Multivocality

Suthers, D., Lund, K., Rosé, C. P., Teplovs, C., Law, N. (accepted). Productive Multivocality in the Analysis of Group Interactions, edited volume, Springer.

The vision for cross-theory discussion enabled in part by Souflé was realized in a series of workshops and a symposium co-organized by myself, Daniel Suthers (University of Hawai'i at Manoa), Kristine Lund (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon), Christopher Teplovs (Problemshift, Inc), and Nancy Law (University of Hong Kong), and resulting in an edited volume (Suthers, Lund, Rosé, Teplovs, & Law, in press) under contract with Springer in which we have worked along with about forty other colleagues internationally who represent a variety of theoretical perspectives in the learning sciences to develop a new paradigm for analysis of collaborative learning interactions we refer to as multi-vocal analysis.

Multi-vocal analysis is an iterative analytic process in which representatives of multiple theoretical and methodological perspectives have the opportunity to speak to one another and challenge one another while examining data that are of common interest. It is a step beyond a multi-methods approach because it involves analysts of opposing viewpoints working together rather than individual analysts or teams applying multiple methodologies from a common perspective. The paradigm is for at least three teams from diverse theoretical and/or methodological perspectives to independently analyze a data set from their own perspective. After the individual analyses are presented, a discussant identifies common themes and points of divergence. Group discussion then follows, after which the analysts revisit their analyses. The edited volume includes multi-vocal analyses of five data sets, which is just a subset of the data examined over the series of workshops. Out of the five data sets examined at length in the book, two of them include Souflé analyses. Even more important than the ways in which this multi-vocal process sharpened and enriched the analyses of each data set, as well documented within the volume, the community of researchers participating in the process benefitted from the intensive exchange between subcommunities that are frequently more isolated from one another in practice.

My role in the book has been to serve as section editor for two of the five data sets. In particular, one related to analysis of Peer Lead Chemistry Teams and another related to 9th Grade Biology. In the peer lead chemistry section, I co-authored one of the analysis chapters as well as authored the discussant chapter. In the 9th grade biology section, I co-authored the data chapter and one of the analysis chapters. I also co-authored a chapter on theory development in multivocal analysis and first authored one on methodology of multivocal analysis.

Carolyn Penstein Rose (cprose@cs.cmu.edu)/ Carnegie Mellon University