I “see” what you are saying: The analytical work of diagrams in online discussions

Tony Loring Stevens


Diagrams illustrating research on discussion forum content in online education practices can assist to clarify an author’s thoughts and assist with the reader’s comprehension. A review of past practices in the use of diagrams to explain, demonstrate or propose research findings shows a diversity of practices emerging from naturalistic settings. The tracing of online discussions is sometimes practiced by mapping the activity of participants using peer interaction patterns through a social network analysis or by imposing a problem-solving framework as a heuristic. Other approaches include diagrams that illustrate learning outcomes from discussions rendered by parsing data against pre-defined categories such as Bloom’s taxonomy. Though the approaches described in the literature here have an innovative or novel character, there is limited evidence of wider-scale uptake in the broader literature relating to analysis of online discussions. Likewise, the practice of graphic elicitation to assist in developing research findings in this area is lacking and an area for future development.


online discussions; diagrams

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14742/ajet.2757