Thai University Students’ Beliefs about Chemistry and Learning Chemistry: Relationships between Epistemic Beliefs and Past Learning Experiences

By Takayoshi Fujiwara and Prapaphim Liptapanlop.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

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The purpose of this study was to examine how similar Thai university students were to the experts in chemistry in terms of their beliefs about chemistry and learning chemistry. The study was also to identify the relationships between the epistemic beliefs and individuals’ characteristics. The participants (N = 319) were undergraduate students studying in a Thai university. They were all Thai native speakers and of Thai nationality. The participants completed a 50-item questionnaire, the chemistry version of Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey (CLASS-Chem) developed by Barbera, Adams, Wieman, and Perkins (2008). The Thai students were less expert-like than the American students in terms of their beliefs about chemistry and learning chemistry. The levels of similarity were significantly different among the groups of the Thai students differing in their subject majors and high school type. Through principal component analysis, a three-factor structure was identified for the beliefs. At those three identified dimensional levels, the beliefs were significantly different only among the students majoring in different subject areas. It appears that the students’ past learning experiences in chemistry, science, and also in general, could be the key factor for the formation and development of their beliefs about chemistry and learning chemistry. It is likely that education could make an impact on the development of the epistemic beliefs about the subject areas.

Keywords: Epistemic Beliefs, Beliefs about Chemistry, Learning Experiences, Thai University Students

The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.129-142. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 419.229KB).

Takayoshi Fujiwara

Lecturer, Humanities and Language Division, Mahidol University International College, Buddhamonthon, Nakhonpathom, Thailand

Takayoshi Fujiwara is a Lecturer at Mahidol University International College, Thailand. His research interests include students’ beliefs about knowledge and knowledge acquisition at both discipline-general and -specific levels, such as in language learning, mathematics, and science. He has an MA in social psychology from Hitotsubashi University, Japan.

Prapaphim Liptapanlop

Undergraduate Student, Biological Science Program, Mahidol University International College, Buddhamonthon, Nakhonpathom, Thailand

Prapaphim Liptapanlop is now a graduate student in Faculty of Psychology, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. She has a BSc in biological science from Mahidol University International College, Thailand.