Epistemic Thinking's Role in Collaborating on a Wicked Problem

Phillip N Ellis, University of Pennsylvania


Global trends such as climate change, political instability, technology, and rising inequality will radically increase the mental demands on how people know and view knowledge. One way these demands will manifest is through the need for more collaborations to address these wicked problems. Unfortunately, practitioners may be unaware of the available research to help them meet this demand by optimizing epistemic thinking within collaborations. This study addresses this problem by applying one of the more prominent theoretical frameworks within the field of epistemology, the apt-AIR model, to examine a multi-disciplinary, real-world collaborative program. Through semi-structured interviews with 20 participants in this program, the study investigates how epistemic thinking relates to a team's capacity to collaborate on a wicked problem. Its findings provide critical insights into how the program can improve epistemic performance within the collaborations. The findings also offer valuable insights for practitioners designing collaborations and recommendations for making the apt-AIR model more accessible and beneficial for these designers.

Subject Area

Educational psychology|Cognitive psychology|Epistemology

Recommended Citation

Ellis, Phillip N, "Epistemic Thinking's Role in Collaborating on a Wicked Problem" (2022). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI29260610.