Toward a dialectic relation between the results in CSCL: Three critical methodological aspects of content analysis schemes

Article

Abstract

The research field of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL) includes a large variety of approaches which present significant theoretical and methodological differences. This diversity complicates the articulation of the knowledge that is produced within this investigative framework. The paper addresses this problem from a dialectic view. We propose that the main reason for this problem is not the theoretical and methodological diversity itself, but rather the difficulty of situating one specific result within this diversity in a way that makes dialectic relations between results visible and mutual transformation of the approaches possible. In the present paper, we propose a set of indicators, applicable to content analysis approaches, aimed to facilitate this reciprocal positioning of the results in the field. These indicators come from what we term “critical methodological aspects”: those aspects of the methodological infrastructure that are directly related to theoretical positions. We consider three critical methodological aspects in content analysis schemes: the units of analysis, the relations to be established, and the dimensions of analysis. Indicators regarding these aspects are proposed and defined, and their use for facilitating dialectical relations between results is exemplified by means of the examination of five specific approaches.

Keywords

CSCL Content analysis Critical methodological decisions Dialectics 

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Copyright information

© International Society of the Learning Sciences, Inc.; Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Developmental and Educational PsychologyUniversity of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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