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The European Journal of Communication Research

Ed. by Averbeck-Lietz, Stefanie / d'Haenens, Leen

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Volume 42, Issue 4


Epistemological dimensions on screen: The role of television presentations in changing conceptions about the nature of knowledge and knowing

Lars Guenther
  • Corresponding author
  • Stellenbosch University, Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST), Stellenbosch, South Africa
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/ Sabrina H. Kessler
Published Online: 2017-03-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2017-0020


In (in)formal learning scenarios, individuals should develop epistemological beliefs (i.e., individual conceptions about the nature of knowledge and knowing) that are advantageous for understanding everyday science- and health-related information. To date, researchers measuring how to foster students’ discipline-specific epistemological beliefs have often tested researcher-designed texts in short-term interventions. Applying this logic to audio-visual stimuli, television clips might also affect (e.g., change) the epistemological beliefs of students. To test this assumption, three different television stimuli on the subject of Alzheimer’s disease with varying levels depicting the presented knowledge (as more advantageous, moderate, or less advantageous) were therefore selected by means of a content analysis, and their effects tested on a sample of 72 students using a pre-/post-test questionnaire. The results showed some partial support for the assumption that the epistemological beliefs of participants could become less advantageous when they are exposed to television clips depicting knowledge as moderate or less advantageous.

Keywords: epistemological beliefs; television clips in (in)formal learning environments; science and health communication

About the article

Published Online: 2017-03-22

Published in Print: 2017-11-27

Citation Information: Communications, Volume 42, Issue 4, Pages 481–501, ISSN (Online) 1613-4087, ISSN (Print) 0341-2059, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/commun-2017-0020.

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