Refutation texts have been previously shown to be effective at promoting knowledge revision. The current study builds on recent trends to gain deeper insights into how this learning advantage can be enhanced and extended to more learners. In particular, we examined whether distinct epistemic profiles can be discerned on the basis of individuals’ beliefs about justification for knowing (i.e., justification by authority, personal opinion, or multiple sources) in the natural sciences. Further, we designed refutation texts according to this trichotomous framework of epistemic justification. We tested whether profiles stronger in certain dimensions would attain higher learning scores over others and whether consistency between profiles and texts would confer a learning advantage compared to when these factors were inconsistent. Results showed that distinct epistemic profiles are discernable and a profile with stronger preference for justification by multiple sources, authority, and lower preference for justification by personal opinion in natural science attained higher learning scores. Further, higher learning scores were observed when refutation texts justified by authoritative explanations were consistent with one cluster dominant in preference for justification by authority. Theoretical and instructional design implications are discussed.
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