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Graphically mapping electronic discussions: understanding online conversational dynamics

Duncan-Howell, Jennifer A. (2008) Graphically mapping electronic discussions: understanding online conversational dynamics. E-Learning, 5(3), pp. 324-337.

Abstract

Transcripts of electronic discussions have traditionally been examined via the use of conversational analysis techniques. Coding such transcripts provides rich data regarding the content and nature of the discussions that take place. However, understanding the content of the messages is not limited to the actual message itself. An electronic message is sent either in response to or to start a discussion thread. Examining the entry point of a new message can help to clarify the dynamics of the community discussion. Electronic discussions do not appear to follow traditional conversational norms. New messages may be immediate responses or they can be responses to messages posted over a longer period of time in the past. However, by graphically mapping electronic discussions, a clearer understanding of the dynamics of electronic discussions can be achieved. This paper will present the findings of a study that was conducted on three online communities for teachers. The transcripts of electronic discussions were collected and examined via conversational analysis. These messages were then analysed via graphical mapping and the findings concluded that three distinct patterns exist in which electronic discussions may follow. It was further discovered that each of these patterns were indicative of a distinct type of electronic discussion. The findings from this study offer further insight into the nature of online discussions and help to understand online conversational dynamics.

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ID Code: 15068
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
ISSN: 1741-8887
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > OTHER EDUCATION (139900)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Educational Technology and Computing (130306)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2008 Symposium Journals
Copyright Statement: Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Deposited On: 09 Oct 2008
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:45

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