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ERIC Number: ED408578
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 7
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Comparing Face-to-Face and Electronic Discourse: Issues and Questions Raised in a Research Study.
Topper, Andrew
A study compared the discourse within a knowledge-building community in dual mediums: face-to-face meetings and electronic mail postings to a discussion list. Participants were faculty members and graduate students at a major university. The study focused on patterns of participation in both mediums, changes in these patterns, and possible effects of authority on participation within each medium. It examined issues related to analyzing electronic discourse and comparing participation in this medium with more traditional modes of social interaction, especially face-to-face conversations or discussions. Participants were active in both mediums, and the group worked collaboratively to build a series of Web-based resources for teachers over a 3-month period. Data included interviews, audio and video tapes of meetings, participant observations in a reflective journal, meeting notes, and e-mail posted to discussion groups. Results indicated, through discourse analysis, that changes in the management of face-to-face meetings over time reflected overall changes in authority within the group, initially run by the project leader and dominated by faculty members; later meetings showed more shared authority with graduate students having more opportunities to speak and ask questions. Findings suggest that, unlike face-to-face conversation, an e-mail conversation can only take place when an opening message is responded to by another participant, giving access to the "virtual floor" in retrospect. (Contains 12 references.) (Author/CR)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A