Date of Award

8-2004

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Claudia T. Melear

Committee Members

Michael L. Bentley, Les Hickok, Mary Ziegler, Charles L. Thompson

Abstract

This study examined and compared patterns f perception and judgement measured by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI, Form G) and epistemology in four populations: college freshman, preservice science teachers, elementary teachers, and scientists. The relationship between dual forms of perception delineated by the MBTI and adherence to the four epistemological dimensions assembled by Schommer’s Epistemological Questionnaire (SEQ, 1990) was also investigated.

A Chi-Square analysis assessing between-group differences in perception and judgement indicated that scientists were more likely to rely on intuitive perception and thinking judgement compared with college freshman, preservice science teachers, and elementary teachers.

An ANOVA procedure to test between-group differences in epistemology revealed that college freshman were more likely to view knowledge as the accumulation of isolated and unrelated facts than were the other groups. Conversely, scientists were significantly more likely to believe that knowledge consists of complex, interrelated concepts and ideas. While college freshman differed from scientists and preservice science teachers in degree of adherence to a naïve perspective on the QUICK learning dimension (i.e., learning occurs quickly, or not at all), they did not differ significantly from the sample of elementary teachers. Elementary teachers were as likely as college freshman to view the acquisition of knowledge as an immediate, all-or-none phenomenon, rather than a gradual process requiring sustained effort.

An Independent t-test revealed a significant difference between intuitive and sensory perceptive college students on the SIMPLE dimension of the SEQ. Sensory perceptive students were more likely than their intuitive counterparts to believe that knowledge consists of a collection of concrete, isolated, or unrelated facts. Study findings are interpreted within the context of the effort to reform science education.

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