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

Lars Guenther 1  and Sabrina H. Kessler 2
  • 1 Stellenbosch University, Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST), Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 2 Friedrich Schiller University, Institute of Communication Research, Jena, Germany


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.

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The European Journal of Communication Research is an established forum for scholarship and academic debate in the field of communication science and research from a European perspective. Communications highlights the concerns of communication science through the publication of articles, research reports, review essays and book reviews on theoretical and methodological developments considered from a European perspective.