The Epistemic Beliefs of Fourth Graders about the Verification of Second-Hand Knowledge and Its Knowledge Sources
Dr. Florian Feucht

Only little is known about the epistemic beliefs of elementary school children. In this exploratory study, semistructured interviews were used to solicit epistemic beliefs of fourth grade students (n = 98; mean age = 10 years, 4 months) about the verification of second-hand knowledge. The data analysis was based on the Qualitative Content Analysis (Mayring, 2001), supported with Atlas.ti software, and yielded a high in interrater reliability (Cohen, 1960; κ = 0.94). In fourth grade students, a complex system of beliefs was identified about strategies of second-hand knowledge verification (independent strategies n = 8; dependent strategies n = 3), knowledge sources (human sources n = 4; non-human n = 4), and different source selection criteria (n = 8). Moreover, some students (n = 10) mentioned a cognitive process that they would employ to identify the best possible sources for the processes of knowledge verification, similar to following a decision tree. The discussion explores meaning of the identified multi-faceted and partially meta-cognitive nature of belief systems for the conceptualization of the developmental, dimensional, and situational frameworks as they exist currently.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jehd.v6n1a2