Knowledge is knowledge is knowledge? The relationship between personal and scientific epistemologies Academic Article uri icon


  • In this paper, we explore cross‐domain versus domain‐specific scientific epistemological understanding. Research about relationships between such understandings shows mixed results. The ambiguities may result from the instruments used. Unlike most studies, we combined instruments from the personal‐ and science‐epistemology research traditions. Students in Grades 6 to 9 in a science‐centred school completed adaptations of the Epistemological Thinking Assessment (ETA) (Kuhn, Cheney, & Weinstock, 2000) and the Views of Science‐Technology‐Society (VOSTS) (Aikenhead & Ryan, 1992) instruments. Regular‐school students in Grades 7 and 9 also completed the ETA. Developmental patterns on the ETA emerged as expected in both schools. However, the science‐centred students’ views of knowledge in the social and physical domains seem more differentiated and sophisticated. Their performance on the VOSTS tended toward higher scores, although lower than expected. There was no significant relationship between performance on the ETA and on the VOSTS. The findings propose domain‐specific aspects of epistemological understanding and development.

publication date

  • January 1, 2005