Relationships between inductive reasoning and knowledge based variables: An integration of psychometric and cognitive approaches
DiLivio, Lynn L.
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Although inductive reasoning has been studied in the literature, empirical investigations have been framed in either a psychometric or cognitive approach, thus limiting a comprehensive understanding of this important construct. The current study attempts to bridge these paradigms through an integrated approach to shed insight into this construct. The study derived a framework of knowledge based variables from the cognitive literature (domain knowledge, knowledge beliefs, and expertise) expected to influence inductive reasoning and developed an instrument to measure inductive reasoning ability. Specifically, the research question examined if inductive reasoning ability (as indicated by scores on the new instrument) varies between academic domain (math vs. English students); expertise (undergraduates vs. graduate students); and knowledge beliefs. A pilot study was conducted on a sample of college students (N = 108) in which a 20-item inductive reasoning instrument evidenced support for content validity and internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha = .74). In the main study, the new instrument assessed inductive reasoning ability on a sample (N = 95) of college students but results from the ANCOVA analysis found only a significant relationship between inductive reasoning and knowledge beliefs. Results are discussed with regard to limitations of instrumentation, the challenges of integrating the psychometric and cognitive approaches in the current study, and the larger issue of bridging the gap between the two paradigms in educational psychology.