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ERIC Number: ED547097
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 160
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-2350-1
Exploring Students' Mapping Behaviors and Interactive Discourses in a Case Diagnosis Problem: Sequential Analysis of Collaborative Causal Map Drawing Processes
Lee, Woon Jee
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Florida State University
The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of students' mapping and discourse behaviors while constructing causal maps to articulate their understanding of a complex, ill-structured problem. In this study, six graduate-level students were assigned to one of three pair groups, and each pair used the causal mapping software program, "jMAP," to collaboratively construct causal maps as they discussed and worked hand-in-hand with a student peer to diagnose an instructional design problem. Sequential analysis was used to analyze video recordings of each pair's computer desktop to identify typical processes and patterns of mapping and discourse behaviors used by the students. Most of all, sequential analysis was used to compare and identify differences in the sequential patterns and processes of mapping and discourse behaviors between student pairs--differences that might help to explain observed differences in the accuracy of the maps produced by the student pairs. Overall, the findings in this study revealed different behavioral patterns in the map construction process between the groups--differences that provided plausible explanations as to why some groups produced more accurate maps than others. Group 1 followed a four-step linear process of executing the major map drawing behaviors of node positioning, inserting causal links, changing link attributes, and inserting comments on a link. The pattern exhibited by Group 1's discourse revealed how one dominant student's explanations presented just prior to positioning a node and inserting links were intended to simply to announce (as opposed to initiate discussion) the next mapping action the student was about to perform on the group's causal map. As a result, Group 1 produced the least accurate map among the three groups. In contrast, Group 2 used a three-step linear but iterative process of positioning nodes, adding links, and specifying link attributes while working progressively backwards from nodes that had the most direct and/or immediate effect on the outcome variable to those that had the least direct/immediate effect. Group 2 engaged in collaborative discussions (primarily initiated by explanations presented by the more knowledgeable student) to decide where to place and link the next node, a process which produced the most accurate map among the three groups. Group 3, which produced the second most accurate map among the three groups, followed a stepwise process in which the students shared equal responsibility in positioning all or most of the nodes first (with each node positioning preceded and/or followed immediately with collaborative discourse) before placing links between the nodes. Group 3 also exhibited a pattern which suggests that nodes and links were placed to create a shared visual artifact that could then be used to explain and re-evaluate the most recent action performed on the map. The behavioral patterns and their association with map accuracy suggest two procedures to incorporate into existing causal mapping guidelines. First, encourage students to use an iterative and systematic mapping approach while working progressively backwards from the final outcome to the mediating and root causes. Second, prompt students to engage in collaborative and interrogative exchanges to share ideas and make meaningful contributions to the causal reasoning and map construction process. The main implication of this study is that these and other established causal mapping processes can now be operationally measured and tested, and most all, formalized, standardized, and built into the causal mapping software/interface to reduce individual differences in causal mapping skills. In doing so, causal mapping software may one day be used as a tool for conducting large-scale formative and summative assessments of students' understanding of complex systems. Furthermore, the methods and findings presented in this study provide ideas for future research on how to improve the process-oriented approach to studying the instructional uses of causal maps. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A