Critical elements in developing epistemological beliefs among undergraduate students

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Reflective and active learning are essential for students’ learning, particularly in higher education, in response to the processes of globalization. Researches suggest that a relationship between students’ epistemological beliefs and conceptions of learning, associating sophisticated beliefs with reflective abilities, and naive beliefs with passive learning. Epistemological beliefs concern an individual’s cognitions about the nature of knowledge and the nature of knowing. One of the multidimensional frameworks consists of four dimensions: Innate ability, Learning effort, Authority knowledge and Certainty knowledge. Results of a longitudinal study at the Hong Kong Institute of Education show that changes of students’ epistemological beliefs appear between their responses from year 1 to year 3. This study used both quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the students’ epistemological beliefs and the influence of the undergraduate programme that attribute to these changes. Specifically, this paper addresses the following questions. 1. What are the changes of the students’ epistemological beliefs? 2. Which critical elements of the undergraduate programme attribute to the changes of epistemological beliefs? Implications of the undergraduate programme are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2010


Cheng, M. M..-h., Wong, A. K.-y., & Cheng, A. Y.-n. (2010, January). Critical elements in developing epistemological beliefs among undergraduate students. Paper presented at the third World Universities Forum, Congress Center Davos, Switzerland.


  • Epistemological beliefs
  • Undergraduate programme
  • Knowledge acquisition
  • University learning
  • TDG project code T3282
  • Period: TDG 2006-2007
  • Teaching Development Grant (TDG)

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