Relational analysis of college science-major students' epistemological

Jyh Chong Liang, Chin-Chung Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, there has been an increasing interest among educational researchers in exploring the relationships between learners' epistemological beliefs and their conceptions of learning. This study was conducted to investigate these relationships particularly in the domain of science. The participants in this study included 407 Taiwanese college science-major students. All of them responded to two major questionnaires, one assessing their scientific epistemological beliefs (SEBs) and the other one probing their conceptions of learning science (COLS). The SEB questionnaire included four factors: "certainty,"source,"development," and "justification" of science knowledge. The COLS survey consisted of six factors in a hierarchical order, that is, learning science as"memorizing,"preparing for tests,"calculating and practicing,"increasing one's knowledge,"application," and "understanding and seeing in a new way." The students' confidence and interest toward learning science were also assessed by additional questionnaire items. Stepwise regression analyses, in general, showed coherence between students' SEBs and their COLS, indicating that the sophistication of SEBs was consistent with less agreement with lower-level COLS (such as "memorizing" and "preparing for tests") as well as more agreement with higher-level COLS (such as "understanding and seeing in a new way"). However, the SEB's "justification" factor was positively related to almost all of COLS factors from the lower-level to higher-level. This study finally found that among all of the SEB and COLS factors, the "preparing for tests" factor in COLS was the solely significant variable for predicting students' interest in science and confidence toward learning science.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2273-2289
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptions of learning
  • Education
  • Epistemological beliefs
  • Quantitative research
  • Science
  • University

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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