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ERIC Number: EJ797252
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 67
ISSN: ISSN-0021-3667
Meaning Making inside and outside the Academic Arena: Investigating the Contextuality of Epistemological Development in College Students
Pizzolato, Jane Elizabeth
Journal of General Education, v56 n3-4 p228-251 2007
By investigating undergraduates' epistemological orientations and processes in academic and personal contexts, this study examined whether and how epistemological development in one context is related to development in another context. The focus of this particular study was on tension regarding the contextuality of epistemological development. The goal was to begin to examine this question at a broader level than academic domains. In this study two contexts were examined: the academic context and the personal context. Both contexts are themselves rather broad--encompassing a variety of possible specific domains (e.g., math classes and composition classes in the academic context and family and peer domains in the personal context). Because the contexts are similarly broad and yet likely have a universal set of epistemological assumptions underlying the domain-specific variance, they seem compatible for study. Furthermore, it seems appropriate to examine these two contexts in early studies on epistemological contextuality because of the research showing that the majority of development during college occurs outside the classroom. Given this skew, it seems important to investigate whether there is transfer of developmental--in this case epistemological development--progress across broad contexts. Practically this seems especially important because much epistemic complexity is expected of college students and graduates in academic and intellectual problem solving, as well as in their decision making outside the academic arena. The findings demonstrate that the epistemological orientations used were not consistent across contexts and that this contextuality was rooted not in participants' possession of distinct epistemological orientations but through their examination of their goals in each context. Clarification of goals led to students' decisions regarding the degree to which they needed to use their most complex epistemological orientation. Thus it appears that the epistemological orientations college students use may be contextually based, but this contextuality does not mean that students do not use their most complex orientations to make sense of which epistemological orientation is best for each context. (Contains 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A