Epistemological Framing in Statistics Courses for Psychology Students

Carlos Manuel Vargas, University of Texas at El Paso


As psychology grows in popularity, most students select professions related to therapy, which constantly deem statistics courses as irrelevant and accentuate negative attitudes. This study explores perspectives of knowledge, also known as epistemological frames, that students enrolled in a psychology-based course in statistics generate and the extent to which these relate to attitudes. Research evidence the existence of productive and unproductive epistemological frames; the former involves automatic thought processes that require minimal effort or sense of voluntary control, while the latter prompts conscious learning efforts. This study follows an explanatory sequential design as it begins with a quantitative phase analyzing the range of attitudes that students generate and the extent to which these change among psychology instructors, for the follow up qualitative phase, students of different attitude ranges were chosen to explore their epistemological frames. The quantitative results evidence similarity across attitude levels, regardless of the professor teaching the course. The qualitative and integrated analysis evidenced patterns of unproductive frames among low and medium attitude students differing from high attitude students on perspectives of knowledge and course content knowledge. This study should encourage every statistics professor to question not only if the delivery of material is effective to generate knowledge, but if this knowledge transitions to the construction of productive epistemological frames that can foster positive attitudes as this course is useful for every psychology student, regardless of the specialization area.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Education|Educational psychology|Epistemology|Statistics

Recommended Citation

Vargas, Carlos Manuel, "Epistemological Framing in Statistics Courses for Psychology Students" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30486393.