Factors Related to Epistemological Development

In addition to an overall picture of the Chinese engineering students’ epistemological developmental profile, the possible relations between students’ epistemological development and some other factors, such as their academic progress, have also been explored. Specifically, the survey results have also been analyzed with respect to the variables in the demographic survey to explore the potential relationships that exist between the epistemological development profiles and key variables, such as their academic progress, gender, and so on. This chapter illustrates the relationship between students’ epistemological and demographic factors.

Academic Progress

The US doctoral education, especially engineering doctoral education, highlights its training of independent researchers with different abilities. These abilities include creating original research ideas, absorbing and discerning the knowledge accumulated from both past history and the latest technological advances, communicating research findings and/or technological advances to both the scholarly community and a larger audience in both oral and written manners, and adopting and applying latest research findings and translating the findings into functional products or procedures (Golde and Walker 2006). These trainings do not offer a promise, but they still strongly imply the potential benefits for the students to develop relativistic thinking and move toward higher levels in their epistemological development. Here, the possible correlation between the students’ epistemological developmental stages and their academic progress is explored in a quantitative manner.

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore and Higher Education Press 2017 J. Zhu, Understanding Chinese Engineering Doctoral Students in U.S. Institutions, East-West Crosscurrents in Higher Education, DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-1136-8_8

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