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Epistemic beliefs and written historical reasoning: Exploring their relationship


Kristin A. Sendur

Jannet van Drie

Carla van Boxtel


In this descriptive study, we investigated undergraduate students’ epistemic beliefs in history and examined the relationship between students’ beliefs and their performance in written historical reasoning in the context of a historical reasoning course. We measured students’ expressed epistemic beliefs in history through a discipline-specific survey, which we compared with students’ performance when writing a source-based historical argument. A subset of students also participated in a task-based interview to investigate more tacit epistemic beliefs related to the second-order concept, account. We found a significant correlation between students’ performance in source-based argumentative writing and their epistemic beliefs regarding historical methodology. Most students’ interview answers corresponded to their epistemic beliefs as indicated in the survey, but there was less correspondence between students’ interviews and writing. This study demonstrates the usefulness of the epistemic beliefs survey and provides evidence that students’ conceptions of the second-order concept, account, may be related to their epistemic beliefs.


Writing, higher education, epistemic beliefs, historical reasoning

How to Cite:

Sendur, K. A., van Drie, J., & van Boxtel, C. (2022). Epistemic beliefs and written historical reasoning: Exploring their relationship. Historical Encounters, 9(1), 141-158.


  • Published 8 April 2022

  • Double Blind Peer Reviewed

  • Author Retains Copyright

  • Distributed under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 License

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