ERIC Number: EJ804878
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Epistemological Beliefs in Child Care: Implications for Vocational Education
Brownlee, J.; Boulton-Lewis, G.; Berthelsen, D.
British Journal of Educational Psychology, v78 n3 p457-471 Sep 2008
Background: The quality of child care is of social and economic significance worldwide. The beliefs that child care workers hold about knowing and knowledge (epistemological beliefs) influence the quality of their professional work. However, attention to epistemological beliefs is rarely a focus in vocational education programmes. Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the nature of child care students' epistemological beliefs. Sample(s): All first- and second-year students completing a Diploma of Children's Services at three separate training institutes in a large metropolitan area in Australia were invited to participate in the study. There were 46 first- and 31 second-year students (77 in total, 71 females). Method: This study used semi-structured interviews based on a child care scenario to enable students to articulate their epistemological beliefs. A descriptive-interpretative approach in which interviews were analysed for patterns of meaning was used in the content analysis. The categories, based on the work of Kuhn and Weinstock (2002), included "objectivism," "subjectivism," and "evaluativism." While this proved to be a useful framework, the authors remained open to new categories emerging. This constituted the interpretive component of the analysis. Therefore, the data were analysed using both data-driven and theory-led approaches to analysis, which still made it possible to take account of many viewpoints before arriving at the categories of beliefs. The categories were audited by a second researcher to establish trustworthiness and credibility. Results: The findings of this study revealed a range of epistemological beliefs; however, a new way of thinking about evaluativistic beliefs called "basic evaluativism" emerged. This view of knowledge relates to the construction of evidence-based "practice" rather than "knowledge" as is typically the case in evaluativistic beliefs. Conclusions: Implications for the need to address epistemological beliefs in vocational education programmes for child care workers are discussed.
Descriptors: Child Care, Caregiver Attitudes, Beliefs, Epistemology, Caregiver Training, Student Attitudes, Interviews, Vocational Education, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia