Gender, social distance, and justifications: Statistical discourse analysis of evidence and explanations in online debates

Ming Ming CHIU, Allan C. JEONG

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

This study examined how social (rather than cognitive) antecedents impact students’ use of justifications in online debates. Eighty-seven graduate-level students participated in four weekly online debates. Statistical discourse analysis of 2,028 postings revealed that gender, social distance, and time were linked to use of evidence and explanations. Females used more explanations, while males used more evidence. Responses to males’ messages presented more evidence than explanations. Responses to messages conveying greater versus less social proximity (we/you vs. he/she/they) presented more explanations and evidence, respectively. The findings suggest that systematic manipulation of debate protocol (pronoun usage, gender group composition) can be used to strategically elicit specific types of justifications to help groups work more effectively to achieve deeper shared understanding and learning. Copyright © 2019 AERA.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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social distance
discourse analysis
gender
evidence
manipulation
Group
student
graduate
learning

Citation

Chiu, M. M., & Jeong, A. C. (2019, April). Gender, social distance, and justifications: Statistical discourse analysis of evidence and explanations in online debates. Paper presented at the 2019 American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting: Leveraging Education Research in a “Post-Truth” Era: Multimodal Narratives to Democratize Evidence, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto, Canada.