Investigation of Students’ Epistemological Beliefs about Knowledge and Learning in Physics

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The investigation of students’ epistemological beliefs is currently a target of considerable research interest. We investigated Rwandan students’ epistemological beliefs about knowledge and learning in physics. The study was conducted on 796 students from 11 senior secondary schools and Kigali Institute of Education, using a questionnaire consisting of 34 questions, among them 33 are multiple-choice questions. Our study shows that there is a large gap between the epistemological beliefs of the students and that of experts. We identified several common unfavourable epistemological beliefs among Rwandan students about knowledge and learning in physics. Students’ epistemological beliefs play a significant role in their learning process. Previous research studies showed that students’ epistemological expertise correlates with their academic performance and conceptual understanding in science. Therefore, there is a strong need to help physics students to change their unfavourable epistemological beliefs. We discussed some suggestions for improvement of epistemological beliefs of physics students.


Keywords: Epistemological Beliefs, Learning in Physics
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Lakhan Lal Yadav

Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Physics, Kigali Institute of Education
Kigali, Rwanda

I obtained my Ph.D. in physics from University of Rajasthan, India. I am working as an Associate Professor in physics at Kigali Institute of Education, P.O. Box 5039, Kigali, Rwanda. I have published several papers in plasma physics, laser acoustics and science education. My fields of current interest are: plasma physics and science education.

Françoise Mukarabukumba

Secondary School of Rutongo
Kigali, Rwanda


Ibrahim Nsanzineza

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
Cape Town, South Africa


Ref: L08P0155