Students’ epistemological beliefs from two studies of calculus and physics

Anna McLean Phillips, Caroline Merighi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther


Students often take introductory physics concurrently with calculus, and the two disciplines are deeply intertwined. While students' epistemological beliefs in physics have been studied extensively, less work has examined their beliefs in calculus. Even less is known about how students' epistemological beliefs in physics and calculus may relate, interact, and shift together or separately. We report on results of two independent studies: one including interviews of calculus students and one of introductory physics students. Across both studies, we found that students made statements consistent with an algorithmic view of calculus while also expressing a view of physics as about sense-making. Through close analysis of one physics student, we also show that it is possible for a student to shift from a novice-like view of physics to an expert-like one while maintaining a algorithmic view of calculus.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Physics Education Research Conference, 2017
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePER Conference series
PublisherAmerican Association of Physics Teachers

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