Cover Image

Development of Eighth Grade Students’ Epistemological Beliefs through Writing-to-Learn Activities

Şengül Atasoy, Osman Küçük


The aim of the present study was to develop the epistemological beliefs of eighth grade students through writing-to-learn (WTL) activities. A one-group pretest-posttest quasi-experimental research design was utilized in the study. The sample group consisted of a total of 18 eighth grade students, attending a secondary school in the rural part of Trabzon in Turkey. To improve the epistemological beliefs of students, WTL activities were developed and utilized in the "Matter and its Structure" unit of the science subject. Each WTL activity focused on one dimension of epistemology, such as source of knowledge, organization of knowledge, certainty of knowledge, speed of learning, and learning control. The WTL activities in the study were conducted throughout a total of 24 lessons. Semi-structured interviews were employed to collect data. Beliefs regarding each dimension of epistemology were identified to be at the level of absolutist, multiplist or evaluatist by means of the "Epistemological Belief Levels Rubric". The findings of the study revealed that the WTL activities increased students’ levels of the epistemological beliefs. Hence, students’ epistemological beliefs can be developed further by dwelling more on the history of science unit within the subject of science by raising students’ awareness.


Aksan, N. &Sözer, M (2007). The relationships among epistemological beliefs and problem solving skills of university students. Ahi Evran University Kırşehir Education Faculty Journal, 8(1), 31-50. (in Turkish)

Aksu, M., Demir.C. &Sümer, H. Z. (2002). Students’ beliefs about mathematics: Descriptive study. Education and Science, 27(123), 72-77.

Albert, L. R. (2000). Outside-in – inside-out: Seventh-grade students’ mathematical thought processes. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 41(2), 109-141.

Atasoy, Ş. (2013). Effect of writing-to-learn strategy on undergraduates’ conceptual understanding of electrostatics. The Asia-Pacific Education Researcher, 22(4), 593-602.

Atasoy, E. (2012). The examination of writing based activities in mathematics from the perspectives of learning and teaching. Unpublished PhD Thesis, Trabzon, Turkey. (In Turkish).

Aydemir, N., Aydemir, M. & Boz, Y. (2013). High school students’ epistemological beliefs. Kastamonu Education Journal, 21, 1305-1316. (with an English extended abstract)

Belet, D. &Güven, M. (2011). Meta-cognitive strategy usage and epistemological beliefs of primary school teacher trainees. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 11(1), 31-57.

Brownlee, J., Petriwskyj, A., Thorpe, K., Stacey, P. & Gibson, M. (2011). Changing personal epistemologies in early childhood pre-service teachers using an integrated teaching program. Higher Education Research & Development, 30(4), 477-490.

Buehl, M. M. & Alexander, P. A. (2001). Beliefs about academic knowledge. Educational Psychological Review, 13(4), 385-418.

Büyüköztürk, Ş., KılıçÇakmak, E., Akgün, Ö. E., Karadeniz, Ş. &Demirel, F. (2018). Scientific research methods in education (24th edition). Ankara: Pegem Academy. (in Turkish)

Çavuş, R. (2013). Epistemological beliefs with different of 8th grade students' perspectives on socio-scientific issues. Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Sakarya University Graduate School of Educational Sciences, Sakarya. (in Turkish)

Chai, C. S., Teo, T. & Lee, C. B. (2009). The change in epistemological beliefs and beliefs about teaching and learning: a study among pre-service teachers. AsiaPacific Journal of Teacher Education, 37(4), 351-362.

Chan, K.W. (2004). Preservice teachers' epistemological beliefs and conceptions about teaching and learning: Cultural implications for research in teacher education. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 29(1), 1-14.

Charoula, A. &Valanides, N. (2012). Epistemological beliefs and ill-structured problem-solving in solo and paired contexts. Educational Technology & Society, 15(1), 2-14.

Chen, C. C. & Chang, C. Y. (2008). The effects of a teaching program on changing students’ epistemological baliefs and learning. The International Journal of Learning, 15(3), 161-168.

Chen, L., Xu, S., Xiao, H. & Zhou, S. (2019). Variations instudents’ epistemological beliefs towards physics learning across majors, genders, and university tiers. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 15(1), 1-11.

Cheng, M. M. H., Chan, K. W., Tang, S. Y. F. & Cheng, A. Y. N. (2009). Pre-service teacher education students' epistemological beliefs and their conceptions of teaching. Teaching and Teacher Education, 25(2), 319-327.

Dart, B. C., Boulton-Lewis, G. M., Brownlee, J. M. &McCrindle, A. R. (1998). Change in knowledge of learning and teaching through journal writing. Research Papers in Education 13(3), 291-318.

Demir, Ö. (2009). The effect of metacognitive strategies instructed through cognitive coaching on students? Epistemological beliefs, metacognitive skills, academic achievement and the retention of these in 6th grade social studies course. Unpublished PhD Thesis. Çukurova University, Adana. (in Turkish)

Deniz, H. (2011). Examination of changes in prospective elementary teachers’ epistemological beliefs in science and exploration of factors meditating that change. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 20(6), 750-760.

Deryakulu, D. &Büyüköztürk, Ş. (2002). Validity and reliability study of epistemological beliefs questionnaire. Educational Research Journal, 8, 111-125. (in Turkish)

Deryakulu, D. (2004). The relationships between university students' learning and study strategies and their epistemological beliefs. Educational Administration: Theory and Practice, 10(38), 230-249. (in Turkish)

Dicamilla, F. J. & Anton, M. (1997). Repetition in the collaborative discourse of L2 learners: a Vygotskian perspective. The Canadian Modern Language Review, 53, 609–633.

Evcim, İ. (2010). The relation between 8th grade primary school students? Epistemological beliefs, science lesson acquisition, level of use of science in daily life and academic success. Unpublished Master's Thesis. Marmara University Institute of Educational Sciences, İstanbul. (in Turkish)

Gok, T. (2018). The evaluation of conceptual learning and epistemological beliefs on physics learning by think-pair-share. Journal of Education in Science, Environment and Health (JESEH), 4(1), 69-80.

Graham, S. (2008). Research on writing development, practice, instruction, and assessment: Introduction to a special issue of reading and writing. Reading and Writing, 21(1), 1-2.

Gürol, A., Altunbaş, S. &Karaaslan, N. (2010). A study of self efficacy and epistemological beliefs of prospective teachers. E-Journal of New World Sciences Academy, 5(3), 1395-1404. (in Turkish)

Güven, G. (2013). The examination of preservice elementary teachers' reflection journal writing and epistemological beliefs in the science and technology laboratory applications. Unpublished Master's Thesis. MuğlaSıtkıKoçman University Graduate School of Educational Sciences, Muğla. (in Turkish)

Hand, B., Prain, V., Lawrence, C. & Yore, D. L. (1999). A writing in science framework designed to enhance science literacy. International Journal of Science Education, 21(10), 1021-1035.

Hashweh, M. Z. (1996). Effects of science teachers’ epistemological beliefs in teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33(1), 47-63.

Hofer, B. &Pintrich, P. (1997). The development of epistemological theories: Beliefs about knowledge and knowing and their relation to learning. Review of Educational Research, 67, 88-140.

Johnson, K. & Willoughby, S. (2018). Changing epistemological beliefs with nature of science implementations. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 14, 1-14.

Karasar, N. (2012). Scientific research methods (24th edition). Ankara: Nobel Publishing House. (in Turkish)

Khun, D. (2001). How do people know? Psychological Science, 12, 1-8.

Kieft, M., Rijlaarsdam, G. & Bergh, H. B. (2006). Writing as a learning tool: Testing the role of students’ writing strategies. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 11(1), 17-34.

King, C. A., Levesque, M. J., Weckerly, S. J. & Blythe, N. L. (2000). The effects of a course in educational psychology on pre-service teachers’ epistemological beliefs. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA.

Kuzgun, Y. &Deryakulu, D. (2014). Individual differences in education (3rd edition).Ankara: Nobel Publications. (in Turkish)

Mahasneh, A. M. (2018). Investigation of the relationship between teaching and learning conceptions and epistemological beliefs among student teachers from Hashemite University in Jordan. European Journal of Contemporary Education, 7(3), 531-540.

Mason, L. &Boscolo, P. (2000). Writing and conceptual change. What changes? Instructional Science, 28(3), 199-226.

May, D. B. &Etkina, E. (2002). College physics students’ epistemological selfreflection and its relationship to conceptual learning. American Journal of Physics, 70(12), 1249-1258.

Meral, M. &Çolak, E. (2009). An investigation of student-teachers’ scientific epistemological belief. OndokuzMayıs University Faculty of Education Journal, 27(1), 121-165. (in Turkish)

Oksal, A., Şengerci, E. &Bilgin, A. (2007). Determination of central epistemological beliefs forming student teachers’ life theories. Elementary Education Online, 6(3), 411-421.

ÖzkanHıdıroğlu, Y. &Hıdıroğlu, Ç. N. (2016). Examining epistemological beliefs in explaining mathematics teachers’ approaches in mathematical modeling. Journal of Theory and Practice in Education, 12(1), 244-268.

Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review of Educational Research, 62(3), 307-333.

Prain, V. & Hand, B. (1999). Students’ perceptions of writing for learning in secondary school science. Science Education, 83(2), 151-162.

Rivard, P. L. & Straw, B. S. (2000). The effect of talk and writing on learning science: An exploratory study. Science Education, 84, 566-593.

SchommerAikins, M., Duell, O. &Hutter, R. (2005). Epistemological beliefs, mathematical problem-solving beliefs, and academic performance of middle school students. Elementary School Journal, 105, 289-304.

SchommerAikins, M., Mau, W., Brookhart, S. &Hutter, R. (2000). Understanding middle students’ beliefs about knowledge and learning using a multidimensional paradigm. Journal of Educational Research, 94, 120-127.

Schommer, M. &Dunnell, P. A. (1997). Epistemological beliefs of gifted high school students. Roeper Review, 19, 153-156.

Schommer, M. (1990). Effects of beliefs about the nature of knowledge on comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 82(3), 498-504.

Schommer, M. (1994). Synthesizing epistemological belief research: Tentative understandings and provocative confusions. Educational Psychology Review, 6(4), 293-319.

Schommer, M., Crouse, A. & Rhodes, N. (1992). Epistemological beliefs and mathematical text comprehension: Believing it is simple does not make it so. Journal of Educational Psychology, 84(4), 435–443.

Schommer-Aikins, M. (2004). Explaining the epistemological belief system: Introducing the embedded systemic model and coordinated research approach. Educational psychologist, 39(1), 19-29.

Stonewater, J. K. (2002). The mathematics writer’s checklist: the development of a preliminary assessment tool for writing in mathematics. School Science and Mathematics, 102(7), 324-334.

Topçu, M. S. &Tüzün, Ö. (2009). Elementary students’ metacognition and epistemological beliefs considering science achievement, gender and socioeconomic status. Elementary Education Online, 8(3), 676-693.

Trakulphadetkrai, N. V. (2012). Relationship between classroom authority and epistemological beliefs as espoused by primary school mathematics teachers from the very high and very low socio-economic regions in Thailand. Journal of International and Comparative Education, 1(2), 71-89.

Uslu, O. (2018). Analysis of variables that affect teaching learning approaches and epistemological beliefs of pre-service teachers by structural equation model. International Journal of Research in Education and Science, 4(1), 237-251.

Walker, B., Shippen, M. E., Alberto, P., Houchins, D. E. &Cihak, D. F. (2005). Using the expressive writing programme to improve the writing skills of high school students with learning disabilities. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 20(3), 175-183.

Yore, L., Bisanz, G. L. & Hand, B. M. (2003). Examining the literacy component of science literacy: 25 years of language arts and science research. International Journal of Science Education, 25(6), 689-725.

Youn, I., Yang, K. M. & Choi, I. J. (2001). An analysis of the nature of epistemological beliefs investigating factors affecting the epistemological development of South Korean high school students. Asia Pacific Education Review, 2(1), 10-21.



Copyright (c) 2019 Şengül Atasoy, Osman Küçük

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Journal of Science Learning is published by Universitas Pendidikan Indonesia
in collaboration with the Indonesian Society of Science Educators
Jl. Dr. Setiabudhi 229 Bandung 40154, West Java, Indonesia
Email: js