Purpose – Epistemological beliefs, defined as individuals' beliefs about the nature of knowledge and the process of knowing, are assumed to serve an important function in regulating the application of individuals' learning behaviour. Previous research has mainly been shaped by the framework of results of white, well‐educated people from North America. More empirical work is needed to examine epistemological beliefs in a cross‐cultural context. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the possibility of using cultural classifications to indicate the development of epistemological beliefs in different countries. Design/methodology/approach – A cross‐cultural pilot‐study is carried out in Germany and Australia with a total of 103 participants. A German and English version of the Schraw et al. 's epistemic beliefs inventory, based on Schommer's model, is employed for the study. The cultural comparison between Germany and Australia is carried out by using Hofstede and Hofstede's cultural classification. Findings – The cultural comparison between both countries leads to the hypothesis that the development of the epistemological beliefs is different. Although factor analysis indicates the same three dimensions of epistemological beliefs for both countries (structure, source, and control), the development for each dimension is different. Practical implications – It might be possible to indicate epistemological beliefs in various countries due to cultural classification. Originality/value – The paper provides a new perspective of epistemological beliefs within cross‐cultural research and might lay the path for cross‐field research projects.
Multicultural Education & Technology Journal – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 10, 2009
Keywords: Germany; Australia; Cross‐cultural studies; Cognition; Epistemology; Beliefs
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