The present study examined the role of conflict topics and individual differences in epistemic perspectives (absolutism, multiplism, and evaluativism) in students' explanations of expert conflicts. University students (N = 184) completed an epistemic thinking assessment and a conflict explanation assessment regarding two controversies in biology and history. Additionally, thirty students were interviewed and provided detailed conflict explanations that were used to interpret and extend the quantitative results. In the biology problem, conflicts were predominantly attributed to topic complexity and to research methods. In the history problem, conflicts were also predominantly attributed to topic complexity, but also to researchers' personal backgrounds and motivations. Epistemic perspectives were related to specific conflict explanations, suggesting that these perspectives have a role beyond topic differences. Thus, both conflict topics and epistemic perspectives shape lay explanations of experts' conflicts. The findings highlight differences in students’ interpretations of the roles experts play in knowledge construction.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Learning and Instruction|
|State||Published - Dec 2017|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by grant 1716/12 of the I-CORE Program of the Israel Council of Higher Education and the Israel Science Foundation , awarded to the second author and by grant SPP 1409 “Science and the General Public” of the German Research Foundation , grant BR 1126/6-2 , awarded to the third author.
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd
- Conflict explanations
- Epistemic thinking
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology