Date of Award

Summer 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Studies

Committee Director

Stephen W. Tonelson

Committee Member

Dwight Allen

Committee Member

John Nunnery


This study investigated the cultural differences of epistemological beliefs and moral reasoning between American and Chinese college students (N=452) recruited from three universities, Old Dominion University in the eastern United States, Luoyang Normal University in the central China and Central University for Nationalities in northern China. A series of factorial MANOVA was conducted to explore the influence of gender, ethnicity and nationality as the independent variables on epistemological beliefs measured with five EBI (Epistemological Beliefs Inventory) scores and moral reasoning measured with two DIT (Defining Issues Test) scores as dependent variables.

No effects were found for gender and ethnicity on epistemological beliefs and moral reasoning. Significant differences were found between American college students and Chinese college students in the epistemological beliefs of simple knowledge, certain knowledge, omniscient authority and quick learning. Additionally, a significant, but small correlation between moral reasoning and epistemological beliefs was found in the American sample while no significant correlation was found between moral reasoning and epistemological beliefs in the Chinese group.