Discipline-specific socialization: A comparative study

Iris Tabak, Michael Weinstock, Hilla Zviling-Beiser

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Do different disciplines cultivate different epistemologies? We draw on the epistemological framework of D. Kuhn et al. that delineates three perspectives: absolutist, maintaining that knowledge is objective and immutable; multiplist, maintaining a radical relativism; and evaluativist, maintaining a qualified relativism. We conjectured that typical instruction in the humanities would tend to foster evaluativist views more than typiacl instruction in the sciences. Twenty biology majors and twenty history majors evaluated competing accounts in biology, history and judicial contexts. Structured interviews concerning these accounts were used to assign each participant an epistemological view in each discipline. These results were considered in conjunction with learners' reports of their educational experiences. We were disappointed to find that there was an overall tendency toward absolutism. Our main finding is that students are distinguished by major and epistemological view, and that typical history instruction more than typical science instruction seems to foster evaluativist views in history.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2010
Event9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2010 - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: 29 Jun 20102 Jul 2010


Conference9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, ICLS 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityChicago, IL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Education


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