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Issues in Educational Research, 2019, Vol 29(3), 807-822.
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Measuring students' justificatory reasoning approaches

Richard Lee
University of South Australia

Kim Hoe Looi
Xiamen University Malaysia

Huda Khan, Hannah Soong
University of South Australia

Larry Neale
Queensland University of Technology, Australia

A fundamental role of education is to equip students with sound justificatory reasoning capacities to support one's beliefs or actions and to guide rational decisions about complex problems. However, empirical research into justificatory reasoning among students is virtually non-existent and this impedes education research. This study illustrated the measurement of justificatory reasoning ability and investigated how tertiary students might use different justificatory reasoning forms (absolutism, relativism and evaluativism) depending on the reasoned domain, a controversial domain versus a moral domain. It further tested how different justificatory approaches might relate to varying willingness to engage in argumentation, as well as how they might engender beliefs with different strength of convictions. The results suggest that absolutism was preferred for moral domain, whereas relativism was preferred for controversial domain. However, those who used evaluativism were most willing to engage in discourse to defend their beliefs, and their engendered beliefs were also the strongest. Besides demonstrating how justificatory reasoning may be measured quantitively, the study provides guidance to educators on designing curriculum to develop justificatory reasoning ability. The findings also suggest that educators should not unconditionally focus on developing evaluativism in students, supposedly the highest form of justificatory reasoning.
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Authors: Dr Richard Lee is Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of South Australia. His research expertise is in international and ethnic marketing, with particular focus on Asian markets. His publications include European Journal of Marketing, Journal of International Marketing, and International Marketing Review.
Email: richard.lee@unisa.edu.au
Web: https://people.unisa.edu.au/Richard.Lee

Dr Kim Hoe Looi, formerly at Taylor's University, Malaysia, is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Economics and Management, Xiamen University Malaysia, Malaysia. He obtained his PhD from University of Malaya in 2016. His research interests include higher education, entrepreneurship education and international entrepreneurship.
Email: gideon_looi@xmu.edu.my

Dr Huda Khan is a lecturer in Marketing at the University of South Australia Online. She obtained her PhD from the University of South Australia and is currently enrolled in the Graduate Diploma in Digital Learning. Her research interest in education includes learning analytics tool and technologies in improving students' engagement.
Email: huda.khan@unisa.edu.au
Web: https://people.unisa.edu.au/huda.khan

Dr Hannah Soong is a senior lecturer in the School of Education, University of South Australia. Her research areas include migration-education nexus, teacher education, international schooling and higher education.
Email: Hannah.soong@unisa.edu.au
Web: https://people.unisa.edu.au/Hannah.Soong

Dr Larry Neale is Professor of Marketing and currently Director of Studies at the QUT Business School, Queensland University of Technology, in Brisbane, Australia. He earned his PhD at the University of Western Australia. Larry's research interests include consumer ethics, the impact of religion on consumption, marketing education and sports consumers.
Email: l.neale@qut.edu.au
Web: https://eprints.qut.edu.au/view/person/Neale,_Larry.html

Please cite as: Lee, R., Looi, K. H., Khan, H., Soong, H. & Neale, L. (2019). Measuring students' justificatory reasoning approaches. Issues in Educational Research, 29(3), 807-822. http://www.iier.org.au/iier29/lee.pdf

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Created 14 Jul 2019. Last correction: 14 Jul 2019.
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