Scholarly Holds Lead Over Popular and Instructional: Text Type Influences Epistemological Reading Outcomes



Scholarly scientific literature conveys epistemological assumptions scientists operate on. Popular scientific literature and instructional science texts deviate in their portrayal of science from these epistemological assumptions. Thus, scholarly scientific literature holds more potential for improving students’ epistemological understanding of science. In an experimental study, we had 78 high school students read an original report from a scholarly scientific journal, a version of the same research article modified for low-knowledge readers, a popular scientific article, or a chapter from a science textbook. Students who had read the research article or the modified research article improved significantly strongest in their understanding of the constructive nature of science and the argumentative nature of science. We conclude that scholarly scientific literature produces more beneficial epistemological reading outcomes than popular scientific literature and instructional science texts. Therefore, science teachers should be encouraged to incorporate scholarly scientific literature in classroom reading activities.