chapter  Chapter Two
16 Pages

An Emerging Conceptualization of Epistemological Beliefs and Their Role in Learning

WithMarlene Schommer

This chapter introduces an emerging theory of individuals’ beliefs about the nature of knowledge and learning, or epistemological beliefs. It reviews research that tests aspects of this theory and highlights the critical role of epistemological beliefs in learning. An important issue to address is the development and modification of epistemological beliefs. Whether children are born with an “epistemological scheme” is unclear. In 1984 at the presidential address for the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Richard C. Anderson stated that: It stands to reason that beliefs about knowledge that a child develops will be influenced by those of his parents. Alan Schoenfeld has suggested those students’ beliefs about quick and easy mathematical solutions and failure to integrate mathematical concepts may be a product of how they are taught. The development of these beliefs may be due to cultural, familial, and educational influences. Whether epistemological beliefs are domain-specific or not depends on the developmental level of the individual.