The Open UniversitySkip to content

Collaborative Epistemic Discourse in Classroom Information Seeking Tasks

Knight, Simon and Mercer, Neil (2016). Collaborative Epistemic Discourse in Classroom Information Seeking Tasks. Technology, Pedagogy and Education

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (662kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


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.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2014 Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1747-5139
Keywords: epistemic cognition, epistemic beliefs, classroom talk, classroom discourse, collaboration, cscl, cscw, search engines, information seeking, information problem solving, epistemic discourse
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Knowledge Media Institute (KMi)
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 43562
Depositing User: Simon Knight
Date Deposited: 29 Feb 2016 10:53
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2018 18:19
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU