Contemporary Epistemological Research in Education: Reconciliation and Reconceptualization of the Field

Theo Niessen, Tineke Abma, Guy Widdershoven, Cees Van Der Vleuten, Sanne Akkerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In this article the authors challenge contemporary epistemological research within educational settings. After a reconciliation of the current models which treat epistemological beliefs as static and mechanical, the authors present a teaching experience to illustrate their enactivist view that epistemological beliefs should be conceptualized as fluid and dynamic constructs, emerging in web-like configurations. Answers to epistemological questions unfold within the interstices and mutual interactions between people and their environment. Boundaries between student—teacher, individual—community, cognition—bodily experience are becoming blurred. From this enactivist perspective the researcher's role changes considerably. Instead of determining teachers’ personal traits and epistemological make-up, the researcher should sensitize teachers to the subtle ways epistemological beliefs are enmeshed within their day-to-day professional lives, focusing on the complex fabric of the teaching practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-45
Number of pages19
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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