ERIC Number: ED344059
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Apr
Adult Epistemic Behavior at the Museum: Implications for Museum Education.
A study attempted to describe visitors' psychological functioning while viewing museum exhibits. The research was designed to enable a comparison of psychological functioning as viewed by subjects and a researcher. Two sets of data were gathered, the first with 45 visitors (men and women, 25-65 years of age, with various educational levels) to a natural history museum and the second with 90 similar visitors to a fine arts museum, a museum of history and ethnology, and a museum of natural sciences. The two sets of data were gathered by researchers by following subjects and recording their experiences as they described them, then conducting a structured interview with the subjects in which they describe the visit and how it benefited them. The oral material was typed and studied through content analysis of 12 operations. Some results of the study were the following: (1) the most prevalent psychological operations were taking note of, identifying, and explaining-justifying; (2) cognitive functioning is much more prevalent than affective functioning; (3) visitors who go to museums more frequently understand objects more easily; and (4) visitors' questions reflect a cognitive and emotional engagement that gets blocked when they fail to receive answers. The study concluded that visitors are not passive when they look at exhibits and that this information should be used in the design of museum education. The study also produced an instrument shown to be useful in determining psychological functioning. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Montreal Univ. (Quebec).; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, April 1992). Research funded by the Fonds pour la formation de chercheurs et l'aide a la recherche of the Quebec Government.