Collaboration as Co-Constructed Discourse: Developing a Coding Guide for the Analysis of Peer Talk During Educational Information Seeking

Collaboration as Co-Constructed Discourse: Developing a Coding Guide for the Analysis of Peer Talk During Educational Information Seeking

Jonathan Foster (University of Sheffield, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-797-8.ch013
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Abstract

This chapter presents a coding guide for the analysis of peer talk during educational information seeking. The guide is an outcome of a structuring content analysis of learners’ dialogues as they seek, evaluate, and use information on a collaborative basis. The analysis is informed by a language-based theory of learning and the sequential organization of spoken discourse. The generic steps of a structuring content analysis are described first; before each step, sequence, exchange, and move type identified in the dialogues are described. Illustrative examples of each unit and type of talk are provided, so as to aid in the precise and reliable assignment of the categories and codes in further studies. The chapter concludes with implications of the coding guide, and the broader study of which it is a part, for research in educational information seeking.
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Structuring Content Analysis

The aim of a structuring content analysis is to filter out and (re-) assemble certain themes, content, and aspects from the materials used. The content of the materials is (re-) structured, ordered, and analyzed in accordance with a theoretically informed system of categories, and a coding guide results that enables the precise coding of similar materials in the future. The technique can be described in the following way:

“Structuring content analysis seeks to filter out particular aspects of the material and to make a cross-section of the material under ordering criteria that are strictly determined in advance, or to assess the material according to particular criteria. This involves formal, content-focused, typologizing and scaling procedures, depending on the type of structuring dimensions that have been developed in accordance with some theory, and these are then subdivided into individual categories. The basic idea in this is the exact formulation of definitions, typical textual passages (‘key examples’) and coding rules which will result in a coding guide that makes the task of structuring very precise” (Mayring, 2004: 269).

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