Epistemic Beliefs: Development and Relations to Self-Regulated Learning, Motivation and Achievement

Principal Investigator)/Chercheur principal (Chercheurs principaux) (s):

Krista Muis, McGill University, Montreal, QB


Co-Investigator/Co-chercheurs (s):

Philip H. Winne, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC



SSHRC (Amount: $150,650)



2007-2011 (Status/Statut: Ongoing)


Contact Information/Personne contact:

Tel: 778-782-4858, Email: philip_winne@sfu.ca Office: Education Building 9506 SFU Burnaby



Although there is some agreement in the field of educational psychology about relations between epistemic beliefs and facets of learning and motivation, there is a pressing debate regarding whether epistemic beliefs are domain general (e.g., individuals espouse similar beliefs about mathematics and psychology, for example) or domain specific (e.g., individuals espouse different beliefs about mathematics versus psychology). To respond to this issue, Muis and colleagues (Muis et al., 2006) proposed the Theory of Integrated Domains in Epistemology (TIDE) framework based on a wide sample of empirical studies. They incorporated philosophical considerations, dominant epistemologies in various domains, and theoretical work on the domain-specificity/domain-generality issue and on epistemic beliefs in general. In the current project we plan a series of studies that respond to calls made by leaders in the field about the next generation of research on epistemic beliefs. Based on results from studies proposed here, we will develop and assess instructional techniques to improve academic learning.


Project Objectives/Objectifs du projet:

We aim to broaden and advance theory about epistemic beliefs by: (1) examining the role of context in developing epistemic beliefs; and, (2) mapping interactions between domain-general and domain-specific epistemic beliefs, and their effects on facets of self-regulated learning, motivation, and achievement.


Research Plan/Plan de recherche:

In various studies, approximately 100-150 students from each of elementary, high school, and undergraduate, and graduate classes will participate in multiple study, interview, and observation sessions. At the outset, during, and at the end of each study, students’ and teachers’ domain-specific and general epistemic beliefs will be measured as independent variables. Using observational techniques, the epistemic climate of classrooms will be measured, as will facets of students’ self-regulated learning during mathematics problem solving. Moderator variables will include students’ goal orientation, prior knowledge, and self-efficacy. Dependent variables will include students’ self-reported and actual self-regulated learning and achievement. Large samples are required to provide sufficient power for sophisticated structural equation and other quantitative modeling of the various relations examined.


Significance/Importance: Determining whether epistemic beliefs are domain general or specific is crucial for developing useful measures of epistemic beliefs. In turn, clarifying this issue may influence how to research relations between epistemic beliefs and cognition and motivation.