Children gain information from the work through active exploration. But they are also highly attuned to the things that other people tell them, about all sorts of topics: social customs, object labels, physical phenomena.

 

They ask questions in order to elicit specific types of information and understand that some people probably have more specified types of knowledge than other people (e.g., doctors are more likely to know about medicine and pilots are more likely to know about airplanes).

But in relying on other people for information, we are also faced with a serious epistemological challenge: how do we figure out which people and what information to trust? How do we know when knowledge is justified, and whether someone has come about it in a reliable way? How do our environments (physical and social) shape the kind of information we have access to?

Primary Questions:

(1) How do children learn to ask effective questions?

(2) How do children learn whom to trust for information?

(3) What factors influence these abilities and can they be taught?

(4) What implications do these skills have for later, higher-order capacities, including science and information literacy?