Knowledge Assumptions amongst Doctoral Students: A Case Study at the University of South Africa

RJ Botha (Nico)


This study explores the correlation between a group of South African doctoral students’ assumptions about knowledge or epistemological beliefs and their behaviour applicable to research information gathering activities while compiling their research proposals for the doctorate. Six divergent models of epistemological development from the educational psychology (in chronological order) as well as an information search process model formed the conceptual, theoretical framework for the investigation. Ten enrolled doctoral students from the College of Education at the University of South Africa were interviewed about this correlation. The findings provide a rich theoretical foundation for future information-seeking behaviour research among doctoral students and provide insights into the impact of students’ epistemological beliefs on their information seeking patterns. The findings furthermore confirm the correlation between core epistemological beliefs and information gathering patterns amongst South African doctoral students and provide substantial justification for using epistemological beliefs in the supervision of doctoral students.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p1068

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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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