Journal directory listing - Volume 31-41 (1986-1996) - Volume 40 (1995)

An Investigation of Taiwanese Graduate Students' Beliefs about Scientific Knowledge
Author: Tzuchau Chang(Graduate Institute of Environmental Education , National Taiwan Normal University)


This research, focused on graduate students' beliefs about scientific knowledge, is guided by Novak's "Human Constructivism", which addresses a constructive perspective on education with a unity of psychological and epistemological meaning making. Nuss-baum's analysis of philosophical perspectives, Lincoln and Guba's distinctions between postpositivism and naturalism, and Edmondson's categorization of logical positivism and constructivism form the base for the discussion of epistemological beliefs in this re-search.
The research design includes a questionnaire survey and the descriptive statistical analysis. Its methodology is qualitatively oriented. It relies on descriptive analyses of survey results, rather than hypothesis testing.
The students' epistemological beliefs about scientific knowledge are revealed through their responses to questions that identify six core factors: observation, inquiry process, data, inquiry results, knowledge, and the development and growth of knowledge, which are adapted from Edmondson's questionnaire. This research shows that the students express different epistemological beliefs about different core factors, so their overall epistemological commitments are not consistent.
Overall, the students hold moderate positions while discussing epistemological issues, but they adopt a firmly logical positivist view to deal with the issues relative to their re-search work. This suggests the dominance of logical positivism in school education and research settings. However, that their moderate position on epistemological issues also shows their awareness of the constructivist perspective.

Keywords:Epistemological beliefs, constructivism, logicalpositivism

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