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Table 1 Pattern matrix for the five-factor solution obtained through exploratory factor analysis

From: Exploring laypeople’s epistemic beliefs about medicine – a factor-analytic survey study

  Factor     
  1 2 3 4 5
Research in medicine has shown that there is one clear answer to most problems. .541     
If one has to decide between different therapy advices, one should only heed the physician’s advice. .533     
If physicians address themselves to the investigation of a question, they will find the correct answer to almost all questions. .507     
Medical knowledge is indefeasible. .445     
If different physicians predict the progress of a person’s disease, they almost always agree. .412     
In medicine, facts speak for themselves. .386     
Some day medical researchers will be able to clear up all medical questions. .355     
Medical textbooks almost always contain reliable statements with regard to medical research.   -.719    
Medical textbooks are a trustable source for gathering medical findings.   -.718    
One can almost always receive verified medical information from medical textbooks.   -.583    
One should almost always critically scrutinize medical information from textbooks.   .522    
One can almost always receive verified medical information from the Internet.    .766   
The Internet almost always contains reliable statements with regard to medical research.    .710   
The Internet is a trustable source for gathering medical findings.    .538   
One should almost always critically scrutinize medical information from the Internet.    -.486   
Finally one can only trust the medical advice of someone who has the (same) disease.     .663  
People who have a disease usually know better what to do than physicians.     .569  
The knowledge gained by medical research is mostly not applicable to everyday life. It only refers to idealized experiments in the laboratory.     .466  
In choosing a therapy one should only follow the advices of a general practitioner, even though the latest medical research potentially shows different results.     .421  
Scientific theories in medicine, that we currently assume to be right, can be confuted in the future.      .599
Even medical knowledge has to be revised over and over.      .563
The viewpoints in medical research change constantly.      .456
Theories in medicine can be confuted anytime.      .416
Even though medical research deals intensively with the origin of different diseases like for example cancer, it does not find one clearly correct explanation.      .374
Number of items per factor 7 4 4 4 5
Cronbach’s α .69 .73 .74 .61 .60
  1. Note: Pattern matrix, EFA, oblimin rotation, delta = 0, Maximum-Likelihood extraction. The factor analysis was conducted on the original item scores. For the calculation of sum scores for the five factors, several items need to be recoded (see section “Recoding of the items for further analyses”).