The Role of Epistemic Thinking in Comprehension of Multiple Online Source Perspectives

Yoram Eshet, Sarit Barzilai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


One of the ongoing challenges of developing learners’ digital literacy is
fostering the ability to critically construct meaning from diverse online
sources. The purpose of the current study is to shed light on the role of
learners’ epistemic thinking on their ability to identify and interpret online
source perspectives. The study examines the effect of epistemic perspective
(absolutist, multiplist, or evaluativist) and online source perspectives
(conflicting or converging blog-posts) on learners’ ability to understand,
evaluate, and integrate multiple socio-scientific perspectives. Preliminary
results from a pilot study indicated that in the converging blog-posts
condition epistemic thinking did not play a significant role, however, in the
conflicting blog-posts condition, participants with high evaluativist scores
were significantly more successful in comprehension and integration of
multiple source perspectives. A concerning finding is that few students
referred to author perspectives in their source evaluations. We propose that
when presenting learners with conflicting online sources it is also important
to address learners’ epistemic perspectives and to help them develop a deeper
understanding of the constructed nature of knowledge.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 8th Chais Conference for Innovation in Learning technologies
Place of PublicationRaanana
PublisherOpen University of Israel Press
Number of pages7
StatePublished - 2013


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