Social Network Analysis to Examine Interaction Patterns in Knowledge Building Communities


  • Donald N. Philip University of Toronto



This paper describes use of social network analysis to examine student interaction patterns in a Grade 5/6 Knowledge Building class. The analysis included face-to-face interactions and interactions in the Knowledge Forum® Knowledge Building environment. It is argued that sociogram data are useful to reveal group processes; in sociological terms, the community lies in the connections among the group. A classroom of unconnected individuals is unlikely to form as a Knowledge Building community; data analyses reported in this study show promise in understanding the dynamics of Knowledge Building in a consistent and measurable way. The strength of the work is not in particular patterns demonstrated but in new forms of assessment and their potential to inform work as it proceeds. The research reported shows that teachers and students are finding social network analysis useful and that through their engagement research-practitioner-engineer teams are better positioned to develop tools to advance Knowledge Building pedagogy.

Author Biography

Donald N. Philip, University of Toronto

Sessional instructor, Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences