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Epistemological Beliefs and Knowledge among Physicians: A Questionnaire Survey

By Adolfo Peña MD, Ofelia Paco Paco MD and Carlos Peralta MD

Abstract

Background: All sciences share a common underlying epistemological domain, which gives grounds to and characterizes their nature and actions. Insofar as physicians depend on scientific knowledge, it would be helpful to assess their knowledge regarding some theoretical foundations of science. Objectives: 1.To assess resident physicians' knowledge of concepts and principles underlying all sciences. 2. To determine, to what extent physicians' epistemological beliefs and attitudes are compatible with the scientific paradigm. Design: A questionnaire was administered to 161 resident physicians at three hospitals in Lima, Peru. Results: 237 resident physicians were selected, 161 (68%) of whom agreed to answer the survey. 67% of respondents indicated they did not know what epistemology is, 21% were able to correctly define epistemology; 24% of the residents knew the appropriate definition of scientific theory. No respondents knew the philosophical presumptions of science; and 48% took a relativistic stand towards knowledge. Conclusions: There appear to be deficiencies in the knowledge of scientific theoretical foundations among physicians

Topics: MEO Peer Reviewed
Year: 2002
OAI identifier: oai:cogprints.org:2367

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