Epistemology and Research Study Essay

Submitted By trelvispd
Words: 1502
Pages: 7

General Overview The Schommer-Aikens and Hutter article was an eye opening and interesting read. The writer has acknowledged that there are six detailed thinking processes that were assessed in her research. The six detailed assessments were: (1) taking multiple perspectives (2) acknowledging the complexity of issues (3) engaging in flexible thinking (4) acknowledging the evolving nature of knowledge (5) questioning omniscient authority and (6) making decisions in a thoughtful and reflective manner. (Schommer-Aikens & Hutter, p.3)
The biographer of the article used two questions on the participants in the research. The responses that they gave to his or hers questions were evaluated and put up against the six specific thinking processes. The author gave the applicants questions that were meant to deal with the communication between women and men and the problem of abortion. (Schommer-Aikens, p.1) The author used the Schommer Epistemological Questionnaire (Schommer, 1990) to assess four beliefs. The concern; “the stability of knowledge (ranging from knowledge is certain to knowledge is tentative), the structure of knowledge (ranging from knowledge is organized as isolated facts to knowledge is organized as integrated conceptions), the control of learning (ranging from the ability to learn is genetically determined to the ability to learn is enhanced through education and experience), and the speed of learning (ranging from learning is quick or not-at-all to the speed of learning is gradual).” (Schommer-Aikens, p.2)
One hundred and seventy four people from Wichita, KS participated in the research study. There were one hundred and twenty women and fifty-four men who participated in the study. Sixty-seven out of the one hundred and seventy four participants in the study had a high school or vocational education, sixty -five had completed a college education and forty two had a postgraduate education. All of the participants in the study were between the ages of seventeen and seventy one and all had a average age of thirty-eight (Schommer-Aikens, p.4). There were three primary results from this survey. First of all, the less adults believed in simple knowledge, the more likely they were to take on multiple perspectives, acknowledge the complexity of controversial issues, be flexible, and take time to ponder controversial issues. Secondly, the less participants believed in a definite knowledge, the more likely that they were to suggest that some of their definite answers would be difficult to acquire because there were too many factors that affects the issues and that the nature of those same issues would always be continually evolving. Finally, (Schommer-Aikens, p.7) stated, “women were more likely to take on multiple perspectives and to suggest that these issues were multifaceted.”
Identify the philosophical assumptions underlying the research and methodology. There are numerous assumptions included in this research study that needs to be stated. The author states some explicitly and some are only seen after thoughtful consideration. The author openly addresses several assumptions. (Schommer-Aikens, p.3) states, “it is assumed that this questionnaire assesses individuals’ default beliefs.” Another assumption is that the epistemological questionnaire that was conducted captured dominant or default characteristic of each person’s beliefs. A third assumption (though the author calls it a premise) is that when a person really starts to think in a critical way about different issues, especially critical ones, they are more likely to start believing in certain or all epistemological principles. There are also three assumptions that are termed “hypotheses”. The first is that the less a person believes in basic knowledge, the more that individual is likely to demonstrate a higher order thinking on perspective taking, flexible thinking, complexity of issues and reflective ideas. The second hypothesis is that the