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The Strathprints institutional repository is a digital archive of University of Strathclyde research outputs. Strathprints provides access to thousands of Open Access research papers by University of Strathclyde researchers, including those from the School of Psychological Sciences & Health - but also papers by researchers based within the Faculties of Science, Engineering, Humanities & Social Sciences, and from the Strathclyde Business School.

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The importance of epistemic cognition in student-centred learning

Maclellan, Effie and Soden, R. (2004) The importance of epistemic cognition in student-centred learning. Instructional Science, 32 (3). pp. 253-268. ISSN 0020-4277

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Abstract

To infer the sophistication of epistemic thinking in a sample of undergraduate students, 25 participants completed a free-response task in which they were asked to give reasons for their agreement or disagreement with a small number of beliefs about the role of tutorials and of tutors in gaining knowledge. Responses were analysed according to King & Kitchener's (1994) stages of reasoning, revealing that the justifications offered were either at the stages of pre-reflective or quasi-reflective thinking with none exhibiting reflective thinking. The findings have two main pedagogical implications: first that good teaching be understood not as a set of performance skills which may only be opportunistically related to students' extant conceptualisations but as the locus through which students confront their own epistemic beliefs. A second implication is that to extend students' reasoning, teaching practices must focus explicitly on the difficult issue of what counts as evidence