The Relationships Between Epistemic Beliefs in Biology and Approaches to Learning Biology Among Biology-Major University Students in Taiwan

Yi Chun Lin, Jyh Chong Liang, Chin Chung Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between students' epistemic beliefs in biology and their approaches to learning biology. To this end, two instruments, the epistemic beliefs in biology and the approaches to learning biology surveys, were developed and administered to 520 university biology students, respectively. By and large, it was found that the students reflected "mixed" motives in biology learning, while those who had more sophisticated epistemic beliefs tended to employ deep strategies. In addition, the results of paired t tests revealed that the female students were more likely to possess beliefs about biological knowledge residing in external authorities, to believe in a right answer, and to utilize rote learning as a learning strategy. Moreover, compared to juniors and seniors, freshmen and sophomores tended to hold less mature views on all factors of epistemic beliefs regarding biology. Another comparison indicated that theoretical biology students (e. g. students majoring in the Department of Biology) tended to have more mature beliefs in learning biology and more advanced strategies for biology learning than those students studying applied biology (e. g. in the Department of Biotechnology). Stepwise regression analysis, in general, indicated that students who valued the role of experiments and justify epistemic assumptions and knowledge claims based on evidence were more oriented towards having mixed motives and utilizing deep strategies to learn biology. In contrast, students who believed in the certainty of biological knowledge were more likely to adopt rote learning strategies and to aim to qualify in biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-807
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Science Education and Technology
Volume21
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Academic tracks
  • Approaches to learning
  • Educational levels
  • Epistemic beliefs
  • Gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Engineering(all)

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