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ERIC Number: ED409566
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Electronic Messages: Can We Expect Them To Be Coherent?
Tao, Liqing; Moon, Jennifer
A study examined discussions on an instructional listserv, an open forum with several hundred subscribers across the world. The study investigated the coherence of a group of electronic mail (e-mail) messages taken from an academic listserv under one topic. Coherence is important as it contributes to the comprehension of a text. Participants on the listserv are mostly academic professionals and other professionals associated with the list's focus on instructional technology. First, e-mail messages on several topics were collected over a period of 1 month. Then, "No Jokes," the group of messages to be examined was selected; it contained 24 messages of different lengths. The subject e-mail message group was scrutinized for themes by using a qualitative content analysis procedure. Results indicated that out of the 24 messages there were 9 themes--one central theme was picked up in 14 messages; 20 times other themes were discussed across 16 messages; and 11 messages of 14 were sent within 2 days. Findings suggest that the e-mail message group seems to lack similarity in themes and the high dissimilarity level makes the group discussion less centered. Based on two measures of similarity and proximity, the messages seem to be lacking in coherence. Some implications for future research on e-mail in education are offered. (Contains 17 references.) (CR)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A