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Original scientific paper

A Mixed-Method Study on Measuring Epistemic Emotions as a Trait

Barbara Balaž orcid id ; Catholic University of Croatia, Department of Psychology, Zagreb, Croatia
Nina Pavlin-Bernardić ; University of Zagreb, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Zagreb, Croatia

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Epistemic emotions are typically assessed as a momentary state related to a specific task, while in this study, the aim was to develop a new trait-oriented instruction in the Epistemically-Related Emotion Scales in the context of physics. The Scale measures seven well-established epistemic emotions in academic context, i.e., surprise, curiosity, enjoyment, confusion, anxiety, frustration and boredom. We conducted two studies (i.e., qualitative and quantitative) with 8th-grade students from elementary schools utilising a mixed-method approach. Qualitative analysis indicated a wide range of learning situations in physics in which students typically experience epistemic emotions. Based on those findings, we implemented newly developed trait-oriented instruction of the Scale in the quantitative study. While examining the structural validity of the Scale, the results of confirmatory factor analysis showed unexpected results (i.e., the three negative activating epistemic emotions formed one instead of three separate latent factors). Besides this, the Scale had good criterion validity. The results pointed to the important implications for the application of the Scale. Although the Scale showed adequate psychometric properties for assessing epistemic emotions in a trait-oriented approach, the unexpected factorial structure of the Scale should be tested in further research to examine if the reason was the adolescent age of the participants or the results would be the same with students of different age. This study contributed to the existing literature and empirical data about students’ academic emotions by broadening the research on the important, and highly unexplored group of emotions, i.e., the epistemic emotions in a trait-oriented approach.


epistemic emotions, trait-oriented measure of emotions, mixed-method study, physics

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