Mathematical modeling of preschool children’s epistemological views

Güneş, Gökhan
Şahin, Volkan
Taşdan Berksoy, Aysel
Erkan, Nefise Semra
Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that focuses on the source, nature, limitations, system and accuracy of human knowledge. Children's epistemological views start to develop in the very early years as they gradually develop the ability to understand others' beliefs, actions, and desires, with primary attention to the onset of this cognitive achievement occurs between the ages of 3 and 5 (Burr and Hofer, 2002). The purpose of the current study was to analyze and model epistemological views of five-year-old children. The mathematical model developed for this study attempts to predict to what direction the missing domains in young children's epistemological thoughts will be evolved. Significant and profound changes in children's concept of the mind occurs between the ages of 3 and 5, allowing a five-year-old perform better in some tasks in the cognitive field (Gopnik and Astington, 1988). This study was carried out with a total of 183 five-year-old children (79 boys and 84 girls), from five state preschools. The Epistemological Beliefs Scale for Children (EBSC) was used for the data collection. EBSC is based on Elder's (2002) Scientific Epistemological Beliefs Scale (SEBS) and was adapted for children by the researchers of the current study. EBSC consists of 25 practical items in the following five sub-dimensions: authority/accuracy, knowledge production process, sources of knowledge, hypothesizing, and change of knowledge. EBSC was prepared as a three-point Likert-type scale with the Cronbach alpha value of 0.87. According to the results of the descriptive statistics obtained from EBSC, dogmatic thoughts shaped children's epistemological views (54%). In particular, authority/accuracy, the source of knowledge and hypothesizing sub-dimensions of epistemological views were the areas in which dogmatic thinking was most apparent. Despite not being in the majority, a considerable percentage of children (38%) had skeptical thoughts, which is a promising result. The remaining 8% of the children had not yet constructed conceptual knowledge.
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Citation Formats
G. Güneş, V. Şahin, A. Taşdan Berksoy, and N. S. Erkan, “Mathematical modeling of preschool children’s epistemological views,” Critical Questions in Education, pp. 117–136, 2018, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: