Epistemic Justification in Multiple Document Literacy (Just MDL)

Students reading. Photo.

Ill: colourbox.no

About the project

Epistemic justification concerns how knowledge claims can be evaluated, for example, by relying on one’s own knowledge and opinion, on external expertise or authority, or by checking multiple external sources for consistency. Epistemic justification falls within the larger area of epistemic cognition, which has been much studied in relation to the processing and understanding of multiple documents in the last decades. In this project, the aim is to investigate the role of epistemic justification in students’ selection, evaluation, processing, and use of information when reading multiple documents on various digital platforms and in various digital contexts. In particular, the need to justify knowledge claims in appropriate ways is salient in the information wilderness of the open Internet where inaccurate and untruthful information may be spread both intentionally and unintentionally A first study including a sample of teacher education students was conducted during the winter of 2019/2020. This study investigated the effects of an intervention on participants’ beliefs about epistemic justification and their subsequent performance on a multiple document literacy task. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions that promoted the conception that an appropriate way to judge the trustworthiness of information is to rely on personal understanding and practical experience, the expertise of the author, or comparison of multiple sources. Results showed that participants’ beliefs about epistemic justification were strongly influenced by the intervention. Beyond effects on self-reported justification beliefs, effects on participants’ selection of documents varying in terms of the expertise of the author and the stance toward the issue discussed across the documents were observed, as well as effects on how participants justified their document selections, processed the selected documents, and finally used them in their written task products. 


Further reading:

Bråten, I., Braasch, J. L. G., & Salmerón, L. (2020). Reading multiple and non-traditional texts: New opportunities and new challenges. In E. B. Moje, P. Afflerbach, P. Enciso, & N. K. Lesaux (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. V, pp. 79-98). New York: Routledge.  

Bråten, I., Brandmo, C., & Kammerer, Y. (2019). A validation study of the Internet-Specific Epistemic Justification Inventory with Norwegian pre-service teachers. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 57, 877-900.

Kammerer, Y., Gottschling, S., & Bråten, I. (2021). The role of Internet-specific justification beliefs in source evaluation and corroboration during Web search on an unsettled socio-scientific issue. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 59, 342-378.

Partner in project

Kristiania University College

Published Dec. 6, 2019 2:59 PM - Last modified Apr. 28, 2022 11:40 AM