysis through interviewing of the subjects revealed that students holding constructivist epistemological beliefs about science (knowledge constructivists) tended to learn through constructivist-oriented instructional activities, and employ a more active manner as well as more meaningful strategies when learning science, whereas students having epistemological beliefs, more aligned with empiricism (knowledge empiricists), tended to use more rote-like strategies to enhance their understanding. Knowledge constructivist subjects tended to have more pragmatic views about the value of science and they were mainly motivated by their interest and curiosity about science, whereas knowledge empiricist subjects were mainly motivated by performance on examinations. This article suggests the importance of presenting the constructivist philosophy of science for students. It follows that students are expected to have more meaningful orientations, as well as more appropriate attitudes, toward learning science. ? 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Sci Ed 82:473?489, 1998.