New output: Collaborative Epistemic Discourse in Classroom Information Seeking Tasks

The second (and final) publication from my MPhil should be out in the next few months at Technology, Pedagogy, and Education (TPE).  The journal irritatingly has an 18 month embargo, so the full record is freely available on ORO but to download it you have to click the link and then I manually send a copy (feel free to do this!).


We discuss the relationship between information seeking, and epistemic beliefs – beliefs about the source, structure, complexity, and stability of knowledge – in the context of collaborative information seeking discourses. We further suggest that both information seeking, and epistemic cognition research agendas have suffered from a lack of attention to how information seeking as a collaborative activity is mediated by talk between partners – an area we seek to address in this paper. A small-scale observational study using sociocultural discourse analysis was conducted with eight eleven year old pupils who carried out search engine tasks in small groups. Qualitative and quantitative analysis were performed on their discussions using sociocultural discourse analytic techniques. Extracts of the dialogue are reported, informed by concordance analysis and quantitative coding of dialogue duration. We find that 1) discourse which could be characterised as ‘epistemic’ is identifiable in student talk, 2) that it is possible to identify talk which is more or less productive, and 3) that epistemic talk is associated with positive learning outcomes.

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