Epistemic belief structures within introductory astronomy


Keith Johnson, Shannon D. Willoughby


Physical Review Physics Education Research


The reliability and validity of inventories should be verified in multiple ways. Although the epistemological beliefs about the physical science survey (EBAPS) has been deemed to be reliable and valid by the authors, the axes or factor structure proposed by the authors has not been independently checked. Using data from a study sample we discussed in previous publications, we performed exploratory factor analysis on 1,258 post-test EBAPS surveys. The students in the sample were from an introductory Astronomy course at a mid-sized western university. Inspection suggested the use of either a three-factor model or a five-factor model. Each of the factors is interpreted and discussed, and the factors arc compared to the axes proposed by the authors of the EBAPS. We find that the five-factor model extrapolated from our data partially overlaps with the model put forth by the authors of the EBAPS, and that many of the questions did not load onto any factors.



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