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Characteristics of Middle School Student’s Personal Epistemology and Its Relationship with Self Questioning and Creative Thinking

Author: YangXiaoYang
Tutor: ShenJiLiang
School: Beijing Normal University
Course: Developmental and Educational Psychology
Keywords: middle school student personal epistemology self questioning creative thinking moderated effect
CLC: G635.5
Type: PhD thesis
Year: 2006
Downloads: 1520
Quote: 8
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Abstract


Today, competition and cooperation have been the increasingly outstanding theme between countries and individuals. Competition between countries lies on the person with ability. In the influential factors which can affect the success of competition and cooperation between the person with ability, the internal factors which from the individual himself always play the crucial role. From the psychological point of view, the internal factors of individual, e.g. cognition, belief and thinking, will decide his/her behavior. Therefore, studying individual’s cognitive process and structure of individual’s belief, then explore individual’s thinking process, has been one of the most important contents of cognitive psychologists’research realms.As a systematically summarizing of individual’s belief about knowledge, personal epistemology put the emphasis on the knowledge itself and how people gain the knowledge. It is a very important research realm in cognitive psychology. Many researchers agreed that, we can explain so many problems of individual’s thinking and behavior through the point of view of personal epistemology. As a hypothesis, this viewpoint has been supported by the studies from different aspects. In the latest decade, a new trend that the research of personal epistemology is associated tightly with the school teaching appeared.Now there is still a big gap between the training demand of person with ability and the school teaching practice. Accordingly, this study was focused on middle school students’personal epistemology, looking it as a psychological factor which comes from the internal aspect of individual’s belief. In this study, it was supposed that the middle school students’personal epistemology is the conceptions that the students have about knowledge and knowing. It is a systematic conclusion of the nature of knowledge, its expansibility, relationship, and process of knowing. Five dimensions in this study have been explored, they are: certainty, complexity, source, justification of knowing, and multi-presentation. Four steps have been carried out in the study. First, Confirmatory Factor Analysis has been used to test the validity and reliability of the personal epistemology questionnaire. With this method, the assumption of the five dimensions of middle school students’personal epistemology has been validated. Second, the developmental characteristics of the personal epistemology have been explored. These characteristics include the differences between grade, gender, parents’educational level, and the academic expectation of students. Third, in the interest of self-questioning and creative thinking, the relationships between personal epistemology and students’self-questioning, and creative thinking have been analyzed. These analyses also make the whole study more meaningful for the teaching practice. Finally, as an integration of the whole study, a moderator model has been established. In this model, middle school students’personal epistemology is the independent variable, their creative thinking is the dependent variable, and the self-questioning is the moderator.In sum, the main results and conclusions of our study are listed below:1. The level of middle school students’personal epistemology is higher than the average level. The dimension of certainty got the highest score, and the dimension of multi-presentation got the lowest score. Significant differences were found among the five dimensions.2. Significant differences were found among different grade and gender. The grade is higher, the better of the level of personal epistemology. On the complexity dimension, performance of female students were outstanding than their male partner. On the multi-presentation dimension, performance of male students were outstanding than their female partner.3. Significant relationships were not found among middle school students’personal epistemology and academic expectation and their parents’educational level.4. Middling positive correlation was found between middle school students’personal epistemology and their self questioning. Significant positive relationship was found among personal epistemology and creative thinking.5. Middle school students’self questioning is a moderator in the relationship between personal epistemology and creative thinking.

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