Tracing Identity Exploration Trajectories with Quantitative Ethnographic Techniques: A Case Study

  • Aroutis FosterEmail author
  • Mamta Shah
  • Amanda Barany
  • Hamideh Talafian
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 1112)


This paper is situated in a 5-year NSF CAREER project awarded to test and refine Projective Reflection (PR) as a theoretical and methodological framework for facilitating learning as identity exploration in play-based environments. 54 high school students engaged in Virtual City Planning, an iteratively refined course that provided systematic and personally-relevant opportunities for play, curricular, reflection and discussion activities in Philadelphia Land Science, a virtual learning environment, and in an associated curriculum enacted in a STEM museum-classroom. In-game logged data and in-class student data were examined using Epistemic Network Analysis. An illustrative case study revealed visual and interpretive patterns in students’ identity exploration. The change was reflected in their knowledge, interest and valuing, self-organization and self-control, and self-perception and self-definition (KIVSSSS) in relation to the roles explored from the start of the intervention (Starting Self), during (Exploring role-specific Possible Selves), and the end (New Self).


Identity exploration Epistemic Network Analysis Case study Projective Reflection Virtual learning environments Game-based learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Drexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Elsevier Inc.PhiladelphiaUSA

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