ERIC Number: EJ1041695
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 53
Student Leadership in Small Group Science Inquiry
Oliveira, Alandeom W.; Boz, Umit; Broadwell, George A.; Sadler, Troy D.
Research in Science & Technological Education, v32 n3 p281-297 2014
Background: Science educators have sought to structure collaborative inquiry learning through the assignment of static group roles. This structural approach to student grouping oversimplifies the complexities of peer collaboration and overlooks the highly dynamic nature of group activity. Purpose: This study addresses this issue of oversimplification of group dynamics by examining the social leadership structures that emerge in small student groups during science inquiry. Sample: Two small student groups investigating the burning of a candle under a jar participated in this study. Design and method: We used a mixed-method research approach that combined computational discourse analysis (computational quantification of social aspects of small group discussions) with microethnography (qualitative, in-depth examination of group discussions). Results: While in one group social leadership was decentralized (i.e., students shared control over topics and tasks), the second group was dominated by a male student (centralized social leadership). Further, decentralized social leadership was found to be paralleled by higher levels of student cognitive engagement. Conclusions: It is argued that computational discourse analysis can provide science educators with a powerful means of developing pedagogical models of collaborative science learning that take into account the emergent nature of group structures and highly fluid nature of student collaboration.
Descriptors: College Students, Cooperative Learning, Inquiry, Group Dynamics, Student Leadership, Mixed Methods Research, Discourse Analysis, Ethnography, Learner Engagement, Science Teachers, Science Instruction, Sociolinguistics, Computation, Experiments, Small Group Instruction
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A