Differences in the scientific epistemological views of undergraduate students

Shiang Yao Liu*, Chin Chung Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to examine whether science and non-science major students have different scientific epistemological views (SEVs). A multidimensional instrument previously developed by the authors was used to assess differences in college students' SEV of various aspects. A total of 220 freshmen (42% science and 58% non-science majors) attending two public universities participated in this investigation. Results indicated that the science majors have less sophisticated beliefs in the theory-laden and cultural-dependent aspects of science than non-science majors. Analysis of variance results further revealed significant differences in SEV dimensions among the three major fields: non-science, pure science, and science education. Science education students gained the lowest scores on the entire scale among the groups. Findings of this study imply that science major (including science education) students might be involved longer in such an epistemic environment that described scientific knowledge as objective and universal. It is also possible that beliefs about certainty and objectivity lead these students to select science as their major field. Implications for future research and science teacher education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1055-1073
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jun 25
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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