A cross-cultural study on the epistemic thinking of students in Burkina Faso and Germany Presentation (Faculty180)

cited authors

  • Haubert, Lindsey; Feucht, Florian C; Frede, Valerie; Mohme, Andres; Rotshtein, Regina; Porter, Kristen


  • SUMMARY Good citizenship requires people to be competent in seeking information, making decisions, and taking action within their own social and political context (Feucht, 2010). Epistemic thinking, the understanding of individuals about the nature of knowledge and knowing, plays an important role in implementing these capabilities (Hofer, 2001). If we are to preserve a rightful and ethical education in school systems around the world, classroom education needs to foster autonomous and epistemic thinking in students within their cultural context. In this cross-cultural study, students in Burkina Faso (n=57) and Germany (n=47) were asked to identify five items that look like knowledge and write a rationale for one of the chosen items. Students completed this task both at school and at home. The qualitative data analysis found that the epistemic thinking of the children of Burkina Faso revolved around the every day activities of their parents that are useful to sustaining life, as was apparent in their choices of knowledge sources. In contrast German students’ epistemic thinking was more connected to education, as was apparent in their choices of external educational knowledge sources, such as books and computers.

publication date

  • 2014