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Abstract Title: Six Degrees: Social Network Analysis in PER
Abstract: We recount research questions and theoretical motivations that led us to adopt network analysis in understanding the formation of a learning community as an illustrative example of Social Network Analysis (SNA) as applied to PER.  Social Network Analysis (SNA) and the more general form, Network Analysis, are a set of representational and quantitative tools that can be used to identify patterns among complex, interconnected data. Thus the methodology is well suited seeking patterns among humans engaged in learning within a disciplinary context as we pursue in PER. Two recent papers in PRST-PER [1,2] reflect the flexibility of NA , drawing on different data types (transcripts and surveys), and addressed very different questions (community and epistemic development). While this methodology is well established in other fields, it remains in its infancy in PER; thus the limitations are not well known nor are the approaches clearly fruitful as applied to learning.
Footnote: [1] E. Brewe, L. Kramer, and V. Sawtelle, "Investigating student communities with network analysis of interactions in a physics learning center," Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8, (2012).
[2] M. Bodin, "Mapping university students' epistemic framing of computational physics using network analysis," Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8, 010115 (2012).
Abstract Type: Symposium Poster
Targeted Session: Adopting Theories and Methods from Outside PER

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Eric Brewe
Florida International University