Epistemic beliefs of non-STEM majors regarding the nature of science: Where they are and what we can do


Shannon D. Willoughby, Keith Johnson


American Journal of Physics


Students enrolled in introductory astronomy at a mid-sized land grant institution were surveyed at the start and end of each semester for three years regarding their epistemic beliefs about the physical sciences. After collecting data for two years in the control (baseline) course, the course was revised to include regular discussions of the nature of science, practice identifying pseudoscientific claims, and practice with metacognition. Survey data on epistemic beliefs were collected for one more academic year after the course was revised. This work details how the course was structured during the baseline and revised portions of the study. Data from both portions of the study are analyzed as a whole as well as broken down by gender. Negative trends seen in the baseline data are mostly eradicated in the revised portion of the course. The data analysis motivates a discussion of why including content regarding the nature of science should be integrated in classes geared toward non-science majors. (C) 2017 Author(s).



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