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The Effect of Response Styles - Validation of an Instrument on Epistemological Beliefs in Science

The aim of the project E-rest is to investigate a widely used instrument by Conley et al. (2004) for the assessment of epistemological beliefs in science. More specifically, the focus of the investigation will be the effect of response styles. Epistemological beliefs are ideas or representations of individuals about knowledge and knowledge acquisition. Epistemological beliefs in science are beliefs of individuals about the use, creation, and construction of scientific knowledge. The present instrument consists of the scales development, justification, source, and certainty. Previous studies using this widely used questionnaire suggest a method effect, namely the response style. Studies applying the questionnaire focused on mean comparisons and correlations between the scales as well as the relationship between the four scales with education related covariates.
The aim of our study is to optimize the existing instrument for future use. Therefore, the investigation focuses on previous uses of the instrument as well as on the interpretation of the results. In the end it will generate recommendations for future use. We base our study on the argumentation-based validity approach by Kane (2008).

Data collection will take place during the summer / autumn 2018. Elementary school students in the U.S. will receive three different versions of the original instrument. The versions differ only in item wording. In one group, covariates (e.g., learning strategies motivation, and gender) will also be administered which have been linked to epistemological beliefs in science in the past. The effect of this item wording will be identified in multi-group models and Multitrait-Multimethod (MTMM) models.

Conley, A. M., Pintrich, P. R., Vekiri, L. & Harrison, D. (2004). Changes in epistemological beliefs in elementary science students. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 29, 186–204. doi:10.1016/j.cedpsych.2004.01.004

Kane, M. T. (2008). Terminology, emphasis, and utility in validation. Educational Researcher, 37(2), 7682. doi:10.3102/0013189X08315390


Persons involved

At the IPN:
Dr. Nele Kampa

International cooperation partners:
Prof. Gavin Fulmer, University of Iowa, U.S.A.
Prof. Cory Forbes, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, U.S.A.

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