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ERIC Number: EJ873517
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 16
ISSN: ISSN-1741-8887
Graphically Mapping Electronic Discussions: Understanding Online Conversational Dynamics
Duncan-Howell, Jennifer
E-Learning, v5 n3 p323-336 2008
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 a message 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 article presents 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 which electronic discussions may follow. It was further discovered that each of these patterns was indicative of a distinct type of electronic discussion. The findings from this study offer further insight into the nature of online discussions and help us to understand online conversational dynamics. (Contains 5 figures and 7 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia