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The study aims to determine pre-service science teachers’ epistemological beliefs. For this purpose, the research was carried out with the participation of five fourth grade pre-service science teachers enrolled at the education faculty of a university in Kayseri during the 2014-2015 spring semester. Phenomenology design was used and a semi-structured interview including 13 items was conducted for the data collection. The qualitative data were analyzed via content analysis by developing codes and themes based on the five epistemological belief categories. According to the findings, the pre-service science teachers’ epistemological belief categories can be put in order from the most sophisticated to the most naive as follows: ‘Omniscient authority’, ‘Certain knowledge and quick learning’, ‘Simple knowledge’, and ‘Innate ability’. The findings indicated that epistemological beliefs of the participants may be at different development levels for each category. Since they reflect the individual differences, epistemological beliefs should not be ignored in developing a program and in determining classroom activities. PSTs should acquire the necessary information about epistemological beliefs during their undergraduate in order to use effective teaching methods, assessment and evaluation techniques, and teaching materials, know how to manage the classroom and what the students should focus on during the learning process, and be aware of their students’ misconceptions in the future.
Keywords: epistemological beliefs; pre-service science teachers; qualitative study; phenomenology
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