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ERIC Number: EJ975385
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 26
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1554-9178
Empirical Approach to Interpreting Card-Sorting Data
Wolf, Steven F.; Dougherty, Daniel P.; Kortemeyer, Gerd
Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, v8 n1 p010124-1-010124-15 Jan-Jun 2012
Since it was first published 30 years ago, the seminal paper of Chi "et al." on expert and novice categorization of introductory problems led to a plethora of follow-up studies within and outside of the area of physics [Cogn. Sci. 5 121 (1981)]. These studies frequently encompass "card-sorting" exercises whereby the participants group problems. While this technique certainly allows insights into problem solving approaches, simple descriptive statistics more often than not fail to find significant differences between experts and novices. In moving beyond descriptive statistics, we describe a novel microscopic approach that takes into account the individual identity of the cards and uses graph theory and models to visualize, analyze, and interpret problem categorization experiments. We apply these methods to an introductory physics (mechanics) problem categorization experiment, and find that most of the variation in sorting outcome is not due to the sorter being an expert versus a novice, but rather due to an independent characteristic that we named "stacker" versus "spreader." The fact that the expert-novice distinction only accounts for a smaller amount of the variation may explain the frequent null results when conducting these experiments. (Contains 12 figures and 2 tables.)
American Physical Society. One Physics Ellipse 4th Floor, College Park, MD 20740-3844. Tel: 301-209-3200; Fax: 301-209-0865; e-mail: assocpub@aps.org; Web site: http://prst-per.aps.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan