Methods for Analyzing Computer-Mediated Communication in Educational Sciences

Methods for Analyzing Computer-Mediated Communication in Educational Sciences

Huseyin Ozcinar (Pamukkale University, Turkey) and H. Tugba Ozturk (Ankara University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3918-8.ch013
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Abstract

Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) is the process by which individuals can exchange information, communicate with each other in multiple ways, and socially construct knowledge by means of networked information and communication technologies (Gunawerdana et al., 1997). CMC tools record transcripts of messages and interactions and provide researchers with a “ready-made” source of data. Today, researchers are seeking for alternative theories, methods, and software tools in order to better investigate CMC and its effect on different learning outcomes (Garrison, 2000). In order to understand the learning process in CMC, content analysis, and sequential analysis (interaction analysis), Jeong (2005) offers a methodological framework to explore the discussion process, product, and quality. Therefore, in this chapter, the authors aim to provide guidance for scholars and practitioners by referring to the basics of the two complementary methods (content analysis and sequential analysis), pitfalls, challenges, as well as strategies and implications of the methods.
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A Brief Introduction To Cmc

Advances in information and communication technologies have been transforming education and research. Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC) tools are emerging as a promising means of enhancing constructivist learning environments and have become ubiquitous in teaching, learning and research praxis. CMC facilitates rich multi-way communication opportunities either synchronously (communication occurs in real-time) or asynchronously (communication occurs at different times); provides tools for knowledge sharing such as discussion forums; and promotes social knowledge construction (Bodzin & Park, 2000). In this study, CMC refers to the process by which individuals can exchange information, communicate with each other in multiple ways and socially construct knowledge by means of networked information and communication technologies (Gunawerdana et al., 1997).

In the last four decades, there has been an accelerating trend in using these technologies for both instructional and research purposes. This in turn demands new knowledge and strategies to use CMC effectively and overcome the pitfalls. Therefore, in this study, we firstly presented fundamental and practical information about two complementary methodologies (content analysis and sequential analysis) used in CMC and then elaborated upon these emergent trends with a case study and by discussing the implications for practitioners. We aimed to provide guidance for scholars and practitioners by referring to the basics of the two complementary methods, pitfalls, challenges as well as strategies and implication of the methodologies.

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