Browsing by Subject "disciplinary differences"

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  • Martin, Riina (Helsingin yliopisto, 2020)
    Epistemic beliefs are somewhat stable conceptions of what knowledge is. On one hand, they have been suggested to be a developmental sequence, and on the other hand, consist of multiple intertwined dimensions. The aim of this study is to research the connections in university students’ epistemic beliefs, and their relation to academic disciplines and academic achievement. Previous studies have suggested that while some disciplinary differences exist, the more relativistic epistemic beliefs have generally been seen as more sophisticated ones. These more relativistic epistemic beliefs have previously been shown to be positively connected to better academic achievement. A person-oriented approach is applied in this study, to provide a tangible perspective to the students’ epistemic beliefs. The sample consisted of 831 first-year students from University of Helsinki from years 2013 and 2014. The data used in the study was part of Mind the Gap –project, and it was collected with a multi-sectioned questionnaire, mainly from large introductory courses. Additional data from the study register was used to examine academic achievement. The data was analyzed statistically with SPSS, using TwoStep cluster analysis, crosstabs, and Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA). Three epistemic profiles were found: Non-Reflective Students, Reflective Theorists, and Practical Academics. Some significant differences, supported by earlier research, were found in the representation of the identified epistemic profiles in the faculties. Reflective Theorists were broadly represented in the Faculty of Social Sciences and sparse in the Faculty of Medicine. Additionally, Practical Academics were largely present in the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, and Non-Reflective Students in the Faculty of Law. In regards to Study Performance, Reflective Theorists had significantly higher Study Performance (GPA) than the two other profiles. This study overall broadened the comprehensive understanding of university students’ epistemic beliefs, and can be useful in planning university studies and student intake locally.