Learners’ epistemic criteria and strategies for evaluating scientific visual representations

Sarit Barzilai, Billie Eilam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Visual information sources are increasingly available online, yet little is known about how learners evaluate such information sources. Hence, the purpose of this study was to document learners' epistemic criteria and strategies for evaluating scientific visual representations (VRs). Junior high-school students evaluated four pairs of VRs that included different representations of the same phenomenon, justified their judgements, and described their criteria and strategies for evaluating good scientific VRs. Learners described and applied criteria related to the representation of the referent, to communicative quality, and to affordances for achieving epistemic aims, such as understanding. Learners applied criteria adaptively: Design contrasts between VRs evoked greater use of communicative and epistemic aim affordance criteria, whereas informational contrasts evoked greater use of representational criteria. Learners described a range of VR evaluation strategies. However, only a minority mentioned information validity and source trustworthiness evaluation strategies. Implications regarding learners’ epistemic competence for evaluating VRs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-147
Number of pages11
JournalLearning and Instruction
Volume58
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a grant to Sarit Barzilai by the I-CORE Program of the Israel Council of Higher Education and the Israel Science Foundation, grant 1716/12.

Funding Information:
This study was funded by a grant to Sarit Barzilai by the I-CORE Program of the Israel Council of Higher Education and the Israel Science Foundation , grant 1716/12 .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Epistemic criteria
  • Epistemic strategies
  • Epistemic thinking
  • Information source evaluation
  • Visual representations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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