Domain-Generality and Domain-Specificity in Personal Epistemology Research: Philosophical and Empirical Reflections in the Development of a Theoretical Framework




This review synthesizes and critically examines 19 empirical studies that have addressed the domain-specificity/domain-generality issue in personal epistemology. We present an overview of traditional and more contemporary epistemological stances from philosophical perspectives to offer another basis from which to examine this issue. Explicit examples of academic domains are described and epistemological comparisons are made based on our synthesized definition. Given the epistemological similarities and differences across domains that we identified from empirical and philosophical considerations, we propose that beliefs are both domain general and domain specific. Accordingly, we present a theoretical framework of personal epistemology that incorporates both positions and hypothesize how the belief systems might interact in terms of the development of personal epistemology and relations to various facets of cognition, motivation, and achievement. The article ends with a discussion of educational implications.



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