utkast till mitsseminarium gymnasieelevers projektarbete

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utkast till mitsseminarium gymnasieelevers projektarbete

UTKAST TILL MITSSEMINARIUM

GYMNASIEELEVERS PROJEKTARBETE

- DILEMMAN OCH LÖSNINGSMÖNSTER-

ANDERS EKLÖF

Handledare Torgny Ottosson & Lars-Erik Nilsson

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Introduktion 3

Materialet 7

Syfte 9

Metod 9

Teoretiska utgångspukter 11

Om Goffmans inramningsbegrepp 12

Om risk och riskteori 14

Det kulturella/symboliska perspektivet. 15

Risksamhälle perspektivet 15

Govermentality perspektivet 16

Tankar kring material utveckling och vad jag känner att jag behöver ha

hjälp med? 18

Referenser 20

Sammanfattning av studierna 26

Studie 1: Unstructured Information as a Socio-Technical Dilemma 26

Studie 2a och 2b Plagiering och lärandets dilemman i ostrukturerade

miljöer och genreanpassning, instruktioner, text och verk 31

Studie 3 Källhantering och kritiskt tänkande 37

Studie 4 Metodisk artikel kring användandet av Sequential art som

representationsform 39

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Introduktion

DEL 1

GYMNASIEELEVERS PROJEKTARBETE

- DILEMMAN OCH LÖSNINGSMÖNSTER-

Bakgrunden till detta arbete är ett intresse för projektarbetsformen, speciellt de

delar som ligger mellan instruktion och redovisning. Det som studeras är

gymnasieelevernas projektarbete, eller rättare sagt elevernas arbete i den kurs som

kallas PA 1201, projektarbete. Projektarbetet är intressant av många olika

anledningar. Det förekommer i den politiska och mediala diskursen kring

utbildning och den eventuella tillbakagången för svensk skola. Politiker har i

debattartiklar och tv program pekat på valfriheten, elevernas eget ansvarstagande

som delar av förklaringen till att kvaliteten skolan försämrats de senaste 20 åren.

Projektarbetet är också intressant eftersom det ofta motiveras med hänvisning till

kompetenser som förknippas med ett modernt informationssamhälle (Dovemark,

2004; OECD, 2007, 2009; Prensky, 2009). I förarbetena till den nya

gymnasiepropositionen (SOU 2008:27) kopplas projektarbetet bland annat till

EU:s nyckelkompetenser för ett livslångt lärande och eftertraktade kompetenser

som kreativitet, innovativitet, risktagande och förmågan att planera och leda

projekt. Dessa beskrivs som grundläggande färdigheter (Europaparlamentet, 2006).

Liknande skrivningar hittar vi i kommentarmaterialet till kursplan PA

1201(Skolverket, 2001).

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Projektarbetet är också intressant som ett utbildninsgvetenskaplig studieobjekt

eftersom det medför en mängd med problem och dilemman som eleverna tvingas

att hantera, ofta utan lärares närvaro, tillsammans med andra elever i en miljö där

de hela tiden är kopplade mot en mängd externa resurser i form av personer,

experter, nätverk, databaser. Detta kan medföra både bedömningsproblem för

lärarna och referensproblem för eleverna. Studenternas aktiviteter och interaktion

utförs i ett aktivitetssystem som sätter ramar för vad som kan och får göras

(Wertsch, 1985). Trots att eleverna i denna studie arbetar i grupper eller par är

självständighet ett av de uttalade målen för projekten. Att skapa mening i

självständighet och vad det innebär att arbeta själv blir ett av de dilemman som

eleverna behöver hantera. Studenterna befinner sig i en situation där de hela tiden

har tillgång till och använder sig av olika nätverk och resurser samtidigt som

avståndet till läraren är stort, vilket tvingar lärarna att arbeta med sina instruktioner

och eleverna till att lägga en betydande kraft på att tolka dess. Vid sidan om de

organiserade handledningsträffarna kan en tät interaktion med lärarna leda till att

de uppfattas som mindre självständiga. Studenter måste också strukturera

materialet, förhålla sig till instruktioner, förhålla sig till olika genrer genrer och göra

överväganden i om vilka källor som bör användas och hur de får användas. De

förväntas tänka kritisk och måste skapa mening i vad det kan betyda. Dessa och

andra typer av dilemman som eleverna kan försättas i som en följd av hur

projektaktiviteten ramas in finns i fokus för mitt arbete.

I ett allt mer individualiserat samhälle betonar skolsystemet kompetenser som

självständighet, initiativ, uppfinningsrikedom. Det är i första hand elevernas sak att

uppvisa dessa kompetenser. Strävan att utveckla dessa förmågor får också

konsekvensen att eleverna placeras i poetntiellt riskfyllda valsituationer. De val

studenten gör kan leda till konsekvenser som har betydelse för framtiden till

exempel i form av vilka beyg den får. Många gånger är eleverna ensamma, eller

åtminstone i en miljö där ett otal resurser men inte alltid läraren finns direkt

tillgänglig.

För att kunna beskriva och analysera hur eleverna gör projektarbete, hanterar

dilemma situationer och utnyttjar resurser använder jag mig av ett brett

sociokulturellt perspektiv på lärande (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Säljö, 2000; Wertsch,

1985, 1998; Vygotskij, 1978; Vygotskij, 1986) Jag koncentrera mig på elevernas

aktiviteter och interaktion med varandra, vad som blir föremål för övervägande och

vilka verktyg och resurser de har till sitt förfogande för meningsskapande. För att

skapa en bild av hur eleverna ramar in och förstår den situation och speciella

kontext de verkar i fungerar Goffmans ramverksteori (Goffman, 1974) som ett

teoretiskt verktyg (Aarsand, 2006; Lantz-Andersson, 2009; Linderoth, 2004;

Sundberg, 2004). En väsentlig del av elevernas inramning är hur de förhåller sig till

osäkerhet, förtroende och potentiella faror och risker. Därför kan riskteori (Beck &

Ritter, 1992; Douglas &Wildavsky, 1983; Luhmann, 1993; Lupton, 1999)

fungera som ett komplement till ramverksteorin, för att bättre kunna analysera och

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förstå de val som eleverna gör. Även kopplingen mellan undervisning och riskteori

har använts tidigare (Thomas, 2000; Lindqvist & Nordänger, 2007; McWilliam,

Lawson, Evans, & Taylor, 2009) men kopplingen mellan ramverksteori och

riskteori är inte så vanlig (fortsätt att leta efter folk som har kombinerat dess).

För alla som börjat sin gymnasieutbildning år 2000 eller senare ingår kursen ”PA

1201 Projektarbete” som en obligatorisk kurs. Kursen skiljer sig från traditionella

gymnasiekurser på så vis att den syftar till att eleverna ska tränas i att planera,

strukturera och ta ansvar för ett längre arbete, och den syftar också till att ge

eleverna en chans att fördjupa sig i ett specifikt ämnesområde (Skolverket, 2001).

Arbetet under kursen syftar alltid till en slutprodukt i form av till exempel ett

konkret föremål såsom ett konstverk, en dansföreställning en film eller något

liknande. Produkten kan också vara en empirisk undersökning där en frågeställning

formuleras och besvaras. I bedömning av kursen beaktas både arbetsprocessen och

slutprodukten (Skolverket, 2001). Undervisning organiserad som lektioner

förekommer sparsamt om ens över huvud taget. Självständighet, initiativ,

uppfinningsrikedom och fantasi är begrepp som finns med i betygskriterierna för

kursen, vilket kan orsaka dilemman för såväl lärare som lever. Är självständighet

och uppfinningsrikedom över huvud taget bedömningsbart? I det senaste förslaget

till utformning av projektarbetet eller examensarbetet som det kallas har också

regeringen föreslagit att kursen inte skall leda till graderade betyg utan bara

bedömas som godkänd eller icke-godkänd-

Projektarbetet som undervisnings/arbetsform har en gammal historia och den

äldsta kända beskrivningen härrör sig från den italienska arkitektutbildningen i

slutet av 1500-talet. (Gerrevall & Håkansson, 2005 sid 13). Avsikten var att låta

utbildningen avslutas med ett arbete som föregicks av så realistiska arbetsformer

som möjligt för att de studerande skulle få prova på vad det innebar att arbeta som

yrkesverksam. Inledningsvis knyts projektarbetet till högre utbildning och handlar

om att ge de studerande en chans att visa att de tillägnat sig utbildningen genom

att arbeta med ett praktiskt problem. Projektet avslutar alltså utbildningen. En

andra linje och ett annat sätt att se på projektet kopplas ihop med den amerikanska

progressiva pedagogiska rörelsen. Både Dewey och framför allt hans medarbetare

Kilpatrick (1918)] förknippas med denna arbetsform. Projektarbetet görs här till en

del av studierna och är en integrerad del av undervisningen. Pedagogiken skall vara

förankrad i verkliga aktiviteter, formuleras av studenterna själva och tillåta

studenterna att arbeta med metoder som ligger i linje med de formulerade målen.

En tredje perspektiv betonar projektformen som tillhörande ett modernt

arbetsliv och att träna eleverna i projektarbete är också att utveckla förmågor som

är nödvändiga I ett modernt kunskapssamhälle. Sett ur detta perspektiv blir

projektarbetet ett svar på arbetslivets krav. Med utgångspunkt i detta perspektiv har

ett antal författare rest frågan vem och på vilket sätt som eleverna gynnas av denna

arbetsform (Österlind & Sörling, 2006; Aili, 2007; Dovemark, 2004). Alla dessa

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tre perspektiv kan man finna om man läser direktiv och betänkande bakom

införandet av projektarbetet som en kurs i gymnasieskolan.

Den gymnasiekommitté (SOU1997:107) som tillsattes 1997 för att se över

gymnasiereformen från början av 90-talet föreslog att studenter skulle genomföra

ett projektarbete som motsvarade en yrkesuppgift för att få en yrkesexamen från

gymnasieskolan. I det betänkande som följde på utredningen (Proposition, 1998)

talade man i stället om ett examensarbete. Resulatet blev kursen PA 1201 som

inrättades 2000. Nästa steg i utvecklingen kom i regeringens proposition

2003/04:140 där man föreslår att en generell gymnasieexamen skall inrättas och att

ett gymnasiearbete skall ersätta det nuvarande projektarbetet. Gymnasiearbetet

skall enligt propositionen vara en förutsättning för en gymnasieexamen. Denna

proposition och förändringsarbetet lades ner i samband med regeringsskiftet 2006.

Den nya regeringen lade sedan en ny proposition ”Högre krav och kvalitet i den

nya Gymnasieskolan (Proposition, 2009)]. Här återkommer tankegångarna på en

avslutande examen i två olika former, dels som en högskoleförberedande examen

och dels som en yrkesexamen. Ett godkänt betyg på gymnasiearbetet görs till ett

obligatoriskt moment för att kunna erhålla en gymnasieexamen. Den speciella

karaktären på arbetet och problemen som är förknippade med betygssättning leder

till att man föreslår en två gradig betygsskala på just denna kurs.

Genom att gymnasiearbetet är kopplat till examensmålen förstärks den holistiska

synen på utbildningens innehåll, där samtliga kurser som ingår i utbildningen ska

bidra till att den leder till de kunskaper och kompetenser som uttrycks i

examensmålen. Däremot ska inte gymnasiearbetet ha karaktären av examensprov av

den art som förekommer i vissa andra europeiska länder. Därmed finns inte behov

av en graderad betygssättning och inte heller av betygskriterier. (Proposition, 2009

sid 119).

Självständigt, eget arbete är något som har varit föremål för mycket diskussion i

debatten om svensk utbildning. Termen används för att kategorisera en form av

arbete som blir allt vanligare på alla stadier inom svensk utbildning. Österlind

(2006) hävdar att självständigt arbete är ett arbetssätt som medför frihet för dem

med en uppfostran som är anpassad till ett sådant förhållningssätt men också ett

arbetssätt som ökar pressen på dem som skall verka inom de arbetsformens ramar.

Iden politiska debatten beskrivs ofta studenterna som lämnade åt sig själva och det

avstånd till läraren som projektformen innebär kritiseras. Eleverna tolkar ofta

projektformen och självständighet inom projektformen som att man arbetar själv

det vill säga enskilt, inte tillsammans med någon. (Eklöf, Nilsson, & Svensson,

2009)]

Studenter som är engagerade i projektarbetet förväntas kunna hantera fria val

och självständigt kunna ta ansvar för planering och utförande. Eget arbete och

därmed också projekatarbetet kontrasteras ofta mot mer traditionella arbetsformer

som i högre grad är planerade och övervakade av lärare. Tolkningen av vad eget

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arbete innebär kan också förstås i ett connectedness perspektiv, som ett

kollaborativt arbete där studenterna använder sig av ett antal olika resurser, där

läraren och de andra studenterna är några av de resurser som är tillgängliga. Hur

eleverna hanterar dessa resurser skapar i sig dilemman av många olika slag. De kan

lägga en stor del av tiden på att söka material (Alexandersson, Limberg, Lants, &

Kylemark, 2007) och behöver resonera och förhandla instruktioner (Vinterek,

2006; Eklöf & Nilsson, 2009).

I såväl den obligatoriska som den frivilliga skolan lyfts självständighet, eget

ansvar och självstyrning fram som viktiga egenskapr (SFS1993:100, 1993; LPF94;

Lpo94) och eleverna skall också bedömas och betygsättas på dessa egenskaper

(Skolverket, 2001). Här uppkommer stora problem för både lärare och elever hur

visar eleverna att de har arbetat självständigt och tagit initiativ. Vad innebär det att

arbeta självständigt och hur kan självständighet mätas. Ur ett sociokulturellt

perspektiv (Säljö, 2000; Wertsch, 1998,1991) blir det problematiskt att prata om

kategorier som självständighet som kvaliteter som har en egen fast essens utan

snarare som kategorier som är starkt socialt och historiskt situerade. Om man lutar

sig mot teorier om connectedness orientation (Law, Pelgrum, & Plomp, 2008) eller

connectivism (Siemens, 2005) blir självständigheten något av en paradox eftersom

lärande är någonting som sker i nätverkande och i samspel med ett antal olika

externa resurser. Att vara kunnig blir i ett sådant perspektiv något helt annat. Lave

och Wenger (1991) beskriver hur en sådan position i en grupp förhandlas och

utvecklas genom att man successivt tar till sig gemensamma mål,

problembeskrivningar och

Materialet

Data har hämtats från material som samlats inom forskningsprojektet IKT och

Lärande i Lärarutbildningen som finansierats av KK-stiftelsen genom

forskningsprogram LearnIT och Lånta Fjädrar som finansierats via Svenska

Vetenskapsrådet. Mitt material är insamlat under tre läsår vid en Gymnasieskola.

De elever jag har följt går samtliga på ett idrottsprogram och har antingen en

samhällsvetenskaplig eller en naturveten-skaplig inriktning. Skolan jag har valt att

studera har ett speciellt upplägg som de kallar för Projektresan där de redan i

årskurs ett börjar förbereda eleverna inför treans projektarbete med en intensiv

projektvecka där vissa aspekter av projektarbetet betonas. Under årskurs två

återkommer man med ytterligare en intensiv projektvecka då nya aspekter lyfts och

eleverna får fördjupa sitt projektkunnande. Under våren i årskurs två introduceras

eleverna sedan till huvudarbetet som utförs under höstterminen årskurs tre. De

väljer också sina ämnen under våren i årskurs två och har sitt första

handledningsmöte. Om man placerar in upplägget på den skola jag studerat i

förhållande till de tre olika perspektiven som beskrevs ovan, projekt som

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avslutning; projekt som undervisning och projekt som föreberedelse för arbetslivet,

så framkommer en delvis splittrad bild. Arbetslagets tänkande är i första hand

inspirerat av den progressivistiska traditionen och kopplar tydligt mot lärande, men

också egenaktivitet och intresse. Ett annat tema, som framför allt kan återfinnas i

lärarnas muntliga instruktioner och samtal med eleverna är också projektet som en

förberedelse, inte så mycket för arbetsliv och det moderna samhället, som för

kommande akademiska studer. Tonvikten på att projektet också är en skola i

vetenskaplighet och vetenskapligt skrivande framträder både hos lärarna och i

elevernas interaktion.

Mitt primära material består av ca 60 timmars filminspelning av

gruppinteraktion framför datorn. Samtidigt som eleverna har filmats har jag med

hjälp av Camtasia spelat in vad som händer på deras dataskärmar. Skärminspelning

+ film på eleverna har sedan ställts samman till en enhet som jag använder för

transkription, kodning och analys med hjälp av analysprogrammet Transana.

Under det första året filmade jag de studenter som gick i årskurs ett, två och tre

(Tyvärr var det mycket svårt att fånga treorna eftersom de arbetade så mycket

utanför skolan). Under det andra året följde jag de dåvarande tvåorna och sista året

treorna, vilket innebär att jag har följt en årskull under hela Projektresan plus

ytterligare en årskull i årskurs två och en i årskurs tre. Även om jag för närvarande

inte har några sådana direkta planer öppnar materialet upp för möjligheten att

också göra longitudinella analyser.

Jag dessutom spelat in ett antal av lärarnas handledningsmöten, redovisningar,

planerings och utvärderingsmöten och lärarnas muntliga instruktioner till

klasserna.

Den skriftlig information som gått ut till eleverna under de år jag studerat har

samlats in samt elevernas loggböcker och deras inlämnade projekt. Jag har alltså ett

mycket rikt material men har hitintills koncentrerat mig på de inspelade filmerna.

Min empiri insamling avslutades i februari 2009.

När projektet initierades fanns tanken att också undersöka effekterna av ett

speciellt program som eleverna kunde använda för att strukturera material de

samlade in från Internet. Det istallerades i den sal där filmningen ägde rum. Efter

överenskommelse med Microsoft fick vi tillstånd att använda deras program

Researcher. Programmet är designat för att underlätta projektarbete. Det håller

reda på alla referenser för material som hämtas från Internet, tillåter att hämtat

material editeras och konstruerar en referenslista över allt använt material. En

diskussion kring effekterna av Researcher finns med i avhandlingens första artikel

”Unstructured” och den text som här benämns studie 2 A ” But you are not

supposed”. Eleverna i avstod från att använda programvaran, då de tyckte att den

inte tillförde något substantiellt. Därför togs detta spår bort ur avhandlingens syfte.

Användadet av Researcher har behandlats i ett antal andra texter (Nilsson, Eklöf,

Ottosson, 2005; Nilsson, Eklöf, Ottosson, 2006).

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Syfte

En fråga som är dåligt belyst är hur studenter skapar mening kring vad det innebär

att genomföra projektarbete när läraren inte är närvarande. Hur löser studenterna

de svårigheter de möter så att de kan komma vidare i sitt arbete?

Syftet med detta projekt blir därför att studera och utveckla kunskapen kring

elevers meningsskapande när de ”gör” projektarbete. I första hand kommer jag att

använda mig av empiriskt material från de delar av processen där läraren inte är

direkt fysiskt närvarande och koncentrera mig på hur eleverna identifierar, ramar in

och analyserar problem och dilemman relaterade till arbetsformen.

Vidare ämnar jag beskriva och diskutera olika typer av resurser eleverna

använder sig av för att lösa upp dilemman som uppkommer?

Genom att på detta sätt försöka avtäcka det som blir problematisk för eleverna

för att kunna uttala mig om styrning, planering och utveckling av en arbetsform.

Metod

Jag använder mig av flera olika ansatser av metodologisk art och resultat från

många områden Analys av videomaterial har utvecklats till mer eller mindre en

standardteknik inom etnografi och etnometodologi. Inledningsvis lutade jag mig

mot etnometodologi (Garfinkel, 1996; Eglin & Hester, 1999) och den ganska

strikta tolkning kring vad man kan uttala sig om som den etnometodologiska

traditionen har. I “the video analys’t manifesto går Koschmann (2005) igenom på

vilket sätt etnometodologin har försökt skapa mening i analysen av den vardagliga

interaktionen. Etnometodologi studerar hur människor skapar mening i sina egna

aktiviteter. Handlingar skapar sin egen mening i kraft av sig själva. Underliggande

mönster kan bara ses genom att de tydliggörs i interaktionen. Därför finns ett

behov av en strikt sekventiell analys av materialet. Efter hand som projektet har

löpt har jag mer och mer kommit att närma mig video-etnografi och interaktions

analys (Jordan & Henderson, 1995). Interaktionsanalysen har sina rötter inom

flera olika fält eller metodiska traditioner, bland annat etnografin, etnometodologin

och konversationsanalysen. Interaktions analytiker beskriver själv metoden som en

interdisciplinär metod för att empiriskt undersöka människors interaktion med

varandra och med omgivningen.

Interaktionsanalys inbegriper många olika typer av mänsklig interaktion både

verbal och icke verbal interaktion men också av teknologier och olika artefakter

som blir en del av eller används i interaktionen. Interaktionsanalysen handlar om

att finna mönster, rutiner, identifiera problem och vilka resurser som används för

att lösa upp dessa problem.

Video och filminspelning har varit avgörande för utvecklingen av

etnometodologin eftersom bara elektroniska inspelningar ger ett sådant datacorpus

9


att man kan genomföra den typen av närstudie av interaktion som

interaktionsanalysen förutsätter.

Video inspelningen hjälper oss att komma förbi vad folk verkligen gör och vad

de säger att de gör. Vi kommer åtminstone lite närmare vad som hände än andra

representationer över vad som hände. Alla andra representationsformer om det är

anteckningar, observationsprotokoll, kodningsscheman medför alltid att ett

analytiskt raster av mening läggs bakom. Det riktigt viktiga är att dessa analytiska

raster kryper in i det vi kallar primära data och det finns ingen möjlighet för

analytiker att kunna se bortom eller igenom dessa. Händelserna har i en mening

försvunnit och det som finns kvar är rekonstruktionen. Detta gäller också

videoinspelningen eftersom också inspelningen medför analytiska val, varje

placering av kamera, varje vinkel, val av var mikrofonen skall placeras medför också

ett teoretiskt raster läggs på. Hur vi sedan ser filmen påverkas dessutom av vår

förståelse av film, filmtittande filmteknik, vad vissa rörelser och bildvinklar

egentligen står för (se Gleicher, Heck, & Wallick, 2002). Även filmen blir därmed

en analytisk representation laddad både av tekniken och olika teoretiska perspektiv

(diskuterar bland andra av Hall, 2000). Jordan och Hendersson uttrycker det som

om video ersätter the bias of the analyst with the bias of the machine. En anledning

att arbeta med video är den permanenta karaktären på data. Vi kan manipulera

tittande genom att laborera med hastighet, ljud normalisering, inzoomningar osv.

Ju högre kvallitet desto mer information finns lagrad i filmen som kan plockas

fram om man kryper tillräckligt nära. Video har också den fördelen att man kan

fånga mycket mer komplexa data än vad man kan göra med någon annan metod.

Utgångspunkten är alltså att man vid videoinspelning förlorar mindre data än

vid någon annan form av daatainsamling. (i alla fall när det gäller observation) Vi

har två huvudskaliga typer av begränsningar. Dels sådana som är en följd av själva

filmande. Avstånd, placering, utsnitt mm bestämmer vad som är synligt och vad

som inte är synligt. Jordan & Hendersson (1995) betonar vikten av att göra

ordentliga fieldnotes tillsammans med själva inspelningen.. Vi har också

begräsningar i själva teknologin. Vi missar för det första all information som inte är

visuell eller auditiv. Den kanske viktigaste källan till eftertanke med hänsyn tagen

till att vi försöker göra en interaktionsstudie är att det som kameran fångar kanske

inte är det som deltagarna ser över huvud taget. Vi måste också ta med skälva

kameran i beräkningen. Bara att kameran finns i rummet innebär en påverkan som

vi analytiskt måste hantera på något sätt.

Interaktionsanalysen är ocks en distinkt metod för analys av video och audio

som skiljer sig från andra former av video analys.

Det finns ett antal teoretiska antaganden bakom interaktionsanalysen.

-Analysen växer fram samtidigt som man gör det analytiska arbetet.

-Kunskap och handlingar är i alltid i grunden sociala och situerade i specifika

sociala och materiella ekologier. Detta innebär att expertkunskap och

10


handlingsförmåga sitter mindre i enskilda individers huvud än i interaktionen

mellan medlemmar i en speciell Community

-Grundläggande data finner man i första hand i den naturliga, varje dag

interaktionen inom communities of practise.

-Ett annat grundläggande antagande är att forskaren genom studier av

interaktionen får den bästa grunden för att skapa analytisk kunskap om världen. En

grundläggande fråga är hur människor skapar mening i varandras handlingar och

gör dem ordnade, förutsägbara och meningsfulla.

-Man tittar speciellt på de mekanismer genom vilka deltagare utnyttjar sina

sociala och materiella resurser för att få arbetet gjort. Lärande blir då en fortlöpande

process som kan förstås genom det sätt som deltagare organiserar sitt lärande och

själva identifierar att lärande har förekommit. (Jordan & Henderson, 1995 sid 40-

41).

När forskaren skall omvandla överväldigande rikt material till användbara

utskrifter forskaren står inför många svårigheter. Alltför magra avskrifter, med

betoning på det talade ordet kan leda till underanalys. Väldigt rika utskrifter som

bygger på metoder från CA och utökats med beskrivningar av verksamheten i

rummet och på skärmen, inklusive kroppsrörelser etc. kan leda till att transkripten

blir så komplicerade att de är svåra att tyda. I denna avhandling har jag gjort valet

att använda sequential art som form för att konstruera transkripten. De speciella

metodiska och teoretiska problem som är kopplade till detta val kommer att

behandlas i en separat metodisk artikel (artikel 4 i avhandlingen).

Teoretiska utgångspukter

Mitt projekt handlar om hur studenter skapar mening kring vad det innebär att

genomföra projektarbete och hur de löser upp de svårigheter de möter så att de kan

komma vidare i sitt arbete? Forskningsmässigt är detta arbetet med att göra och

skapa mening kring arbetsformen dåligt belyst. Intressant att notera är dock att det

finns en mängd med examensarbeten från våra lärarutbildningar som på olika sätt

försöker belysa projektarbetsformen (Asghari, 2007; Fazlinovic, 2006; Lindgren &

Hansson, 2007; Sköndahl, 2005) vilket kan tyda på hur problematisk arbetsformen

kan upplevas att verksamma (eller blivande) lärare. Projekt och elevforskning har

bland annat behandlats av Nilsson(Nilsson, 2002) som är mer inriktad mot

elevernas skrivande och analyserar med hjälp av olika teorier om språk och lärande.

Även Nilsson intresserar sig för elevernas meningsskapande, hur de tolkar och

förstår situationen men då framför allt hur detta avspeglar sig i deras texter.

Österling (Österlind & Sörling, 2006; E. Österlind, 1998, 2005) som genom att

kombinera fenomenografi med Bourdieus habitusbegrepp ser på elevuppfattningar

av eget arbete. Hon diskuterar sedan mot disciplinering och och ser det egna

arbetet som i grunden ett individualiseringsprojekt och som sådant en del av en

11


överordnad samhällstendens. (Detta avsnitt har jag inte hunnit skriva färdigt.

Kommer att utvecklas ordentligt)

Eftersom jag i första hand intresserar mig för elevernas interaktion och

meningsskapande när de gör projektarbete, hur de identifierar, ramar in och

analyserar problem och dilemman relaterade till arbetsformen behöver jag en

teoretisk grund som hjälper mig att analysera interaktionen. I studiet av det

empiriska materialet har det varit slående att arbetsformen medför en stor

osäkerhet för eleverna när det gäller tolkning och hantering av uppgifterna och hur

de använder sig av en mängd olika resurser för att kunna hantera denna osäkerhet.

Osäkerhet blir följaktligen ett nyckelbegrepp för mig. Kopplat till osäkerheten blir

begreppen tillit, fara och risk möjliga att använda för att analysera elevernas

interaktion och beslut.

Osäkerhet i förhållande till framtida förluster om förlusten är relaterad till beslut

eller kalkylering talar vi om risk om den framtida förlusten orsakas av externa

faktorer talar vi om fara.( Luhmann, 1993. s.22.), att hantera risk handlar alltså på

något sätt om att försöka kalkylera effekterna av ett beslut i en situation där man är

osäker. En fara får man leva med, möjligen kan man beräkna den statistisk, med en

risk är något där man försöker bedöma ett framtida utfall och fatta ett beslut. Det

finns en likhet mellan separationen fara och risk och Goffmans uppdelning mellan

natural och social frameworks (Goffman, 1974. s.22.).

Om Goffmans inramningsbegrepp

Goffman erbjuder ett sätt att anlysera interaktionen som jag upplever som

fruktbart. Hans utgångspunkt att allt meningsskapande förutsätter en tolkning av

situationen men också att vi sällan fritt skapar dessa tolkningar utan bedömer vad

situationen innebär och agerar i enlighet med de mönster som vi brukar använda i

liknande situationer

True, we personally negotiate aspects of all the arrangements under wich we live,

but often once these are negotiated, we continue on mechanically as though the

matter had always been settled. (Goffman s.2)

Det handlar alltså om att hitta den uppsättning regler som styr hur vi uppfattar

och skapar mening i det som händer runt omkring oss och hur dessa regler hänger

ihop med tidigare tolkningar av liknande situationer.Goffman hävdar att

handlingar och yttranden inte talar för sig själva och att de egentligen inte kan

förstås utanför den kontext där de uppkommer och är beroende på hur deltagarna

själva ramar in och förstår det som sägs och görs (framing). Hos Goffman utgår

framing från att deltagarna i en situation definierar den på ett gemensamt sätt.

Annika Lantz-Andersson beskriver det på följande sätt ”The framing in an activity

can be seen as the participants’ mutual answer to the question “what’s going on

12


here”? (Lantz-Andersson, 2009 s.50.) Goffman säger

“Whatever the degree of organisation, however, each primary

framework allows its user to locate, perceive, identify and label a

seemingly infinite numbers of concrete occurrences defined in its

terms. He is likely to be unaware of such organized features as the

framework has and unable to describe the framework with any

completeness if asked, yet these handicaps are no bars to his easily

and fully applying it.” (Goffman, 1974 s.21.)

Framingbegreppet beskrivs ofta som ett slags metaforiska containers som

innesluter vissa objekt men också stänger ute andra. Lakoff, (2004) beskriver

frames som mentala strukturer som bestämmer hur vi ser världen, vad vi strävar

efter, vilka planer vi har och hur vi utvärderar resultatet. Ett framwork ramar in

vissa saker, gör att de hör ihop samtidigt som det stänger ute andra saker, gör att de

inte tas med i beräkningen. Frames blir alltså både en container som innesluter

information och de strukturella och kognitiva resurser som behövs för att tolka

denna information (Wine, 2008). Goffman laborerar med två olika typer av

primära inramningar (primary frameworks) en slags grundstrukturer. Naturliga

inramningar (natural frameworks) händelser förstås och förklaras som naturliga.

Ingen mänsklig aktivitet är inblandad. Goffman säger:

Natural frameworks identify occurrences seen as undirected, unoriented,

unguided, ‘purely physical.’ Such unguided events are ones understood to be due

totally, from start to finish, to ‘natural’ determinates. (Goffman, 1974. s.22)

Sociala inramningar (social frameworks) å andra sidan

provide background understanding for events that incorporate the will, aim and

controlling effort of an intelligence, a live agent, the chief one being the human

being.” (s.22)

I flera av våra exempel ser vi hur eleverna tillsammans måste rama in situationen

de befinner sig i och skapa det framework som låter dem kunna föra sitt arbete

framåt. I studiet av mina filmer förväntar jag mig att en analys av den

grundläggande inramning studenterna gör, till exempel för att förbereda eller

genomföra en analys eller att tillsammans bedöma värdet av olika källor kan hjälpa

mig att få syn på vad som blir möjlig och omöjliga alternativ för eleverna. I de

analyser som gjorts tidigare framkommer det tydligt att det finns ett strategiskt

drag i elevernas interaktion. Det kan tillexempel handla om att klargöra vilka lärare

som kommer att läsa och bedöma för att komma överens om hur man bäst

anpassar sig till den lärarens uppfattningar om vad som är ett gott arbete. På detta

sätt gör eleverna också en typ av riskbedömningar vilket leder över till det andra

huvudsakliga teoretiska spåret.

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Om risk och riskteori

Riskteori används inom många olika vetenskaper. Ekonomi där riskkalkyler är

betydelsefulla för att kunna fatta olika typer av beslut eller inom miljöområdet för

att beräkna riskerna av olika typer av utsläpp eller samhällsplanering för att beräkna

riskerna i samband med nya satsningar på infrastruktur. Inom sociologin har

begreppet risksamhälle kopplats samman med de stora samhällsförändringar som

har skett de senaste 20 åren. Retoriken talar om ett mer komplext samhälle

(Luhmann, 1988, 2005), där frikoppling från tradition och sociala band påverkar

bildandet av den personliga identiteten (Lupton 1999. s. 4), där osäkerheten gör att

människor upplever ångest ( Salecl, 2004), tvingar dem att ta ansvar för sina egna

liv (Rose, 1999), och att beräkna risker för att hantera osäkerhet och minska

komplexiteten (Beck, 1992), Giddens, 2000, Bauman (Bauman, 2006). Här vill vi

också koppla samman riskteori med en undervisningskontext.

Vi har redan tidigare applicerat riskperspektivet på studenters arbete med projekt

och utnyttjande av teknik ( Nilson et.al 2007; Eklöf & Nilsson 2009). Säljö (2000.

s. 242) hävdar att elevernas exponering för en ökande mängd information reser

frågan om hur man går från information till kunskap och därmed från en form av

undervisning som fokuserar på memorerande till en undervisning som är inriktad

mot omvandling av information tillkunskap. Samtidigt kopplas arbetssituationen

för dagens elever ofta till företeelser i ett förändrat samhälle. Friare arbetsformer

innebär att osäkerhet och komplexitet som dominerar i beskrivningar av

risksamhället också flyttar in i undervisningsvärlden. I ett sådant perspektiv blir

föreställningar om komplexitet, fara, osäkerhet, risk och förtroende viktiga i studiet

av elevers arbete i projektform.

Eleverna hålls individuellt ansvariga för hur de tolkar instruktioner. Elevernas

eget arbete ökar mängden av beslut som eleverna måste göra. Det är mycket på

spel. En konsekvens av elevernas beslutsfattande är att de utsätts för risker. Eleven

möter många saker som kan uppfattas som risk. För att avsluta sitt arbete behöver

de fundera över vad som är acceptabla hjälpmedel, vilken information de är tillåtna

att använda, eller hur de får använda tekniken i sina projekt (Nilsson, Eklöf, &

Ottosson, 2007). De riskerar att producera texter som ligger för nära det

ursprungliga arbetet, och därmed att anklagas för plagiat (Howard, 1999; Pecorari,

2003) eller till och med för fusk (Nilsson, 2008). Varje tolkning av en instruktion

kan få negativa effekter för eleven. Elever som feltolkar instruktioner kan vara i fara

att bli tillrättavisade eller får lågt betyg. I det moderna samhället är studenterna inte

bara skyldig att följa instruktioner, de måste göra det på ett sådant sätt att de visar

självständighet och originalitet. En konsekvens av att utföra självständigt arbete

med hjälp av instruktionerna blir att de även måste beräkna risker.

En klassik utgångspunkt inom riskteori har varit att förklara risk och

riskbedömning med utgångspunkt i psykologiska processer. Då blir risk en (faktisk)

konsekvens av faror som finns i den fysiska miljön medan vara attityder gentemot

14


isk förklaras av olika personlighetsdrag (Douglas, 1983. s.193). (Beck, 1992) talar

om risk som möjligheten att en skada skall uppkomma. Garland, 2003. s. 50)

definierar risk som en möjlig fara. En annan klassisk utgångspunkt inom riskteori

är att människor är ovilliga att ta risker att man i grunden föredrar säkerhet framför

osäkerhet. Enligt (Douglas, 1983) gäller detta inte när vi står inför beslut som kan

leda till negativa effekter. Då är vi beredda att acceptera risken av en större negativ

effektiv och därmed också chansen att effekten uteblir framför säkerheten av att få

en mindre negativ effekt. De menar också att om man tidigare har varit med om

negativa effekter är sannolikheten större att man räknar med att de kan uppkomma

igen.

Hur vi uppfattar risk och gör riskbedömningar är enligt (Douglas, 1983)

kollektiva konstruktioner som rör våra bedömningar av vad som utgör faror och

hur vi organiserar oss hör ihop. Andra sätt att se på risk och fara hittar vi hos

Luhman som talar om två olika sätt att se på risk antingen som en följd av fattade

beslut - där man kan identifiera ett beslut som inte innebär en förlust. Om risken

för förlust upplevs som kommande utifrån talar vi om fara (Luhmann, 1993. s.22).

Här finns en koppling till Goffmans resonemang kring natural and social

frameworks.

Vid sidan om det psykologiska perspektivet, där risk blir en psykologisk process i

förhållande till faktiska faror i omgivningen beskriver Lupton (1999) tre olika

sociokulturella förhållningssätt till risk.

Det kulturella/symboliska perspektivet.

Detta perspektiv knyts oftast till antropologen Mary Douglas (Douglas, 1983). I

detta perspektiv betonar man att risk alltid är kopplat till kultur. Det finns ingen

objektiv risk eller subjektiv risk utan riskbedömningar är alltid sociala

konstruktioner som förändras närsamhällen utvecklas. Företeelser som bedöms som

farliga för samhället blir tabu. Douglas hävdar att risk och risktänkande fungerar

som ett sätt att upprätthålla kulturella gränser. Douglas talar om risk som en

teknisk resurs som används om förklaringar till att saker går fel ”Risk as a ’forensic

resource’ has come to dominate in westerns societies because of its associations whit

scientific neutrality, while that of ’sin’ or ’taboo’ continues to dominate thinking

about the dangerous Other in non-western societies.(Lupton, 2000. s.3)

Risksamhälle perspektivet

Det andra perspektivet representeras i första hand av Ulrich Beck (Beck, 1992)

men också av Antony Giddens (Giddens, 1990; 2000) och Niklas Luhman

(Luhmann, 1993). De som förespråkar risksamhälle perspektivet lägger sitt

15


analytiska fokus på en makro eller strukturell nivå som och den ökande

användningen av olika riskperspektiv i det senmoderna samhället. De argumenterar

för att olika slag av risker uppfattas som större och mer globala, vilket gör dem

svårare att bedöma och därmed hantera. Ett centralt tema är ”reflexive modernity”

föreställningen om att det senmoderna samhället inkorporerar en kritik av

modernismen som inte längre ses som en utveckling som tillför samhället nytta

utan också producerar faror. Man hävdar att det senmoderna samhällets

institutioner också är producenter av risk och risktänkande. Betoningen på risk blir

en integrerad del av ett samhälle som har blivit kritiskt mot sig själv. Man pekar

också på trenden mot en högre grad av individualisering, eller snarare en reduktion

i betydelsen av tradition och sociala band i utformandet av den personliga

identiteten, i det senmoderna samhället.

“In other words, it is assumed in this society that the individuals

have choices of their own and that it is perfectly possible to control

the risks they are exposed to. Because of this, the individuals have

no one to blame but themselves when exposed to risk. Trespassing

is done at the individual’s own risk. At the same time, we are made

painfully aware that all our precautions fall short”.(P Lindqvist &

Nordänger, 2007. s. 18)

Med detta perspektiv blir risk och riskhantering en mänsklig skyldighet snarare

än ett resultat av yttre krafter eller ödet.

Govermentality perspektivet

Det tredje perspektivet på risk knyts ofta till Michel Foucault och hans utveckling

av govermentality begreppet (Foucault, 1991). I detta perspektiv kopplas risk

samman med de själv-disciplinerande krafter som verkar i det moderna samhället

med hjälp av ett inre tvång snarare än ett yttre våld.

“In this society, norms, rules and order are maintained by a form of voluntary

self-inflicted discipline, rather than through violence or through mechanisms of

coercion. Risk is here described as a heterogeneous, ‘invisible’ and disciplining

strategy of power by which the population and the individual are kept under

surveillance and managed. Normalization is a central concept here. Those who

deviate from the norm are identified as being in the ‘danger zone’.” (P. Lindqvist

& Nordanger, 2007. s.18)

Precis som inom risksamhälle perspektivet så riktas perspektivet här mot den

enskilda individens hantering av olika typer av osäkerhet och risk. Att som Douglas

och Wildavsky se riskhantering som en social konstruktion där vi aldrig kan

komma att förutsäga och därmed reducera risker eftersom vår information är

begränsad och nya risker hela tiden uppkommer blir användbart i studier av hur

elever i grupp försöker lösa upp dilemma situationer. Deras försök att försöka

16


uppskatta risker och arbeta bort dem kan leda till felaktiga val och därmed öka

riskerna. Ett exempel från våra texter är hur eleverna försöker luta sig mot

tumregler för att reducera risken för ett dåligt betyg och därmed ökar risken att inte

utveckla ett akademiskt skrivande. Att kunna kalkylera risker handlar om att kunna

bedöma och granska olika typer av faror. Detta kräver kunskap och förståelse.

I vår kontext blir detta i det närmaste omöjligt för eleverna eftersom de i

grunden inte har de redskap som behövs för att kunna bedöma de risker de utsätts

för.

Enligt Luhmans uppfattning kan komplexiteten minskas exempelvis med hjälp

av beräkningar av risker och genom att lita på institutioner och lärare. Studenternas

resonemang om hur man arbetar med texter kan alltså ses som försök att minska

komplexiteten genom att förenkla det svårsmälta. Det finns flera exempel i vårt

material där eleverna försöka komma till rätta med frågor som de inte har något

svar på. Det mesta av vårt material kretsar kring frågor där de är osäkra på

godtagbart sätt att lösa problem, till exempel om källanvändning, besluta sig om

vad som är sanning om vad det innebär att skriva "forskningsrapporter".

Biesta (2002) diskuterar en kritik av det nya språket för lärande hur vi "ska

förstå den pedagogiska relationen, dvs samspelet mellan lärare och studenter" (s.

10). Han hävdar att utbildningen inte kan lova något särskilt resultat. Istället måste

relationen bygga på förtroende, våld och ansvar. I lärande finns alltid en fara att

eleverna inte begriper reglerna för att skriva just det sätt som finns i de skriftliga

instruktioner, i handledare instruktion eller för den delen konstrueras i materiella

artefakter. Biesta frågar varför risk och förtroende är av betydelse och svarar:

"framför allt på grund av att förtroende är nödvändigt i de situationer där du inte

vet och inte kan veta vad som händer" (s. 11). Han hävdar att vi måste lita på

varandra i en ömsesidig relation. Biesta hävdar dessutom att strukturellt våld och

ansvar måste vara en del av relationen.

Jag hävdar att begreppet riskberäkning och riskhantering, framför allt som det

används inom risksamhälle och govermentality perspektivet, är viktiga för att

analysera och förstå arbetssätt som självständigt eller eget arbete. Jag tycker också

det är viktigt att ta upp frågan om elevernas hantering av risker hotar deras

kreativitet och styr dem mot deras uppfattning om lärarnas preferenser. Detta kan i

slutändan minska oberoendet metoden i grunden ska främja och utveckla.

Ett av mina problem är att jag fortfarande rör mig mellan så många teoretiska

fält och inte till hundra procent har satt ner foten kring vilka andra ansatser, vid

sidan om de två grundläggande, jag måste förhålla mig till i mitt arbete. Områden

som måste behandlas åtminstone som en bakgrund är teorier kring självständigt

(selfregulated work) och teorier kring connectedness och conectivism. Eftersom

studenterna arbetar i en helt öppen miljö och har tillgång till många olika typer av

resurser som internet, alla delar av det sociala nätet, kamrater, släktingar osv vid

sidan om skolans mer traditionella resurser så måste tankegångar om hur den

17


kontextuella situationen påverkar arbetet vägas in. Likadant så måste det faktum att

man arbetar i en community of praxis eller epistemic community också tas med

som teoretiskt behandlade bakgrundsfaktorer, hur själva settingen ser ut.

Teoretiskt måste jag placera in mig själv i relation till fälten etnometodologi -

interaktionsanalys - videoetnografi för att motviera den typ av analyser och

slutsatser som jag drar. Detta spår kommer i första hand att behandlas i den

metodiskt inriktade artikeln som är tänkt att ingå i avhandlignen.

Då jag i ett par texter gör poäng av hur det ökade avstånd som arbetsformerna

innebär gör lärares skriftliga och muntliga instruktioner och elevernas tolkning av

dessa till en mycket viktig del av elevernas interaktion måste jag också förhålla mig

till teorier kring instruktioner och hur instruktioner fungerar.

Tankar kring material utveckling och vad jag känner

att jag behöver ha hjälp med?

Ett första problem som jag känner att jag behöver diskutera är så basalt som

formuleringen av mitt syfte och eventuellt en nedbrytning i mer konkreta

orsknngsfrågor.. Eftersom arbetet växer fram genom ett antal artiklar som befinner

sig i olika grader av förfall har också väldigt olika frågor betonats och den teoretiska

tonvikten har utvecklats och förändrats genom texterna. Avhandlingen hålls starkt

samman av empirin men jag har alltid haft problem med att formulera vad det

egentligen är jag vill studera i en enkel mening. Åtminstone sedan det ursprungliga

perpektivet med elevernas koppling mellan källkritk som metod och kritiskt

tänkade som förhållningssätt föll i bakgrunden i förhållande till projektet som

arbetsform och de dilemman som måste lösas upp när man aretar projektinriktat.

Jag har i texten ovan formulerat ett tentativt syfte enligt följand;

Syftet med detta projekt blir därför att studera och utveckla kunskapen kring

elevers meningsskapande när de ”gör” projektarbete. I första hand kommer jag att

använda mig av empiriskt material från de delar av processen där läraren inte är

direkt fysiskt närvarande och koncentrera mig på hur eleverna identifierar, ramar in

och analyserar problem och dilemman relaterade till arbetsformen.

Vidare ämnar jag beskriva och diskutera olika typer av resurser eleverna använder

sig av för att lösa upp dilemman som uppkommer?

Genom att på detta sätt försöka avtäcka det som blir problematisk för eleverna för

att kunna uttala mig om styrning, planering och utveckling av en arbetsform.

Jag är inte riktigt nöjd med denna. Den första punkten pekar för starkt mot att

kunna säga något generellt om projektformen, vilket självklart inte är möjligt. Jag

har försökt trycka på hur eleverna gör, för att kunna rikta in mig mot de aktiviteter

jag kan observera. Borde jag i syftesbeskrivningen, eller kanske i inledningen på

något sätt förstärka att studien handlar om en specifik grupp elever med en ganska

18


speciell socio ekonomisk situation? Jag har egentligen inget material som kan styrka

detta, men vet att det är ett program med mycket höga intagningspoäng i en stad

som i svenskt perspektiv har mycket höga grundskolebetyg. I elevernas interktion

blir det också tydligt att de befinner sig i en social miljö där de har tillgång till

människor med hög utbildning även utaför skolans ramar. Det är så många olika

aspekter som skall täckas in i syftesformuleringen. Betydelsen av att arbeta i ett allt

mer individualisreat samhälle där de egna besluten får så stor betydelse och vad det

innebär att arbeta ständigt uppkopplad mot en mängd tillgängliga resurer. Allt

detta täcks någorlunda in den tredje punkten om resurser. Kan mina läsare se dessa

mönster i min inledande text och de artiklar, utkast som bifogats eller är det andra

bilder som tonar fram.

Mitt andra problem berör hur jag skall skriva fram en forskningsbakgrund när jag

rör mig över så stora fält. I den korta bakgrund (introduktion) jag skrev till denna

text koncentrerade jag mig till att i förta hand beskriva bakgrunden till den kurs

som eleverna befinner sig inom och varför denna r pedagogiskt och politiskt

intressant,.

Ett par fält blir självskrivna risk osäkerhet och förtroende och forskning kring dessa

begrepp framför allt i en undervisningskontext måste behandlas noggrant. På

samma sätt måste fältet kring självständigt arbete och selfregulated work täckas in på

ett acceptabelt sätt. Likadant måste jag förhålla mig till forkning kring conectedness

och conectivism i undervisningssammanhang täckas in någgorlunda eftersom mycket

av mina resonemang och exempel rör sig kring vilka resurser som är tillgängliga. En

av mina forskningsfrågor berör ju också detta. Men vid sidan om detta är jag ju i

texterna inne på en massa andra fält. Tankar om samhällsförändring och

individualisering finns med som en bakgrund och kan kort skrivas in i

introduktionen så det är ett mindre problem. Ett par dilemman som har

identifierats och som en av texterna kommer att röra sig kring är frågan om

instruktioner och hur genreanpassning påverkar elevernas interaktion. Dessa fält

behandlas i artiklarna. Måste man också ha med dessa i en mer allmän

forskningsöversikt. Samma sak gäller frågor om plagiering och information literacy

som kollektiv kompetens. Om alla områden skall beskrivas i en

forskningsbakgrund kommer den att bli gigantisk. Ytterligare ett problem är att

frågan om framing har blivit allt mer tydlig för mig. När vi i artiklarna beskriver

elevernas interaktion handlar det om framing, hur de tillsammans försöker tolka

sittuationen och förstå vad det egentligen är som händer och vilka krav som ställs

på dem. De skapar framworks som tillåter dem att gå vidare. Framing är dock inte

ett begrepp som hitintills används i artiklarna, men i omskrivningen av artiklarna

2A och 2B till en artikel som i första hand rör sig kring risk tänker jag lägga på

detta perspektiv. Likadant kommer den tredje artikeln. Framing kommer därför att

läggas till i avsnittet som handlar om teoretiska angrepp. Behöver man i så fall

också plocka in forksning som lutar sig mot detta teretiska angrepp i en

forskningsbakgrund. Detta är lite av ett generellt problem för mig, jag har liknande

19


problem av samma anledning när det gäller det teoretiska avsnittet. Jag rör mig

över så många olika teoretiska fält i artiklarna. Detta avspeglar givetvis också den

process som detta arbete har inneburit. Nu börjar ett par teoretiska begrupp

utmejsla sig som de som kommer att vara de tongivande, men hur skall jag förhålla

mig till andra teoretiska gegrepp som finns med i artiklarna. I grunden handlar väl

denna fråga om hur pass självständiga artiklarna är i förhållande till kappan. Som

jag tänker nu blir kappan också en diskussion och teoretisk fördjupning av det som

har diskuterats i artiklarna mer än en sammanfattning och diskussion av det som

redan har behandlats i artiklarna.

Ytterligare ett problem rör den tänkta fjärde artikeln i avhandlingen. Vilka för och

nackdelar är det med att plocka in en sådan metodisk artikel som så starkt skiljer

sig från de övriga artiklarna i avhandlingen. Jag har mött synsättet att den

metodiskt blir intressant eftersom sequential art är en så specifik form som kan

behöva dskuteras mer ingående, men också att det fktiskt räcker med en kortare

metoddiskussion kring detta i kappan. Jag är tveksam här? Ett alternativ är att i

stället plocka in en redan publicerad atikel som rör hur eleverna hanterar

självständihetskravet i sitt arbete. 1

Det finns givetvis mycket annat, men detta är några av de frågeställningar som har

dykt upp när jag har satt samman denna text.

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25


Sammanfattning av studierna

STUDIE 1: UNSTRUCTURED INFORMATION AS A

SOCIO-TECHNICAL DILEMMA

L-E Nilsson, A. Eklöf & Torgny Ottosson 2

Strukturering och informationskompetens

Artikeln syftar till att belysa hur behandlingen av informationsbehandling med

hjälp av digitala media och verktyg utmanar traditionella skolpraktiker samtidigt

som nya dilemman rörande demokrati, skolutveckling, informationshantering och

lärande uppkommer.

Vi hävdar i artikeln att strukturering och kategorisering kan ses som

fundamentala delar av all kulturell utveckling. (Bowker & Starr, 1999) Ordning

skapas genom att teoretisera, bygga modeller, sortera och organisera data. Att skapa

strukturer anses vara en viktig aspekt av lärande. Att arbeta med material från

Internet har ansetts medföra problem eftersom man för in ostrukturerad

information. Kursböcker och annat anpassat material har ansetts innehålla färdiga

strukturer som studenterna skall upptäcka, använda och förhålla sig till. När vi

inför stora mängder ostrukturerat material så finns inga sådana färdiga strukturer,

utan eleverna måste själv skapa dessa. Att arbeta med utgångspunkt i ostrukturerat

material kan därför sägas vara en utmaning mot traditionell skolpraxis.

Data

Data samlades in på två svenska gymnasieskolor. Vi filmade mindre grupper

med elever som höll på med det avslutande projektarbetet. I denna studie fick

eleverna arbeta med en speciell typ av programvara, kallad the Researcher, som

skulle hjälpa dem att strukturera och hålla ordning på den information de fann via

sitt nätsökande

2 Publicerad i (2008). Unstructured information as a socio-technical dilemma. In

T. Hansson (Ed.), (2208) Handbook of research on digital information

technologies. Innovations, methods and ethical Issues (pp. 482 - 506). Hershey,

PA: Information Science Reference

26


Strukturering och undervisning

Föreställningar om att arbete med ostrukturerat material kommer att påverka

undervisningen hittar vi bland annat som kritiska varningar i utredningar som

propagerar för ett ökat användande av digital teknik i skolan. Beskrivningar av hur

skolan skall utveckla den kompetenser som är nödvändiga för ett modernt digitalt

informationssamhälle behandlar inte sällan frågan hur lärandet kommer att

påverkas när ordning ersätts av kaos och när skolans ställs inför kravet att lära

studenterna att handha information, skapa sina egna strukturer för att kunna

använda dessa i presentationer och rapporter. Motsättningen mellan möjligheter

med utveckling av lärande med hjälp av digitala verktyg, som ett modernt samhälle

kräver, och eventuella negativa effekter detta ha kan på uppnådda lärandemål kan

man också finna i forskningen. Där vissa lyfter hur digitala verktyg ger oss tillgång

till mycket mer genom externalisering, tvingar oss att skapa nätverk och hjälper till

att utveckla problemlösningsförmåga ser andra att utfallet i termer av lärande eller

kursmål kanske inte är så gott och att vi riskerar att skapa nya klyftor genom

införandet av dessa digitala verktyg. I olika dystopiska presentationer av hur en

skola präglad av information förmedlad via Internet hotar utbildningens kvalitet

lyfts ofta faran med ökande plagiering, den ökande risken för stöld och fusk medför

att studenterna löper risken att fuska sig till en sämre kunskapsutveckling. Att det

är så enkelt att klippa och klistra kan komma att medföra att studenterna aldrig

utvecklar förmågan att producera kreativt skapande arbeten.

I artikeln problematiserar vi bilden av Internet som förmedlare av ostrukturerad

information. Kan man över huvud taget se på struktur som en egenskap som en

gång har lagts på ett material och som sedan kan avtäckas av en läsare/lyssnare.

Med en sådan utgångspunkt är allt material i någon mening strukturerat.

Internettexter med hyperlänkar är i högsta grad bärare av en struktur och WWW

skapades en gång för att skapa en struktur som gjorde det lätt att finna

information. Problematiken kanske ligger på ett annat plan, att det är i

problemformuleringarna som kravet på en specifik strukturering för att hantera det

specifika problemet uppkommer, inte i hur informationen vi använder oss av en

gång har strukturerats av en eller flera författare. Den nödvändiga strukturen blir

med en sådan utgångspunkt en social, kollektiv erövrad egenskap i en praktisk

situation snarare än en integrerad del av informationen som skall avtäckas.

Informationskompetens som en individuell färdighet

Föreställningar om informationskompetens som i första hand en individuell

kompetens utmanas av perspektiv som har en mer social och kollaborativ syn på

lärande. Sådana perspektiv betonar att all informationshantering, inkluderande att

avtäcka och skapa strukturer är situerat i en specifik kontext som förhandlas fram

för att studenterna skall kunna gå vidare i sitt arbete.

27


(Tuominen, Savolainen, & Talja, 2005) hävdar att alla studier av

informationshantering måste inbegripa tekniken. Att se ett problem som sociotekniskt

innebär att betona hur den sociala situationen och förståelse och

användning av tekniska element hela tiden interagerar och skapar varandras

förutsättningar. Diskussion om informationshantering och teknik betonar ofta den

enskildes bemästrande av tekniken som en nyckelfråga. Tuominen, Savolainen and

Talja (2005) argumenterar för att informationskompetens ligger inbäddade i

grupper och gemenskaper och att dessa grupper och gemenskaper praktiserar

informationskompetens genom sin förståelse och sitt användande av lämpliga

redskap.

I artikeln har vi valt utgått från strukturering som en retorisk färdighet (Duffy)

som kretsar kring hur studenterna använder språk och symboler för att skapa

förståelse av sin omvärld. När studenterna arbetar tillsammans med varandra och

med tekniken räcker det inte med att förstå hur den enskilde ser på struktur eller

informationshantering utan vi måste se på hur gruppen använder de resurser som

står till förfogande för att skapa strukturer man kan arbeta utifrån. I och med att vi

tar en sådan ingång blir också strukturering en process som resulterar i ett antal

dilemman som måste lösas upp för att man skall kunna arbeta vidare. För att

kunna synliggöra dessa dilemman har vi i artikeln valt att luta oss mot

interaktionsanalys för att avtäcka hur studenterna använder information i form av

teorier, instruktioner, regler för källvärdering, men också affordancer hos tekniken

för att skapa de kunskapsobjekt som utgör grunden för deras lärande

Tre Exempel

De tre exempel vi använder oss av i artikeln visar på olika typer av dilemma

situationer, på olika sätt relaterade till struktur. I det första fallet handlar det om

två pojkar som försöker förstå strukturen i den fråga de har fått av lärarna. När

lärarna ber dem förklara vad den industriella revolutionen innebar för det svenska

samhället så fastnar de på ordet innebar och vad det egentligen betyder. De två

pojkarna försöker med hjälp av partikularisering enas om innebörden i ordet

innebär just i denna situation. Deras projekt försvåras av att frågan berör hur

Sverige påverkades av den industriella revolutionen, men det mesta av materialet de

finner berör den engelska utvecklingen. Till slut enas de om att en lämplig struktur

skulle kunna vara att förlägga informationen om Storbritannien till en

bakgrundskapitel och söka vidare kring mer specifik information relaterat till

svenska förhållanden. I vårt andra exempel arbetar eleverna med en uppgift som

bland annat handlar om att lokalisera de, av ungdomar, tio mest använda

webbsidorna. När de finner en sådan sammanställning infinner sig dilemmat att en

av sidorna har en adress som eleverna omedelbart identifierar med en porr sajt. För

att kunna bedöma vilken typ av sida det är måste de gå in på den, men skolans

lokala regler förbjuder dem att besöka pornografiska sajter. I detta exempel hamnar

eleverna i dilemmat att välja mellan två olika institutionella strukturer, att lyda

28


eglerna eller göra det som behöver göras för att kunna lösa den uppgift de är

ålagda. Just den dilemma situation dessa elever hamnar i blir också ett moraliskt

dilemma som berör innehållet i sajten och hur en sådan kan vara en av de mest

populär. Ett tredje dilemma, nämligen risken att infektera skolans datorer med

virus uppkommer också eftersom de när de försöker stänga ner sidan skickas vidare

till ytterligare en pornografisk sajt. I vårt tredje exempel rör sig dilemma

situationen kring hur man skall värdera olika typer av innehåll. Man försöker göra

en typ av kategorisering som bygger på källor som ger ”ren fakta” och sådana som

är bra för att beskriva händelser, medan en tredje grupp är bra för att de ger

alternativa perspektiv. Denna typ av strukturering blir nödvändig eftersom

instruktionerna för uppgiften innehåller ett krav på att föra ett källkritiskt

resonemang och de har redan använt sig av de källor som de diskuterar. Intressant

här blir hur de bygger en argumentationsstruktur i efterhand på grund av de

institutionella kraven. Vad man kan förstå av deras interaktion har inte liknande

resonemang förts när man faktiskt valt att använda de olika källorna.

Strukturering som en kollektiv färdighet

Beskrivningar av vad det innebär att vara student i ett informationssamhälle

handlar om hur en students identitet som student skall se ut. De skall inte bara

kunna hantera ostrukturerad information, de skall också ta personligt ansvar för sitt

lärande, formulera sina problem, kunna skapa nätverk och fungera i epistmic

communities eller communites of practice och använda olika typer av teknologier.

För att kunna skapa en sådan identitet måste skolan ge eleverna tillgång till olika

informationsverktyg och erbjuda möjligheter att hantera ostrukturerad

information. Vi kan se att de förhållanden som studenterna arbetar inom när de

håller på med projektarbetskursen liknar de som finns i olika beskrivningar av ett

modernt informationssamhälle. Ur ett sociokulturellt perspektiv är frågan om

huruvida informationen är strukturerad eller inte av mindre betydelse utan frågan

är snarare på vilket sätt elevernas nödvändiga struktureringsarbete påverkar

lärandet. Studier har pekat på hur svårt studenter har att strukturera information

och hur detta påverkar lärandet negativ (Alexandersson & Limberg, ; Limberg &

Sundin). Våra exempel illustrerar komplexiteten i deras struktutrerings arbete men

visar också på hur skickliga de är i att hantera dessa utmaningar, och hur

integrerade dessa processer blir med lösandet av den givna uppgiften. Frågan om

huruvida materialet är strukturerat eller inte blir alltså av mindre betydelse. All

information är i någon mening ostrukturerad i förhållande till den faktiska uppgift

man har och att skapa en struktur som stämmer med uppgiften är alltid en aktivitet

som måste förekomma. Det är också en aktivitet som avspeglar mer är studenternas

individuella förhållningssätt till information och informationshantering. I sitt

kollektiva arbete styrs de av regler och instruktioner, men också egna

föreställningar, ideologier, föreställningar om lärande och hur dessa kan förhandlas

29


i dilemma situationer. Den sociala och retoriska dimensionen av ordet struktur blir

synlig i elevernas interaktion.

I artikeln visar vi hur eleverna tvingas att hantera dilemma situationer på många

olika plan i sitt strukturerings arbete. Vi har en teknisk dimension som blir tydlig i

förhållande till den programvara vi tillhandahöll men också i förhållande till

informationsteknik i sig och föreställningar om vilka affordancer som ligger i

material som distribueras via nätet. Vi har sätt hur etiska dilemman uppstår i

interaktionen. Frågor om lärande etik och teknik sammanfaller i slutändan i vad vi

har valt att kalla ett socio-tekniskt dilemma. Vi menar oss visa hur skickliga

studenterna är i att hantera dessa situationer och befarar att diskussionen om

problemen förknippade med ostrukturerad information kan leda till att man

frångår dessa arbetsformer. Att tränas i att skapa strukturer med utifrån

information från flera olika källor är en nödvändig kompetens för att bli en

kompetent medborgare i ett modernt digitalt kunskapssamhälle.

I någon mening är information alltid ostrukturerad och måste struktureras för

att kunna fungera i en viss situation, av vissa människor med en viss uppgift. Vi ser

i vårt material hur de i struktureringsprocessens dilemma situationer inte bara

tvingas till ställningstaganden som rör lärande utan också sådana som rör teknik

och etik utan också hur tillgången till digital distribuerad information utmanar

traditionella skolpraktiker och lärandesyn.

Referenser

Alexandersson, M., & Limberg, L. (2005). In the shade of the knowledge society

and the importance of information literacy. Paper presented at the 11th

Biennial Earli Conference,University of Cyprus, Nicosia,August 23-27, 2005.

from http://InformationR.net/ir/12-1/in_the_shade.html.

Bowker, G. C., & Starr, S. L. (1999). Sorting things out: classification and its

consequences. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

Duffy, G. G. (2003). Explaining Reading: A Resource for Teaching Concepts,

Skills, and Strategies: Guilford Press.

Limberg, L., & Sundin, O. (2006). Teaching information seeking: relating

information literacy education to theories of information behaviour [Electronic

Version]. Information Research, 12(1) paper 280 from

http://InformationR.net/ir/12-1/paper280.html.

Tuominen, K., Savolainen, R., & Talja, S. (2005). Information literacy as a

sociotechnical practice (Publication.:

30


STUDIE 2A OCH 2B PLAGIERING OCH LÄRANDETS

DILEMMAN I OSTRUKTURERADE MILJÖER OCH

GENREANPASSNING, INSTRUKTIONER, TEXT OCH

VERK

Två paper som presenterats på Earli 2007 och 2009 där det första kopplar samman

frågan om ostrukturerad information med riskbedömning och den andra utvecklar

riskbedömningsperspektivet och sätter det i relation med dilemman som är speciellt

knutna till projektarbetsformen och elevers skrivande Dessa två skall skrivas

samman till en artikel 1

Den första artikeln” But you’re not supposed” tar sin utgångspunkt i det

mediala intresse för plagiering och likställdheten mellan plagiering och fusk som

funnits de senaste åren. Med utgångspunkt i en berättelse om en students

medvetna val att inte göra ett perfekt arbete för att slippa anklagelser för att ha

plagierat och därmed fuskat öppnar upp för en diskussion om de riskbedömningar

som studenten måste göra för att undvika dessa anklagelser, men också för en

diskussion om hur vi genom att jämställa plagiering och fusk riskerar att eleverna

presterar sämre än vad de skulle kunna göra. Plagiering framställs ofta som ett hot

mot utbildningens kvalitet, men med detta resonemang kan fokuseringen på att

upptäcka och förhindra plagiering på samma sätt fungera som ett hinder som leder

till sämre kvalitet

Den andra artikeln ”Adaptation to genre” för diskussionerna om faror,

komplexitet och riskhantering ytterligare ett steg och fokuserar mer på vad

arbetsformen projektarbete och det större avståndet till läraren medför för

dilemman för elever och lärare.

Lärares sätt att försöka överbrygga detta avstånd genom att arbeta med att göra

instruktionerna så tydliga och transparenta som möjligt, svårigheten med att göra

sådana instruktioner transparenta och elevernas svårighet att avkoda dessa

instruktioner är ett genomgående tema i denna artikel. Eftersom det i slutändan är

eleverna som är individuellt ansvariga för att de lyckas tyda och använda sig av

1

Nilsson, L.-E., Eklöf, A., & Ottosson, T. (2007). “But You’re not Supposed to

Rip it Straight Off”-Technology, Plagiarism and Dilemmas of Learning. Paper

presented at the 12th Biennial Conference of the European Association for

Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI).

Eklöf, A., Nilsson, L. E., & Ottosson, T. (2009). Adaptation to genre - On instructions,

text, work and risk. . Paper presented at the 13th Biennial Conference of the European

Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI).

31


instruktionerna och därmed också individuellt ansvariga för om lärarna bedömer

att de har lyckats mindre bra med detta så innebär också konceptet med avstånd

och instruktion för att överbrygga detta att de potentiella farorna för studenterna

ökar och att behovet av riskbedömning blir större.

Begreppet connectedness orientation introduceras. Law(Law, Pelgrum, &

Plomp, 2008) beskriver det på följande sätt:

Such an orientation implies a culture where teachers organise the setting so that

pupils are free to learn from local as well as international experts, and from peers at

the pupil’s local school as well as pupils in distant locations.

Projektformen och öppenheten I elevernas arbetsmetoder medför att det blir

svårare för lärarna att följa den process som eleverna är inbegripna i. Vi har i papret

valt att göra en analogi med hur Barthes och Foucault(Barthes, 1979, 1981;

Foucault, 2002) beskriver skillnaden mellan work och text. The work som den

fysiska manifestationen säger bara en mycket liten del av vad det är som har hänt i

det språkliga spel som föregår produktionen, texten. Det ökande avståndet som

arbetsform tillsammans med connectedness orientation innebär att texten blir svår

att avtäcka, vilket försvårar lärarnas bedömningsarbete samtidigt som det ökar

risken för eleverna att bli utsatta för en felaktig bedömning och gör deras

riskbedömningar i samband med produktion av arbetet ännu mer betydelsefulla. I

artikeln fokuserar vi specifikt hur eleverna försöker anpassa sig och förstå skrivandet

in i en specifik genre som är okänd för dem och hur de använder instruktionerna

för att närma sig denna genre.

Det första papret hanterar frågan om fusk och plagiering. Att studenters texter

har mycket stora överlappningar med andra författares texter är väl dokumenterat.

Men det finns också ett starkt stöd för att det kan finnas andra orsaker till detta

som är starkt knutna till textproduktionen mer än till en intention att fuska. Vi kan

finna förklaringar som tar sin utgångspunkt i föreställningar om den moderna

studentens arbetsmetoder till exempel som en strategi för att hantera situationer

man inte bemästrar (Säljö, 2005). Andra diskuterar med utgångspunkt i

föreställningar om ett mer individualiserat samhälle där uppluckringen av tradition

och sociala band skapar en större känsla av osäkerhet, samtidigt som nya

arbetsformer tvingar studenterna att ta ett större ansvar för sitt eget liv och sina

egna val. Detta tvingas studenterna att hela tiden kalkylera risker och försöka

förenkla den komplexa situation de har att verka i. Förtroende blir därmed en

viktig faktor för studenter i olika utbildningssituationer (Biesta, 2002). Vi hävdar

alltså att det i med utgångspunkt i föreställningar om samhällelig komplexitet, risk,

osäkerhet och förtroende finns anledningar att se på fenomenet plagiering från en

annan utgångspunkt är fusk. Förtroende och risk är också det som knyter dessa två

paper samman.

Det andra papret tittar närmare på instruktionerna och interaktion kring att

tolka instruktionerna. Även i detta paper använder vi oss av tre exempel. I det

32


första har vi en grupp elever som, med hjälp av instruktionerna, försöker skriva

inledningen till sitt arbete. Gruppen har mycket svårt att komma framåt i detta

eftersom de uppenbarligen har svårt att tolka de begrepp som instruktionen bygger

på, torts att dessa kan ses som mycket allmänna. Den specifika, kontextuellt

bundna betydelsen är inte klar för dem. Det andra exemplet utgår från samma

”move”(Goffman, 1981) samma innehållsligt kopplade sekvens av turer som vi

hade som exempel två i det första papret. När vi analyserade den i första texten

gjorde vi det med utgångspunkt i svårigheterna att förstå instruktionerna som

sådana och hur riskbedömning blev en del av den handlingsarsenal som var

tillgängliga för eleverna. I den andra texten inför vi på ytterligare en

komplexitetsnivå genom att lägga genrebegreppet och svårigheten med att se

genom de specifika krav som är kopplade till olika genrer som ytterligare ett raster

ovanpå elevernas interaktion. De två följande exemplen i paret lyfter frågan om

självständighet och anpassning. I bägge exemplen blir det mycket tydligt att

eleverna uppfattar självständigheten som mycket begränsad och i själva verket

anpassar sina självständiga uttryck efter vilken lärare de räknar med kommer att

vara den primära bedömaren av det som de har presterat. Här kan vi alltså tala om

en inventerad riskbedömning, det vill säga att eleverna utgår från vad som kommer

att ge det mest positiva utfallet i förhållande till en specifik lärare och möjligheten

att skriva annorlunda om mottagaren är en annan görs relevant i deras interaktion.

De sista exemplen berör elevernas bedömning om när något blir tillräckligt bra.

Det första exemplet handlar om huruvida en textkonstruktion ligger på G-nivå

eller inte. Här visar eleverna upp olika föreställningar om vad en text bestående av

mycket korta meningar signalerar. En av eleverna intar en mer ritualistisk hållning

och hävdar att korta meningar signalerar ett mindre utvecklat språk, medan en

annan elev hävdar att det är kombinationen av långa och korta meningar som

karaktäriserar ett mer utvecklat språk. Risken att hamna på G-nivå är levande för

dem bägge, men de har svårt att koda av vad som är kvalitet i den specifika genre

de förväntas skriva inom. Det sista exemplet i papret är intressant eftersom eleverna

här väljer att bryta mot givna instruktioner med argumentet att det som de har

producerat innebär att texten blir bättre än om de skulle följa instruktionen (eller

åtminstone en av elevernas tolkning av instruktionen) till punkt och pricka. Här

har vi alltså en situation där eleverna agerar tvärt emot vad eleverna som väljer ett

alternativ som de upplever som sämre för att följa instruktionen gör (exemplet som

har använts i bägge texterna ovan). Har vi då slutligen funnit ett exempel där

eleverna låter sin kvalitetsbedömning vara överordnad riskbedömningen. Vi är

tveksamma till om så är fallet, eftersom eleverna i detta ”move” stödjer sig mot

muntliga kommentarer från deras handledare som har sagt att deras upplägg är bra

och alltså kan välja mellan två olika bedömningskriterier och därmed dra slutsatsen

att de förmodligen inte riskerar något genom att bryta mot den skriftliga

instruktionen.

33


Diskussion

Vi visar i det första papret att frågan om fusk inte görs relevant för eleverna, även

om de är medvetna om möjligheten. Deras praktiska beslut har i stället mycket att

göra med risken att felaktiga beslut skall påverka deras betyg och risken att de skall

handla oetiskt. Detta är delvis en annan bild jämfört med forskare som diskuterar

plagiering ur ett fuskperspektiv. Frågor om innehåll, framskrivning, effektivaste

sättet att skriva, kärnan i akademiskt skrivande blir sällan eller aldrig föremål för

överväganden, utan regelsystemet och de tumregler man själv utarbetar eller finner

i instruktionerna blir de huvudsakliga medlen för att reducera osäkerhet.

Luhman (Luhmann, 1988) skriver om samhällets ökande komplexitet och hur vi

möter en ohanterbar osäkerhet. Vi kan i vårt material se hur eleverna hela tiden

förhandlar för att reducera denna osäkerhet. Att reducera risk och osäkerhet blir en

nödvändig och ständigt förekommande aktivitet då utbildning alltid handlar om

att utsätta sig för risker, risker att inte få det utfall man åstundar eller att få en

ofördelaktig bedömning.

I den andra texten knyter vi risk bedömning och riskhantering hårdare till

projektformen. Vi vill också väcka frågan om elevernas riskhantering hotar den

självständighet och kreativitet som projektformen är menad att leda fram till.

Vi finner ett antal olika sätt att förhålla sig till instruktionerna, men inte något

tillfälle där eleverna faktiskt helt sätter sig över dessa med argument om att deras

sätt att göra saker är bättre, eller åtminstone tillräckligt bra. Vi lyfter också i det

andra papret problemet med bedömning av texten i förhållande till produkten som

försvåras i och med att avståndet ökar mellan lärare och elev.

Vår något paradoxala slutsats blir därför att en närmare samverkan mellan lärare

och elev, för att belysa den process (texten) som eleverna utför, skulle både ge

läraren mer kontroll och en bättre bas för bedömning samtidigt som den minskar

osäkerheten för eleven och därmed minska riskerna och i slutändan leder till en

mer självständig hållning.

Referenser

Barthes, R. (1979). From work to text. In J. V. Harari (Ed.), Textual strategies:

Perspectives in post-structuralist criticism (pp. 73-81).

Barthes, R. (1981). Theory of the text. In R. Young (Ed.), Untying the text: a poststructuralist

reader. Boston, Mass.

Biesta, G. J. J. (2002). Trust, Violence, and Responsibility: Reclaiming Education

in an Age of Learning.

Foucault, M. (2002). The archaeology of knowledge and the discourse on

language. London: Routledge.

Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of talk. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania P.

34


Law, N., Pelgrum, W. J., & Plomp, T. (2008). Pedagogy and ICT use : in schools

around the world : findings from the IEA SITES 2006 study. [New York]

Hong Kong: Springer ;

Comparative Education Research Centre, the University of Hong Kong.

Luhmann, N. (1988). Familiarity, confidence, trust: Problems and alternatives. In

D. Gambetta (Ed.), Trust: Making and breaking cooperative relations (pp. 94-

107). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Säljö, R. (2005). Lärande och kulturella redskap : om lärprocesser och det

kollektiva minnet. Stockholm: Norstedts akademiska förlag

35


STUDIE 3

KÄLLHANTERING OCH KRITISKT TÄNKANDE

Om inramning och riskbedömning när material skall

hanteras kritiskt

Studie tre existerar inte ännu. En av de ursprungliga tankarna jag hade när jag skrev

min avhandlingsplan var att jag skulle ha gymnasieelevers källkritiska arbete och

kritiska tänkande som huvudsakligt forskningsobjekt. Under projektets gång har

själva arbetsformen och hur eleverna tvingats hantera olika typer av dilemma

situationer kommit att bli ett nytt huvudfokus. I denna sista artikel tänker jag att

jag skall försöka ta tag i all de moves i mitt material där eleverna hanterar eller

förhåller sig till källor, källkritik och kritiskt tänkande. Redan nu kan jag med

utgångspunkt från det material som redan är kategoriserat utifrån ett sådant raster

se att det finns ett antal olika elevstrategier som dels knyter an till olika typer av

material och trovärdighetsaspekter vilket kopplar samman denna sista artikel med

studie 1 och en massa instanser där eleverna närmar sig källvärderingen och kritiskt

tänkande med utgångspunkt från instruktioner, vilket knyter samman denna

artikel med studie 2. Även i denna artikel tror jag mig kunna använda teorier kring

frame analysis och riskbedömning som teoretiskt raster.

37


STUDIE 4

METODISK ARTIKEL KRING ANVÄNDANDET AV

SEQUENTIAL ART SOM REPRESENTATIONSFORM

Det som skall utmynna i en metodisk artikel kring sequential art som

representationsform är dels en artikel jag hade uppe på NFPF ”Making the

transcript pregnant: On the art of transforming profuse information into adequate

representations och dels en examinationsuppgift jag hade på en etnografikurs.

”Verisimilitude 4 - representationer - analys

Kring ett empiriskt material etnografi etnometodologi och den

konstnärligt/vetenskapliga friheten.”

Den första artikeln behandlar sequential art mer allmänt som verktyg medel för att

skapa representationer från ett visuellt empiriskt material. Med utgångspunkt i en

inledande beskrivning av sequential art som fenomen diskuteras skillnaden mellan

en illustration och en representation. Med utgångspunkt i ett antal skrivna

transkript från tidigare texter och de analyser som gjordes i samband med de

texterna diskuteras sedan hur samma innehåll skulle kunna användas för att göra en

grafisk representation i form av en serie strip. Olika typer av inramning och dess

betydelse för hur vi tids och innehållsmässigt uppfattar interaktionen diskuteras.

Speciellt intresse ägnas i artikeln uppmärksamhet åt undertext och begreppet the

gutter (McCloud, 1994). The gutter refererar här till hur man i sequential art

binder samman bildrutorna med det som händer mellan ruterna och på det sättet

för händelsen framåt och komprimerar tiden. Speciellt om man jämför med

konventionerna inom konversationsanalys (CA) som så starkt betonar

sekventialiten i mänsklig interaktion blir denna förtätning ett vetenskapligt och

metodologiskt problem som måste hanteras i samband med att man väljer

sequential art som representationsform. Vidare diskuteras hur serie konventioner

skulle kunna användas som förstärkning och hur olika bildutsnitt kan användas för

att förstärka de analytiska poänger man vill göra. Frågan om hur fri man kan vara

sig i förhållande till den ursprungliga filmen diskuteras också. I det sista exemplet i

texten ägnas frågan om hur man kan representera tal som sker simultant med hjälp

av seriekonventioner. Slutligen förs en mindre diskussion om olika tekniker för att

konstruera bildinnehållet och kraven på att informanterna samtidigt skall

framställas tydligt och i en avidentifierad form. Frågan om innebörden av att gå

4

Atkinsson(Atkinson, 1990) använder termen Verisimilitude för att beskriva en text

förhållande till det som den försöker beskriva. Han refererar också till den

litteraturvetenskapliga termen vraisamble

39


från en vanlig text transkript som är en ”mer ren” form av representation till en

serieform som bakar in analytiska aspekter i själva representationsformen diskuteras

också. I denna inledande artikeln diskuteras sequential art i första hand i

förhållande till etnometodologi och konversations analys (CA).

Den andra artikeln diskuterar i första hand användandet av sequential art i ljuset

av etnografi och speciellt videoetnografi. Det jag öppnar upp för är ett avlägsnande

från den mer strikt etnometodologiska traditionen och ett närmande till en

etnografisk tradition ställer frågan om inte ett mer öppet tolkande etnografiskt

angrepp passar bättre för sequential art som representationsform. Likheterna

mellan hur man i serieformen arbetar med rent filmiska uttryck som klipp, hopp,

bildvinklar, övergångar och berättarvinklar och hur till exempel Dennis

Beach(2001) jämför det etnografiska skrivandet med montagefilmen görs. I slutet

av texten diskuteras vidare vilken typ av interaktion som passar för att framställas i

form av sequential art och vilken typ som passar sämre. Till ett seminarium i mitt

forskningstema konstruerade jag följande seriestripp för att lyfta frågor jag ville ha

hjälp med

40


I den planerade metodiska artikeln tänker jag koncentrera mig kring ett antal

punkter. Det finns många möjliga infallsvinklar. Ett problem som har uppkommit

i förhållande till redan skrivna texter är hur pass självständigt sequential art kan

vara i förhållande till texten. Om man textmässigt upprepar det som syns i bilderna

kan representationsformen ifrågasättas.

En annan fråga som förmodligen kommer att bli ett huvudtema i denna tänkta

metod artikel är att diskutera hur sekventialitet och tid bäst illustreras med hjälp av

serieformen och om man skulle kunna hitta paralleller mellan konventionerna

inom konversationsanalys och konventionerna inom sequential art. Om ett embryo

till hur denna parallellitet fungerar kan lyftas med hjälp av denna artikel anser jag

att den skulle kunna tillföra metoddiskussionen kring videoanalyser något

substantiellt. Ytterligare en aspekt som skulle kunna lyftas rör vilken grad av frihet

man kan acceptera i förhållande till de filmer som utgör det empiriska

grundmaterialet?

Referenser

Atkinson, P. (1990). The ethnographic imagination: Textual constructions of

reality: Routledge.

Beach, D. (2001). Artistic representation and research writing. Reflective Practice,

2(3), 313-329.

McCloud, S. (1994). Understanding comics : the invisible art. New York: Harper

Collins Publishers.

41


DEL 2

STUDIERNA

42


STUDIE 1: UNSTRUCTURED INFORMATION AS A

SOCIO-TECHNICAL DILEMMA

Lecturer Lars-Erik Nilsson, Lecturer Anders Eklöf, Professor Torgny Ottosson

Kristianstad University 1

Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to illustrate how access to information through

the implementation of digital information and communication technology

challenges traditional school practices and introduces dilemmas about democracy,

school development, ethics, information management and learning. Video data

together with screen captures are used to present three cases where students try: to

match questions to search expressions; to make decisions about whether sites can

be visited; to examine how they make decisions about relevance and credibility.

Data illustrate that information always appears to be unstructured to the students

and that restructuring poses a socio-technical dilemma involving appreciation of an

ideological and ethical nature.

Unstructured information as a socio-technical dilemma

The aim of this chapter is to illustrate how access to information through the

implementation of digital information and communication technology challenges

traditional school practices and introduces dilemmas about democracy, school

development, ethics, information management and learning.

Structuring, categorizing and sorting can be considered to be a fundamental part

of human cultural activity (Bowker & Starr, 1999). Structuring information in

terms of theorizing and building models, organizing disciplinary and professional

knowledge, sorting data about citizens, organizing items in a database, or for that

matter for a student report, are activities that permeate modern society, bringing

about order. Still there are certain ambiguities in the discussion of students’ work

with information, illustrating a socio-technical dilemma. Apprehending structure is

considered to be an important aspect of learning. In course books and other

educational media structure appears to be considered to be there waiting to be

1 Publicerad i (2008). Unstructured information as a socio-technical dilemma. In

T. Hansson (Ed.), (2208) Handbook of research on digital information

technologies. Innovations, methods and ethical Issues (pp. 482 - 506). Hershey,

PA: Information Science Reference

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apprehended. The Internet is considered to introduce “unstructured information”,

thus lacking a structure to apprehend. Structure instead needs to be constructed.

Embracing a modern technology that introduces “unstructured information” into

education thus appears as something of a paradox ultimately challenging the way

we learn. We will approach the paradox first through a presentation of the

ambiguous appreciation of its introduction, and then we will continue by

discussing possible implications of conceptualizing Internet-based information as

unstructured, anchoring the presentation in research on literacy. We will introduce

a plug-in aimed at supporting students’ efforts to structure information for reports.

We will then introduce information management in education as a socio-technical

dilemma and present excerpts from three cases to illustrate how this dilemma may

be studied. Finally we will relate these dilemmas to issues of democracy and ethics.

The ambiguous appreciation of information and communication technology

Policies in many countries emphasize the importance of technology in

education, presenting implementation as a national urgency tied to such goods as

the welfare state, democracy and the ability to compete in the global market-place

(Postman, 1996; Riis, 1999; Cuban, 2001; Robertson, 2002). Consequently many

governments have decided on policies designed to facilitate implementation of

technology in education. A generic feature of these policies is an understanding of

future students and workers as citizens in an information society/economy. As such

they have a democratic right to become information literate and be able to use

technology to find, retrieve and manage information.

The centrality of “unstructured information” in making sense of information

and communication technology is reflected in the foreword to the English edition

of the Swedish Government Communication Tools for Learning (1997/98:176).

There the Swedish Minister of Education asks how education is “affected by the

constant availability of unstructured information?” The communication presents

the challenge as follows, indicating that education is undergoing change:

Traditionally, teaching has been based on a textbook in which the various

sections of the subject are usually presented in an instructive and orderly way. A

different arrangement, using the Internet or teaching media, is for pupils to collect

data from various sources; thereafter making presentations or reports based on the

material they have collected. (p. 12)

A particular view on what it means to learn in the age of the Internet is

presented. Students need to prepare for a society where “information management

and processing make up an ever larger share of many people’s occupational roles”

(p. 8). Consequently it has become a democratic right to have access to and learn

how to use modern technology to support this mode of working. At the same time

order is traded for chaos as information structured by the textbook is replaced by

the unstructured information on the Internet represented by “various sources”,

placing demands on the education system to teach students how to manage

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information and on students to collect data and impose their own structure in

order to make presentations and produce reports.

The ambiguity is also reflected in research. From some perspectives, notably

cognitivist, constructivist and socio-cultural perspectives on learning, there is the

understanding that new artefacts will change what we can learn and the way we

learn. Databases and other storage media facilitate externalization (Säljö, 2005),

network tools facilitate the construction of learning communities (Land &

Jonassen, 2001; Barab, Kling & Gray, 2004) and distributed cognition, mind tools

enhance problem-solving capabilities (Jonassen, 2000) and word processors and

presentation software enhance our ability to utilize different media forms for

presentation and re-presentation (Kress, 2003 ). At a socio-genetic level this

development is considered to represent advances in human learning (Säljö, 2005).

With specific reference to information Breivik (1998) argues that the proliferation

of pre-packaged information in schools and higher education makes it impossible

to prepare students for lifelong learning. Problem-solving based on such material

provides artificial and limited environments and bears “little resemblance to

problem-solving in the real world” (p. 128), thus failing to take into account that

in that world information needs to be collected and pieced together or in the

parlance of this chapter to be restructured. Schools that use such material as a

scaffold for learning could from such a perspective be considered to fail their

students by not preparing them for a life outside the classroom.

With the advance of training, word processing, presentation software and the

Internet we have also witnessed a growing concern from educational institutions

that student use of technology can be detrimental to the kind of learning required

by policies. Research implies that the effects may not be as conducive to learning as

has been expected (Alexandersson & Limberg, 2005; Ivarsson, 2000), or that

different ideas about using technology may contribute to shifting students into

different futures (Warshauer, 2000).

The structure and danger of unstructured information

“Information wants to be free” has been a battle cry from those who want to

keep the Internet from being controlled by authorities or other powers. Worries

about free information are multiplied in studies discussing the impact of net-based

information. Student users may be: confronted with inappropriate information

(Fox, 2005); unable to find appropriate information (Bilal, 2002; Joint, 2005;

Karchmer, 2001); unable to value information; encouraged to transport and

transform information (Alexandersson & Limberg, 2004); prone to plagiarize

information (Mallon, 2001) and so forth. At worst, easy access to information may

lure students to buy, borrow or steal the work of others, putting them in danger of

being “cheated out of skills” (Cowen, 2001). Easy access to information and

features that allow students to copy and paste prevent students from becoming

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skilled, critical and creative users and producers of scholarly work (Auer & Krupar,

2001; Burke, 2004; Mallon, 2001). In such dystopian presentations information

mediated by the Internet poses a threat to student learning and when all is said and

done modern technology may introduce information in forms that are deskilling.

Questions may be raised about the ethical ramifications of introducing such a

technology.

The notion that free information also implies unstructured information is

debated. An alternative view can be found in informatics, systems design and

computer engineering. From these perspectives structure is generally considered to

have been imposed on information and, once imposed, structure is treated as a

property. From that vantage point a web-page, even if it is freely available, is: a

highly structured type of information; marked up by standard protocols; and

searchable by search engines like Google. The intention behind Berners-Lee’s

(1989) report Information management: A proposal, and later Berners-Lee and

Cailliaus’s (1990) The World Wide Web, was to provide structure, making it

easier for scientists to find and retrieve information. Such descriptions make the

notion that information on the Internet is “unstructured” appear strange.

Structure, however, is not always easy to impose. Simon (1973) claims that illstructured

problems make programming, searching, retrieving and similar actions

difficult. From his perspective structure is not just something humans impose or

apprehend. Problems have affordances, making it more or less difficult to structure

information to deal with them.

Information technology and the quest for a new literacy

Information technology has brought a deepened interest in skills and

competencies needed to deal with information. Discourses about these skills and

competencies often appear under the label information literacy. Information

literacy studies and reports commonly use the concept for the individual’s ability to

interact with information tools to seek for, find and manage information, in other

words, to search for and impose structure. Generic lists of skills and competencies

required to solve these tasks abound (cf. ACRL, 2000; CAUL, 2001; SCONUL,

1999).

Research on students’ information literacy has for the most part targeted

searching for information. Students have been asserted to have trouble locating the

information they need to complete their assignments, especially in the allotted time

frame (Marchionini, 1997/2003; Alskans & Jusufovic, 2005). This is often

formulated as an inability to construct searches that yield an appropriate result

owing to a focus on procedures and techniques instead of content, but also owing

to endless access to unstructured information.

Lately a number of studies have covered issues in the wider area of managing

information. Knowing what kind of information counts as an answer to a certain

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question provides resources for structuring. Students need to structure information

according to credibility and quality (Limberg & Sundin, 2006; Leth & Thurén,

2000; Thurén, 2003; Rieh & Belkin, 2000; Rieh, 2002; Boström, 2005), aims that

are emphasized in the curriculum. Valuing information has been argued to be

something students are unable to master and that it should therefore not be

considered an object of teaching. Knowing how to assign credibility to information

provides another kind of resource for structuring.

Structure as a social/collective accomplishment

If this scope is widened outside the area of searching for information, a number

of issues emerge that can be viewed as research accounts about structuring as a

social accomplishment. Limberg and Sundin (2006) claim that evaluation of

information sources through negotiating relevance in different contexts, assessing

the credibility and authority of sources and coping with information overload,

might be observed as aspects of the object of learning in the teaching of

information seeking.

Structure is considered to be imposed through negotiation of contextual

relevance and it is emphasized that context is a resource that students need to draw

on in order to evaluate the results of their searches. The assumption that

information literacy is primarily individual is, however, questioned in perspectives

with a social and collaborative view on learning. Bruce (2000), Kapitzke (2003a,

2003b) and Marcum (2002) argue a socially distributed, dialogically driven view

on information literacy. From such a perspective all forms of information

management, including apprehending and imposing structure, are situated in

particular contexts and take place in shared social practices. Such an extension of

information literacy allows us to approach structure as an affordance of

information as well as of social practices. Studies have, for example, emphasized the

lack of consistency between the intended knowledge content and what is made

explicit in the assignments, causing students to fail to establish such a connection

(Limberg & Sundin, 2006). Such a failure is considered to have a negative impact

on student motivation. Kulthau, Aringer and Auby (2006) argue that more

structured assignments increase the students’ motivation. A perspective that

emphasized social distribution and dialogicity would not reduce this issue to the

information literacy of a teacher, and his/her attempts to pre-structure

information, or the information literacy of a student and that student’s ability to

apprehend that structure. Focus would instead be placed on work on assignments

that include collaborative management of information in a particular social

context.

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Structuring as a socio-technical practice

Tuominen, Savolainen and Talja (2005) argue that studies on information

literacy also need to include technology. Understanding something as sociotechnical

implies seeing the social and technical as elements constantly interacting,

contributing to the shaping of each other. This relationship between social

practices and technology has been widely discussed through the centuries,

including such aspects as alienation (Marx, 1864/1974), technology and power

(Marx, 1864/1974; Ure 1835), division of labour (Babbage, 1835; Taylor, 1911),

industrial organization (Woodward, 1965), technology and design (Ehn &

Sandberg, 1979; Checkland, 1981) and today in discussions on science and

technological systems (Hughes, Pinch & Bijker, 1987; Bijker, 1995; Schot and

Rip, 1997), technology assessment (Smits, Leyten & Harthog, 1995) and for that

matter technology and learning (Säljö, 2005).

Discussion of information literacy tends to emphasize the individual user’s

mastery of technology. Focus is placed on mastery of particular technical devices

and applications such as computers, the language used to search databases and the

knowledge of particular information services, to take a few examples. Tuominen,

Savolainen and Talja (2005) argue that information literacy “is embedded in

particular groups and communities” (p 341) and that these groups and

communities practise literacy through the use of appropriate technologies.

Knowledge of these technologies and their use is socially distributed, shared and

maintained within these communities. As a consequence a socio-technical

approach to information literacy must focus research efforts on “the social,

ideological and physical context and environment in which information and

technical artifacts are used” (p 340).

Arguments for a rhetorical approach to structured and

unstructured information

We argue that structuring should be seen as a rhetorical accomplishment. Duffy

(2003) defines rhetoric as “the ways that institutions and individuals use symbols

to structure their thought and shape their conception of the world” (p. 42). This

perspective makes it possible to unite more recent takes on rhetoric, also including

the importance of ideology in forming a new literacy. A rhetorical approach invites

us to treat structuring of information as a socio-technical dilemma. Billig claims

that when encountering dilemmas actors often draw on opposing themes as part of

their sense-making (1988, 1996). Thus, presentation of the issue of unstructured

information as a dilemma serves to accentuate that what appears as structured or

unstructured needs to be made sense of in social practices involving technology.

A rhetorical approach directs us to the way students make sense of information

together, working with technology. Burbules (2001) claims that the standard

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criteria for judging credibility of information are frustrated by the special

characteristics of the web, and this may be taken as recognition that not only

individual abilities count when students structure information. Socio-technical

aspects, such as the scope of available information, the self-referencing character

and the rate of change, also get included. The web does not only appear in the

guise of an archive, but as a technology mediating communication in social

networks where people interact with information and ideas.

Consequently the type of analysis we attempt is one that takes an interest in how

students interact in a particular context with other students, teachers and

technology in order to manage information on subject matter. The collection as

well as the analysis of data has been inspired by interaction analysis (Jordan &

Henderson, 1995), taking as a point of departure studies of interaction at work

(e.g. Goodwin, 1994; Heath & Luff, 2000; Luff, Hindmarsh & Heath, 2000).

Learning has been approached as a situated activity (e.g. Brown, Collins &

Duguid, 1989; Greeno, 1997; Lave, 1988) through students’ ability to take part in

what Goodwin (1994, p. 606) refers to as “a socially situated, historically

constituted body of practices through which the objects of knowledge which

animate the discourse” are constructed and shaped. The context is seen as a

particular socio-technical environment and the analysis focuses on how students

turn information in the form of theories, instructions, software design, rules for

valuing information and putting together written products into objects of

knowledge that constitute a domain for learning.

Data collection

Cole and Engeström (1993) assert

that the availability of different media

for recording and managing data has

allowed us to interact with

“phenomena of the mind in more

sophisticated ways” (p.43). In the type

of rich audio and video material

collected here (see Image 1 for an

example) there is a wide range of

aspects that can be analysed and it is

important to find and keep a focus

(Duranti & Goodwin, 1992). This has

Image 1: The video setting

been an increasingly pressing demand

given that data appear in many guises

in our empirical material. Performing their work students interact with each other.

They also interact with as well as use a variety of artefacts to accomplish interaction

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and they are often on the move. Thus, data streams that represent talk, movement

and screen activity, to mention a few, have constantly been generated.

Data collection has been conducted in “typical” Swedish gymnasiums. Typical

indicates that students have access to broadband connections, the open Internet

and a very limited set of information sources particularly designed for education,

office type applications for managing and compiling information and

communication through e-mail. Special applications to support scholarly work,

such as tools for data collection, transcription, quantitative or qualitative analysis

and for collaboration around data, are not part of the environment.

The students reported in the first two cases had entered the last grade, whereas

the students in the last case were in the second grade. Observations were made

during scheduled periods when the students were active in different stages of larger

projects on cross-disciplinary themes going about their everyday activities. In the

cases reported here students work in groups of 4-6 on a range of issues. They

collaborate, among other things, in order to: formulate a purpose; break it down

into questions; find information; value sources; analyze and synthesize information;

and find modes of presentation. They move between individual work and different

modes of collaboration. Formulating purpose and initial problems are usually work

performed in whole group sessions whereas information-gathering and synthesis are

conducted by one or two students. Finally the team gathers and puts their work

together. Most of the tasks they undertake both individually and in various forms

of groups.

The software

An application called the Researcher has been introduced for the students by the

researchers as an option. The Researcher is a plug-in that was originally a part of

Microsoft Encarta. It installs itself as an add-on to the browser visible through a

special button in the toolbar that can be used to activate the application. When

activated an additional frame appears in the left corner of the browser window.

The Researcher is designed to support collection and structuring of information

during the collection phase, making it possible to add information found on

different websites either by menu options or by drag-and-drop. It is presented by

the vendor as an application that helps students collect and organize text and

pictures as resources from Encarta and the Web, so they can construct exceptional

reports and projects in less time. Encarta automatically creates relevant footnotes

and bibliographies, then includes them in the finished reports. (Microsoft web

page)

The suggestion from the vendor is that organizing is what it takes to construct

exceptional reports and in the process also save time. The Researcher has some

features aimed at supporting structure. Students set up a project. Information can

be added to this project at different levels. They can create an outline of their

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project through adding sections and sub-sections and add information as notes to

different sections (see Image 2).

Searches may be run directly through the application interface. Any source

accessible through the school network can be accessed through this interface and

added to the student project. The software keeps track of the source whence the

information is collected. When students add sources bibliographic information is

automatically included.

Editing can be used to add

information about or comment on

collected information, supporting:

general reflections; linking to other

electronic sources; alignment with

information about other sources than

electronic; inclusion of quotes from

books or alignment with other types

of data.

The Researcher can be used to

Image 2: The program view

build a report containing all

information collected, including the

students’ own notes, comments and questions. At the end of the report a reference

list of all the sources used during the collection phase is generated. This can be a

“raw report” on which the students intend to continue to work or a finished report

exported to several different formats, like HTML or Word.

Results

Apprehending a structure behind questions guiding student work surfaces as a

problem in the first case reported here. M and K, two third-year “gymnasium”

students conduct several searches but have problems locating information that they

find helpful. M comments on his difficulties silently, almost as if talking to himself,

asking “vad menar vi egentligen med innebar?” The problem is further complicated

by the fact that the students conduct searches both in Swedish and English. Their

question does not easily lend itself to translation into English. The Wordfinder

dictionary suggests that “innebar” means the implication of, the consequences of,

the meaning of or the significance of, here translated as “what do we actually mean

by significance?”.

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Revolution 1:

53. K: But check it out eh uhm

54. M: Presstext Yeah it remains there to

[unhearable] (7,1)

55. What do we actually mean by

significance?

56. K: Oh, well they are a bit vague

these questions.

57. M: Bra Böckers encyclopaedia

58. K: They only account for. The most important is this one actually.

59. M: Yes.

60. K: What impact has it made on the Swedish society that is what kind of

61. memories have been found what kind of memories have been found that is

62. what kind of things that stem from.

63. M: This is Bra Böckers encyclopaedia too shit.

64. K: But just take that one then

65. M: But the question is whether this is not just

66. K: But that’s where it originated from then we have these

67. there are booklets and that kind of to

68. M: What was that? Was it Bra Böckers lexicon?

69. K: No take Presstext check Sweden.

70. M: Should I search for Sweden?

71. K: Sweden

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72. M: I still don’t think we will get something different. Then I think

73. we will only get the same thing.

The students attend a school where students should be active, projects crossdisciplinary,

and where it is asserted that focus on what students perceive as

authentic problems is fundamental to make questions their own. As owners,

students ought to be aware of the underlying structure of a question and be able to

use it to guide searches for information. Instead M finds this hard. When he tries

to search using the full phrase there are no hits. When he tries to search using

“significance” and “The industrial revolution” he gets plenty of information but he

remains unsure about its relevance.

K coordinates with M, stating that the questions “are a bit vague” but supposed

to guide them towards what is important in their assignment. He tries to structure

the question, making an interpretation of “the significance of the industrial

revolution”. He indicates that significance may have something to do: with the

impact on society; with what remains as a memory from that time; or with artefacts

reminding us, making relevant that you need to know what you want to find in

order to search. Their activity seems to corroborate the assertion that students’

prior knowledge about content influences their success at formulating searches (cf.

Bruce, 1997), but at the same time it raises some doubts as to whether prestructuring

of questions to match content provides a solution.

The continued activity reveals something about the complexities of finding a

matching structure and the skill with which the students collaboratively approach

finding what can be considered a useful structure in their enterprise. They

approach the significance of the industrial revolution through what Billig (1988)

refers to as particularization, trying to find out what applies to their special case.

Their dilemma can be illustrated through their attempts at particularizing

“significance”. From the start the students have been trying to locate information

about the industrial revolution, including Sweden in their search phrase. This has

not been a successful strategy. When, however, they leave out Sweden from their

search expressions, they get little that is particularly about Sweden and much about

England/Great Britain. What counts as relevant information surfaces as a dilemma

when K comments on an entry and recommends M to add it to the Researcher

project. M objects, pointing to the word England, indicating that the content of

the entry does not match what they are looking for. They should be looking for

information about the impact “on the Swedish society”. K retorts that “that’s

where it originated from”. M particularizes content whereas K seems to be looking

for commonality. Their approach illustrates that searching involves more than

knowledge of the subject and the tools for conducting searches, factors usually

suggested in research on information literacy (Limberg & Sundin, 2006). It

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indicates that you need to know what a good search expression is in this school

context, given this mode of working and with this type of thematic orientation.

The issue of what counts as an answer to what the significance of the industrial

revolution in Sweden was in the context of their school project remains a topic

through the whole session and also influences how they construct their searches.

Further down M talks about it as “that Great Britain kind of significance”,

particularizing search results as possibly typical only for Great Britain. Later he

suggests that for most parts the only difference may be “that Sweden was a little bit

later than England” and K argues that this may explain the dominance of

information about the industrial revolution in England. That examples appear in

texts about Great Britain should not rule out that they can also be used in a

description of Sweden. The suggestion to save a text about Great Britain indicates

that K sees this as a lesser problem and that the significance of the industrial

revolution may be more of industrial revolution significance than England

significance. K argues that texts about Great Britain may work well when you

sketch something “backgroundish” about industrialization. M aligns with him in

stating that that it may be typical “on the whole”. Through a concerted effort they

arrive at a structure where general information about the Industrial revolution is

considered to be if not sufficient at least helpful in the construction of a case about

the industrial revolution in Sweden.

Apprehending rules for using information tools in a school context surfaces as a

second dilemma as two third-graders, J male and F female, work on an assignment

to investigate which websites are most commonly used by youths. The objective of

their study has been handed to them by a company that does market research.

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webcontent1

84. J: Yes Handelsbanken we know, Blocket we know

Dagens industri, and do we dare enter that one?

85. F: [Laughs]

86. J: Well, I don’t know what it is.

87. [J glances quickly towards the camera]

88. F: So shall we?

89. J: [writes www.virgins.se]

90. J: HE HE HE

91. C: What is it?

92. F: Laughing loudly.

93. J: We were just looking at what it’s about.

94. C: OK

95. K: Yes but what is it.

96. J: Well it’s a site [Laughs]

97. [J: Looks towards the screen]

98. F: Free porn it says

99. C: What?

100. F: Find sex on the web

101. [F:Turns towards the girls at the table]

Working down a list they have compiled they follow a routine, not opening sites

they mutually claim they know. Encountering a site they are unsure about, J asks

whether they need to “check what it is”. The students have their attention directed

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towards the site that comes after “dagens industri” on their list. F hesitates. J asks

“do we dare enter that one”? J points with his finger to the address www.virgins.se.

The students express hesitation about what it is (laughs indicating that both may

have a pretty good idea) before they enter the site. At first their hesitation seems to

have to do with that they guess what will come. A graphic display of nude men and

women appears on the screen, some showing streaming videos of varied forms of

intercourse. As they enter the site their continued laughs draw two female group

members into their activities. The two girls show disapproval when they see what is

displayed on the screen and question their right to visit that particular site. A

discussion about pornography takes place among the students and K asks whether

that really was “one of the most popular sites”. When this is confirmed she says

“that’s scary”. This also seems to settle the issue about whether J and F had a right

to visit that particular link.

J and F decide rather quickly to leave the site. F writes the address of the next

site on the list. It is www.kth.se, the address of the Royal Institute of Technology

in Stockholm. When they press “enter” the browser automatically goes to a site

where it is possible to download porn movies. It appears that there was a jumper

tagged to the virgin site. J claims that now they have “been hit by a virus or

something” and when F says “oh, shit” he goes on to say that “now we are being

redirected”. They are losing control, trying to shut down browser windows more

rapidly than they open. Their attempts to gain control and impose their own

structure on what is displayed indicate that this is not okay.

Their activities show that they need to manage different sets of rules. Hesitation

about whether they are permitted to enter the site or not illustrates the institutional

nature of structuring. Visiting pornographic sites is not allowed in school. Their

visit to www.virgins.se can be contrasted to their visit at www.playahead.se. J is in

control of the mouse and keyboard and suggests that they should check out

PlayAhead. He orients to the keyboard and as he writes he simultaneously reads

out “we we we play” coordinating F with his actions. Visiting a youth site like

PlayAhead is not considered okay in many schools and sites like the particularly

popular Lunarstorm are often filtered out. J, however, enters PlayAhead playfully

humming. Looking at the display of a young boy in front of a wall covered with

graffiti he invites F to confirm that they have found the correct site. They engage in

a discussion about cute boys and how the site is financed, and they collect data

they find relevant. The playful tone and casual talk about features at the site

indicate that visiting a youth community with pictures of cute boys does not

constitute a problem. In research the worry about what kind of content students

will encounter appears as a regular concern (Davis, 2003; Fox 2005). The issue is

discussed more from a moral perspective than from the perspective of learning. In

the sequence related above these perspectives collide, as the students face the

dilemma of deciding whether they should be guided by rules guiding the use of

technology or rules guiding their assignment. They settle this question by pursuing

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the objective of their assignment to find the most frequented youth sites. Their

reaction to being redirected can be taken to indicate that visiting pornographic sites

is not allowed in school unless it is a result of the focused activity, whereas any

other such visit is considered to be a breach of proper conduct.

How to value sources appears as a dilemma to a group of second-grade students

who have conducted literature searches on the net and are collectively working up a

report. Their interaction and inter-thinking reveal negotiation of a structure built

on the value of information. One of the girls (F1) sits in front of the computer in

control of mouse and keyboard appearing to be most active. We enter early in their

session. They finish listing the different kind of sources they have used in their

project.

Anorexia 1:

520. (F1): OK now you are talking about the wrong things. Listen to me, to

what I have written. We thought that it was good with articles and interviews to

get an insight into real events. Does that sound strange?

521. (F1): Cut it out now! We found articles and interviews good enough to

give an insight into real events?

522. (F2): Now we have to shape up! We have 4 hours. Printed sources

523. (F1): Books, yes, printed sources. Oh, printed sources are good for getting

pure facts

524. (F2): Yea to get absolutely secure facts

525. (M1: Sources

526. (F1): To receive absolutely pure facts, can you say it so, do you get it that

we get only pure facts.

______________________________________________

546. (F1): What did you say about the electronic sources? Why is it so good

with electronic sources? Why is it so good with the Internet? Because there is such

a large supply?

547. (F2): Yes

548. (M1): Supply

549. (F1): The sources are good, because on Internet you get a big

550. (F2): Big choice of selection

551. (F1): Selection

552. (F2): You also have to be observant on what is

553. (F1): You must not forget, or what did you say?

554. (F2): You also have to be observant on

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555. (M1): Pay attention to sounds better

556. (F1): Yeah but that comes later

557. (F2): Yes that’s true, good that’s good

558. (F1): But you must not forget to be observant when you

559. (M1): Seek

560. (F1): Surf

561. (M1): Surf

____________________________________________________

623 (F1): Ok you must not forget to be observant so you don’t use a false source

624 (F2): Yes or on all false sources that

625 (M1): Unreliable sources

626 (M2): Mm

627 (F1): But do you get it, you must not forget to be observant so you don’t

use

628 (M2): Stay away from the unreliable sources

629 (F1): So you don’t take

630 (F2): Information from an unreliable source

In this storyline we can hear how the students try to categorize and thereby

structure sources by working through different criteria on how to make judgements

about what sources can be used for. Articles and interviews are connected to “real

events” whereas books are considered to contain “pure facts”. Articles and

interviews are found good enough to support descriptions of real events. They are

not described as accurate. They are just good enough. Books and printed sources

are considered to provide another kind of information. The value judgement

connecting books to pure facts reflects an understanding of books as a homogenous

medium that can be relied on not only to provide pure but, as F1 rephrases it, to

“get absolutely secure facts”. The students appear to be in agreement. Their

interest in facts reflects research reporting that students’ search behaviour reveals a

strong fact orientation (Alexandersson & Limberg, 2004; Limberg, 2001) and an

additive approach to information seeking (Todd, 2006), but their acceptance of

other sources of information indicates that their judgement is made relative to what

information should be used for.

Later the students turn their attention to electronic sources. They agree that

there are benefits from using electronic sources because they offer a big variety of

information to choose from. “A big variety” seems to indicate that one must

approach this information with special caution, not only because there is so much

but because there is such a variety. Electronic sources are particularized by F2

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claiming that you need to “be observant” and by M1 claiming that you need to

“pay attention”. Observant is something you need to be when you surf for

information but pay attention “comes later”, according to F1. What does that

imply? Should they be observant about what places they surf to and later pay

attention to the content?

The notion of “false sources” brought up by F1 and F2 echoes the first concern.

False sources can be thought of as sources that appear to be something they are not,

say a site appearing to be a research institute when in reality it hosts a lobby group.

M1 utters what may be an attempt to correct, or perhaps an attempt to challenge,

their understanding, claiming that it is not a question of false sources but of

“unreliable sources”, suggesting that it is what they contain that should be

approached with caution. The girls go along with his suggestion, reformulating it

as a warning not to “take information from an unreliable source”. Their exchange

illustrates a problem concerning valuing information, namely whether valuing

should build on an assessment of the cognitive authority of the source or the

credibility of the information (Eklöf & Nilsson, 2004; Rieh, 2005).

The excerpt illustrates the importance of contextualization. Policies on ICT in

education often stress the importance of source criticism (Eklöf & Nilsson, 2004).

There are explicit instructions for their assignment which state that their report

should include a passage on source criticisms and evaluation. The passage

highlights how they turn these instructions into an object of knowledge, drawing

on codified schemes for how to value information. This is a kind of talk in which it

is necessary to engage if they are to structure their report according to the

requirements of the template for their assignment. Later on a discussion emerges as

to what constitutes a reliable source.

Governance in the name of a knowledge (information)

society: A discussion

In the introduction we presented the conception of unstructured information to

highlight a particular view on Internet-based information often appearing in policy

texts. What is produced in these texts can be glossed as governance in the name of

a knowledge (information) society. In that society knowledge plays an increasingly

important role in all aspects of social endeavours. A central problem in a

knowledge society is how to deal with information and turn it into individual (or

organizational) knowledge (Brown & Duguid, 2000), particularly making use of

information that has not been pre-packaged for the purpose it is later used for.

A corollary to this problem is how to reproduce a society with individuals who

make use of different forms of information and turn it into knowledge. Seen this

way unstructured information presents a dilemma of governance. Education may

be seen as a technology to deal with the problem of turning students into objects of

governance in the name of the knowledge society. To become citizens students

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need to learn how to deal with information, so mastery of information tools

becomes a basic of education.

Discourses on societal development from an industrial to a knowledge society

are, as we see it, replicated in the political discourse on education. These produce

particular subjects such as, for example, the competent user, the global learner or

the digital learner. The first educational policies mentioning computer technology

turned students into objects of a discourse aimed at educating a particular future

citizen. This citizen should be a subject with knowledge of, and an interest in,

computer technology. More importantly, perhaps, this future citizen should have

learnt social civic engagement in order to be able to take an interest in and dare to

influence the development of technology (National Board, 1986, p. 10-11). There

was thus a strong emphasis on citizenship education.

In the 1990’s the same citizen needed to have learnt how to deal with

unstructured information. The socio-genesis of learning is presented as one where

students move from access to and dealing with information structured in and

restricted to school-books to open access and dealing with unstructured

information on the net. Willingness to approach and deal with such information is

presented as vital to society, to industry, as well as to the individual and can be said

to provide part of an ideal for the future citizen. Consequently the normative

political stance in many countries has been to produce students who become

subjects who are information literate or digitally competent. The suggested

technologies aimed at producing such a student require them to work in forms

where they learn how to manage unstructured information.

Learning and unstructured information

A particular identity is built for students in a knowledge society. Not only do

these students work with unstructured information, they also take a personal

responsibility for learning, formulate their own problems, take a cross-disciplinary

approach, value their sources, build their own knowledge networks, navigate

epistemic communities, join communities of practice and above all use networked

technology. To reproduce such an identity education must give students access to

information tools and provide opportunities for them to learn how to deal with

unstructured information.

We find that students in our study work in forms that resemble those used to

describe the modern learner in a knowledge society. Concerns have, however, been

raised about what this might mean in terms of learning. From a socio-cultural

perspective learning is a result of human activity. What we learn, however, is not

necessarily for good (Säljö, 1999, 2006). When it comes to technology, Kenway

(2001) argues that “little attention is being paid to the manner in which we

produce and consume such technologies and to associated issues of politics and

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justice” (p. 165). We would argue that there are a number of studies that raise

questions about how technology is consumed in education and what this means

for: learning (Alexandersson & Limberg, 2005), exposure to inappropriate

information (Fox, 2005); and ability to value sources (Bruce, 2000; Rieh, 2002), to

mention just a few. The worries echoed in these studies concern possibly negative

effects on learning and what is learned as a result of students’ exposure to

unstructured information.

From a socio-cultural as well as a constructivist perspective dealing with

structure is inseparable from learning. The issue is not whether information is

unstructured or structured but instead the conditions and results of structuring for

student learning. A number of studies indicate that students find structuring

information difficult and it is argued that they fail to master the required skills and

that the potential for disciplinary learning is neglected (Alexandersson & Limberg,

2004, 2006). Our data, on the contrary, illustrate the complexity of finding

structure in the type of information our students have been working with, but also

the skill with which they go about solving some of the problems.

In contrast with the view that the Internet introduces unstructured information

our data suggest that all sources can count as unstructured. They are perceived of as

unstructured by our students for a number of reasons, reasons that require them to

impose their own structure on available information. This can be seen in M’s and

K’s explorative talk on how to find a fit between the type of assignment they work

on, the questions they need to answer and the sources of information they can

access. It can be seen in J’s and F’s hesitation about what has priority, the task set

for them, or the rules set for their use of computers at school. It can also be seen in

the way the group of students navigate their particular epistemic culture with its

requirements for using a wide variety of sources, valuing sources and following

rules about citation, to take some examples. We would argue that these were issues

for students long before the particular political and educational discourse on

unstructured information of the present day.

Structuring and the literacy discourse

With further reference to Säljö (1999), there is still the pressing issue about

whether students’ learning is for good or bad. In information literacy studies,

where according to Tuominen, Savolainen, and Talja (2005) focus is on the

literacy skills of the individual students, studies reporting on student mastery of

such skills often provide insights into what seems to be problematic to the

individual. Our study suggests that these skills are always tested in particular

contexts and rarely by individuals in isolation.

Aligning to a well-known phrase from Liverpool soccer, we could say that

students in our study never walk alone. Students work together, in particular

schools, governed by particular rules, representing ideologies, religious beliefs,

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eliefs about learning and what counts as knowledge. The inherently social nature

of information structure is present in our students’ orientation to each other both

in speech and movement but even more so in the way they discuss how to value

information, interpret assignments and set up search expressions. Their talk is

seldom just aimed at collecting and producing lists. Instead they discuss solutions

and argue their points, engaging in what Dawes, Fisher and Mercer (1992) have

called explorative and disputational talk. What is done is done in a shared social

space with an infinite number of rules for re-structuring information. These may

be said to be part of disciplinary discourse, as when M and K discuss whether facts

about the industrial revolution in England/Great Britain can be used to illustrate

the significance of the industrial revolution in Sweden. They can be said to be part

of a local institutional discourse requiring them to turn local school rules for using

the Internet and rules for working on assignments into objects of knowledge that

guide structuring.

Technology and information structure as a dilemma

How do students deal with technology? A number of studies assert that it is

technology and the way technology makes information accessible to students that

cause problems. Technology is treated as a natural source with fixed effects on

student learning. Because of the way technology works students cannot find the

information they need or select from the various sources they find. In our study

students do not talk of technology as a problem in itself, rather their talk reflects a

view that construction of school assignments does not take technology into

account. Students need to put a lot of work into making sense of their assignments

to be able to use the tools they are expected to use. They orient to the need to:

match questions to search expressions; evaluate information; make judgements

about relevance; identify what is required by the assignment, afforded by

technology and forbidden in local rules; make sense of what it means to be critical

students when appraising sources. Their comments concern the difference in

accessibility, reliability and appropriateness between information they locate

through their own efforts and information that has been provided for them.

There are several references in the transcripts to texts that are hard to read, hard

to extract good information from and the like. In the transcripts included above,

M and K agree that a text they find is hard. M still seems intent on using both the

software and on searching the Internet whereas K indicates that “there are

booklets”. Only J and K can be said to be forced to use the Internet because of the

assignment. So why insist on using sources that are hard to find, navigate,

restructure and value? Knowing how can be considered to be an important aspect

of being successful. The suggestion here is that M sees the Internet as a primary

source of information whereas K sees the booklet that way. These are concerns

impeding on structure which are present in all transcripts.

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Technical discourse becomes part of defining what is unstructured and what is

structured. The Researcher was introduced by the research team to support

structuring and editing of information. J and F used it to add their sites as a list but

did not use it to edit their collected material nor to print out a report. M and K,

however, provide an interesting insight into how unstructured information is

treated as a socio-technical dilemma. For the most part technology integrates

almost seamlessly into the students’ work. On several occasions, however, students

highlight what they see as affordances and account for how these influence the way

they work. At the end of the first session M and K get into a discussion about the

impact editing with the Researcher may have on their end-product. K expresses the

concern that there might be a “risk with a thing like this” and M fills in that “you

copy”. K is, however, not talking about copying. He is concerned that if you order

texts in a system that automatically adds a reference and then go in and edit them

you might accidentally cause a misrepresentation. Your statements appear as part of

statements from an author to whom you refer. M objects, claiming that the text

they generate should not be the final text, but should contain referenced material

and their comments too, and reflections about how to work on them. His line of

reasoning reveals that he is unsure about what a text structured like that should be

called, and he states that it is “more like a summary, no, not a summary like a

reference to”.

K accepts this way of categorizing the genre. The students’ efforts to make sense

can serve as a commentary on the heated debate in research (e.g. Austin & Brown,

1999; Swearingen, 1999; Mallon, 1989/2001) about the effect of the Internet on

writing. It may be premature to write students’ unclear presentation of authorship

off as attempts to plagiarize or misrepresent on their part. How to paraphrase,

make summaries and keep track of insertions appear as dilemmas our students need

to deal with and technology sometimes is opaque. Our assertion is further

strengthened as the students comment on the fifteen-page long generated text. K

laughs and says “You can turn it all in later. Doesn’t look at all suspicious” and M

joins him in his laughter. The students structure their expectations about the text,

making relevant particular rules for text production in their context and the

possible impact of technology.

Information structure as an ethical dilemma

Student talk points to a particular aspect of what unstructured information

might mean. This can be seen in M’s and K’s attempt to find suitable information.

It can be seen in J’s and F’s accidental visit to a porn site. It can be seen in the

other students’ attempts to value information. Student talk indicates a sense of

agency. Information they find is never ready for consumption. Contrary to what is

reported in many studies on student plagiarism (Austin & Brown, 1999;

Swearingen, 1999; Mallon, 1989/2001), writing is not just a cut-and-paste job.

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How information can be used is something they orient to in talk, including issues

about how to value information and what can pass as appropriate information.

They also show an awareness of rules for proper use of sources. These rules may be

hard to interpret, but the students turn these issues into objects of knowledge,

trying to come to terms with what they might mean to their particular projects.

There are other considerations that may appear to be pressing from an ethical

perspective. In this text we have included students’ deliberate entry into a porn site.

The schools at which we collected data do not use filters to block out particular

web services. None of them use any other means to pre-structure Internet

information. Students are considered to be responsible users and to make sense of

whatever rules for computer use that the local school has set up. Consequently

students visit sites that present information concerning politics and religious

beliefs. Covering different aspects of their course plan most students are likely to

visit sites that contain information their parents might react against (though, we

might add, the reported section shows the only incident we saw where students

visited a porn site). Visits to sites that contain what is often called inappropriate

material are not only accidental. On many occasions they are the result of

exploratory and disputational talk between the students about how to reconcile

their need for information with local rules. Rather than constituting these rules as

moral absolutes they constitute them as guidelines applying what Norris and

Dodder (1979) call situational ethics.

Other ethical implications arise outside the concern about how students turn

local rules into knowledge objects. On the one hand the Swedish national

curriculum aims at reproducing subjects of a knowledge society. On the other hand

it requires school to respect parents’ ultimate responsibility for fostering their

children. Can students become ethical subjects of a knowledge society and learn to

respect fundamental values if they do not enter into situations where ethical

judgements need to be made? And if they are left free to take on the responsibility

for using information can we guarantee that they will exercise discretion that

matches curricular standards for ethical conduct?

From this perspective free access to information subject only to local rules may

be considered to introduce an ethical dilemma. This dilemma we feel is well

illustrated and may be discussed in relation to the skill displayed by students as

they value information. Burbules (2002) argues for a distributed view and claims

that issues like credibility, relevance, interest and worth cannot be assessed outside

the places where production and legitimization take place. This is precisely what

we see in our third case. The students are facing a dilemma requiring them to turn

these aspects into objects of knowledge. It is obvious that they do not really

evaluate the content of their sources, or at least they consider everything that they

have used as reliable. Their primary argument draws on feelings. They ask whether

they can write, in the section about source criticism, “that all the articles and

interviews are not reliable but we felt that we could take those from Sydsvenskan”

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and that “we felt that it was interviews that seemed to be reliable, it’s another thing

if we use articles that feel unreliable”. They also make relevant that they have to

write the passage and that it should contain some worries concerning the articles

and electronic sources. There are no real discussions on any of the concepts

concerning how to evaluate different sources. The Internet is unreliable and

printed sources are reliable. Morning papers are reliable and tabloids to be

doubted. Interviews are really beyond control since they are merely a window into

reality and do not contain facts. Such discourse illustrates the technical nature of

their dilemma.

Free access to information does seem to present an ethical problem. Critical

thinking, ability to value information and a number of related skills are supposed

to render students immune to inappropriate information.

Unstructured information as a socio-technical dilemma

Information structure surfaces in student talk in a way that illustrates that

student encounters with information have deep democratic and ethical

implications. They encounter information pre-packaged by publishers and

authorities, but also, as we have seen, by anti-democratic forces and porn

distributors. They are thrown into a sea of information and expected to swim,

with the help of their teachers, peers and knowledge about their context and its

requirements. They can be said to work in ways that represent ideals about student

identity, such as: the global learner who works in epistemic communities

(Tuominen, Savolainen & Talja 2005) or communities of practice (Wenger,

1998); the networked learner who finds his/her own contacts on the Internet

(Postman, 1996); the responsible learner who plans and scaffolds his or her own

learning (Harrison, 2000; Masschelein & Simons, 2002); the critical learner who

structures information according to trust, credibility, cognitive authority, bias,

dialectical reading and other aspects (cf. Leth & Thurén, 2000; Bruce, 2000;

Burbules, 2002); students approaching information as critical citizens; or

entrepreneurs who run their own projects, finding their own solutions to problems.

It is when all these things come together – institutions with their rules and ways

of framing activities, technology with its affordances, the structure of information –

and students turn them into objects of knowledge that we discern socio-technical

dilemmas. In discourse about societal development, the development of technology

and the development of learning are often painted with the same palette. In

policies change is seen as unavoidable, but, more to the point, change is good not

only for society at large but also for education. Our stance, based on data used for

this study, is that change is not always beneficiary and the learning it brings for

students is not always good.

Be that as it may, in national as well as international policies students are

governed by a rhetoric that presents them as self-governing entrepreneurs. Our

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data show students who deal skilfully with their assignments. We fear, however,

that the implementation of these policies might create a second kind of digital

divide. The kinds of skills necessary to handle the different kinds of dilemmas that

we have described in this paper are often considered to be rooted in special class

and habitus. Dovemark (2004) claims that the winners are the children who enter

with certain prerequisites. They come out even stronger, leaving the others behind.

Warschauer (2000) shows that it is not only a question of student habitus. Whole

schools may have different approaches to how to implement technology. In his

example the rural school teaches students to use technology only for production

(writing, web-publishing), whereas the upper middle-class school teaches students

to use technology to deal with disciplinary content. These apprehensions were one

major theme in the OECD conference The new millennium learner in March

2007:

Since differences in use seem to be extremely correlated with socio-economic

status and, at the same time, those differences can be expected to have an impact

on such status, there is ground for political and educational concern: the lack of

political action in this domain, using education as a change agent, can contribute

to amplify not only the second digital divide but, what is even worse, the socioeconomic

differences which such a divide is already reflecting. (OECD, 2007)

The final issue then seems to be how democratic ideals are reconciled with

ethical concerns. In Astrid Lindgren’s book Ronja Rövardotter, Ronja is asked by

Skalle-Per what she is going to do. Ronja tells him that she needs to learn how be

careful about the dangerous river. Skalle-Per asks where she is going to do that.

Ronja answers “down by the river, of course”. If students need to be mindful of

unstructured information, among other things, in order to become citizens of a

knowledge society, they may need to be where they meet unstructured

information. One thing seems clear in our transcripts: if they go there they will be

challenged and forced to make decisions concerning learning as well as democracy

and ethics.

Concluding remarks

Information is always in some sense unstructured. Just as it has been structured

in order to be displayed on a web page, fitted into a database, or adapted to the

ideological interests of a party, our data illustrate that it appears unstructured when

someone approaches it for other purposes. The aim of this chapter is to illustrate

how access to information through the implementation of digital information and

communication technology challenges traditional school practices and introduces

dilemmas about democracy, school development, ethics, information management

and learning. Where does this put us if we compare it with Bruce’s (2000)

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suggestion that students need a better match between assignments and proposed

result and with Breivik’s (1998) suggestion that pre-packaged assignments are

detrimental and do not prepare students for future work with information? There

appear to be consequences for school development tied to these assertions with

democratic and ethical underpinnings. What Bruce and Breivik argue from what

appear to be diametrically opposing positions is that failing to introduce

information “the correct way” may cause students to learn with less quality. Our

data instead indicate that structuring of information is a ubiquitous practice

present whether students have access to pre-structured assignments and

information or not and that it always presents them with socio-technical dilemmas.

That we know so little about the impact of working with net-based information is

unsatisfying, especially in view of what seems to be the only certainty, that the

proliferation of Internet-based information will put increasing demands on

teachers’ and students’ ability to structure information.

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STUDIE 2A

“BUT YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO RIP IT STRAIGHT

OFF”

Technology, plagiarism and dilemmas of learning.

Lars-Erik Nilsson, Anders Eklöf & Torgny Ottosson Kristianstad University 1

During the collection of data we were told a story by the mother of a final-year

student at a senior high school. She had been asked to give feedback on her

daughter’s essay and, being a specialist in the subject, gave what she thought was

constructive criticism. To her surprise her daughter said she was aware of precisely

those weaknesses but if she made these particular improvements she was afraid her

teacher would suspect she had been cheating by plagiarizing from the internet.

Student plagiarism has recently become a focus of attention in the media,

research and education. The practice is generally described as a threat to the quality

of education because students do not do the work they are supposed to; instead

they take credit for the work of others. The student’s reasoning in our introductory

account betrays another view on plagiarism. Accusation of plagiarism is a danger

regardless of whether she attempts to plagiarize or not and she does not trust her

teachers to assess her work correctly. Central to her reasoning is her understanding

of what makes teachers suspect plagiarism. A student who uses the internet and

hands in excellent work is a suspect. Calculating the risks, she makes sure that her

essay is just good enough. In her attempt to manage uncertainty, the good becomes

the enemy of the excellent.

Normalizing the plagiarist and the cheat

The central concern of this study is what Hacking (2002) calls making up people.

He asserts that experts play an important role in providing statistical grounds for

normalizing people in what Foucault (2000a) calls biopolitics. They make up

people and sort them into groups, like golf players, or cheats. Studies on plagiarism

in the same way play an important role in constructing and mediating an

1

Nilsson, L.-E., Eklöf, A., & Ottosson, T. (2007). “But You’re not Supposed to Rip it

Straight Off”-Technology, Plagiarism and Dilemmas of Learning. Paper presented at the 12th

Biennial Conference of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction

(EARLI)

1

1


alignment between technology, the plagiarist and the cheat. The aim of this study

is to go beyond the categorization of plagiarism and the use of technology

exemplified by copy-and-paste as plagiarism or cheating and to study students in

action as they work on “research reports”.

Questions about actions that can be considered as plagiarism are included in

surveys about cheating in such a way that they support the construction of

plagiarism as cheating. When Newstead, Franklyn-Stokes and Armstead (1996, p.

231), for example, report that 54 per cent of their English respondents admit to

having paraphrased without references and when Björklund and Wenestam (1999,

p. 9) report that 35.8 per cent of Finnish students admit to having copied from

books or other publications without giving a reference, this is constructed as

cheating. In the US and Canada, 3 % of undergraduate and 2 % of graduate

students are considered to be cheats because they admit to having obtained essays

from term-paper “mills” (McCabe, 2005a, Table 4). In this discourse, technology

is assigned a pivotal role and McCabe (2005b, p. 28) asserts that of the 51 per cent

US and Canadian students who admitted to having cheated on course work, four

out of five had done so by copy-and-pasting or downloading from the internet.

Writing and uncertainty

There hardly seems to be a case for arguing that student text does not overlap with

text from other authors. Estimates based on reports from trials with text

comparison software firmly establish such similarities and indicate that we can

expect to find sequences from other texts in as many as around 20 per cent of all

student essays (Braumoeller & Gaines, 2001; CAVAL collaborative solutions,

2002; Lancaster, 2005) depending on the threshold set for detection. There is

however strong support for the opinion that there may be other reasons for

similarities and overlaps than an intention to cheat. Insufficient knowledge about

the rules (Matalene, 1985), especially for electronic referencing (Gresham, 1996),

insufficient mastery of the subject to write about it in one’s own words (Howard,

1995), enculturation to different rules for using texts (Kirkland & Saunders, 1991)

relative to genre (Angelil-Carter, 2000), insufficient mastery of dialogue,

authorship and intertextuality (Thompson, 2002, 2005), unclear understanding of

ownership of texts, especially internet text (Park, 2003), all rank as explanations for

plagiarism but not for cheating.

Thus there are other ways of reasoning about overlaps and similarities that we

suggest are prominent in discourses on contemporary students. These students are

often described in connection with references to a changing society. There is also a

rhetoric about a more complex society (Luhmann, 1988, 2005); where a

progressive loss of tradition and social bonds influences the formation of personal

identity (Lupton 1999, p. 4); where uncertainty causes people to experience

anxiety (Salecl, 2004); forces them to take responsibility for their own lives (Rose,

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2


1999); and to calculate risks in order to manage uncertainty and reduce complexity

(Beck, 1992, Giddens, 2000; Bauman 2006). Trust becomes an important aspect

of dealing with such issues (Luhman, 2005) also for students attending different

forms of education (Biesta, 2002).

In rhetoric about contemporary and future students, these metaphorical

descriptions of society seldom take the form of dystopia. Dealing with vast

domains of information, locating information, valuing sources, providing

arguments and warrants, presenting unique insights, to give a few examples, are

presented as positive challenges (for an example, see Government Communication

1997/98:176). Nevertheless rhetoric about new societies, new technology, new

types of students and new challenges in education opens for another view of

student plagiarism. Säljö (2005, p. 211), for example, sees students’ coping

strategies, such as copy-and-paste, as responses to being forced into forms of

learning, working with types of assignments and information that they do not

master. Commenting on one aspect of being a student in an information society,

Säljö (2000, p. 242) argues that students’ exposure to the rapid increase in

information raises the important question of how you get from information to

knowledge and thus from a mode of learning focused on memorization to a mode

focused on transformation of information into knowledge. In such a perspective

notions about complexity, danger, uncertainty, risk and trust give reasons for

looking at plagiarism from another vantage point than that of cheating.

STUDYING PLAGIARISM AND CHEATING?

Research until recently has to a large extent been satisfied with generating

information about the number of students that cheat and reasons for and attitudes

towards cheating, thus contributing to normalization. Surprisingly enough, there

has hitherto been little research into a possible relationship between what it means

to be a student in an information society, learning to use networked technology

and write in genres that can be characterized as academic, and student plagiarism.

Socio-cultural theorists argue that students’ social, moral and cognitive

development will depend on the social practices they take part in and what material

artefacts they use (Cole, 1996; Säljö, 2005). Student morale in such a perspective is

mediated action and drawing on positioning theory their position as honest or

cheating students are mediated by the rights, duties and obligations they can be

considered to have in their local moral order. In positioning theory the interest lies

in the momentary positions people take up. These positions are approached

through the story lines people tell and the actions people perform. A student may

take it to be within his or her duty to use modern technology to download

information and reuse it by summarizing, paraphrasing and referencing it, but also

to have a right to try different ways of doing it and to fail. What kind of position

would that make available to the student in the moral order?

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3


Considering our interest in governance and the making up of people, we would

argue that this points us towards the relationship between on the one hand human

actions and on the other hand moral prescriptions and moral orders. This suggests

an interest in the relationship individuals ought to have with themselves and what

Foucault calls ethics (Hacking, 2002, p. 115). Foucault shifts the focus from how

we are constituted as subjects through how we are acted upon by other agents,

which he calls normalization, to how people constitute themselves as agents acting

on others. Studying how we turn ourselves into moral agents (in this case through

following certain rules for writing) would mean to take an interest in ethical

substance (Foucault, 2000b, p. 264). Students writing “research reports”, for

example, are bound to reason about how different actions in writing are linked to

different moral issues. Among these issues are what their teachers call plagiarism

and cheating. A second interest, according to Foucault, is the way in which people

are invited to recognize moral obligations, their mode of subjection (mode

d’assujettissement). Are these derived from a code for writing, perhaps in a written

instruction, inscribed in the design of software, or mediated through the voice of a

tutor? All are likely to produce insights about the need to put a reference at the end

of a text and contribute to what students take to be true about proper conduct.

The third concern is the means by which we turn ourselves into ethical subjects,

that which Foucault calls self-forming activity or asceticism (pratique de soi). How

do students go about turning themselves into writers who follow good practice? Do

they turn to guides or schedule sessions with their teachers or perhaps reason with

their peers about common difficulties? These practices are all part of how we

constitute ourselves in relation to ethics. There is a fourth aspect, which concerns

the goal or telos of these activities. Foucault describes this as an issue about what

kind of subject we aspire to be when we act according to a moral. For instance,

should the students become successful, skilled, professional or conforming?

Methodology and research design

Data have been drawn from material collected by the research projects ICT and

Learning in Teacher Training and Borrowed Feathers, funded by the Knowledge

Foundation through its research programme LearnIt and the Swedish Research

Council respectively. The collected material consists of field notes, student logs and

essays, and audio and video recordings.

Data have been prepared to facilitate what Jordan and Henderson (1995) call

Interaction Analysis. Since our interest includes the successive downloading of

information and work on texts by the screen, activities on the screen have been

recorded using screen-capturing software. Video feeds and screen captures have

been merged into one video (for a description see Linderoth, 2004, p. 102) and fed

into a programme named Transana for transcription and analysis. We have focused

on what students do when they work on assignments that have “research reports”

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4


as an end product, letting ourselves be guided by research that takes an interest in

human conduct, such as ethno methodology (Garfinkel, 1967 in Garfinkel &

Rawls, 2002; Eglin & Hester, 1999), situated learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991) and

a rhetorical approach to writing and literacy (Duffy, 2003). Instead of trying to

find out whether students copy-and-paste and whether this happens intentionally,

we have focused on situations where the use of other texts appears as a dilemma,

that is, where they provide reasons for and against different actions (Billig, 1997).

Repeating the claim from both socio-cultural and phenomenological

perspectives that plagiarism is contingent on culture and history, we would argue

that it is important to consider how students reason about writing and their use of

technologies.

The context

Data collection was conducted in two Swedish gymnasiums (high schools), one

private and one public. These gymnasiums are typical in the sense that they have

particular profiles evident through their programmes. They have a standard set of

office-type applications for managing and compiling information, working with

diagrams, graphs and pictures. None of the gymnasiums had installed special

applications to support tasks such as structuring and modelling, information

retrieval, transcription, analysis or presentation, but one of them subscribed to a

text comparison service that all projects were run through. There are school policies

on the use of technology that instruct students on their rights, duties and

obligations regarding the use of these resources.

One particular application, the Researcher, was installed by the research team in

order to study how students make use of software designed to support work with

project reports. Use of this software has been reported elsewhere (Nilsson, Eklöf &

Ottosson, 2005, 2006, 2007), suggesting that students make limited use of the

software. The Researcher does however surface in the present data in ways of

interest to this study. The Researcher is a plug-in used to collect and add

information from different sources. It has some features aimed at facilitating

correct referencing. The software keeps track of and stores information about

references added to a student project. Students can also add information,

comment, edit, link to other sources and make inclusions. Their raw reports can be

exported to a word processor for further editing. At the end of such a raw report a

reference list of all the sources used during the collection phase is included.

(Insert figure that show The Researcher, amendments and inserted

references.)

5

5


STUDENTS AT WORK WITH PROJECTS

Data used in this study were drawn from students’ work with project assignments.

The students attend the first, second and third/final year at gymnasium, and

project assignments where they choose a problem to research within a wider subject

area, gather information and compile a report, have been part of their way of

working since the first year. Shorter projects, at one of the schools generally oneweek

projects, are seen as part of a preparation for the 100 point/10-week project

mandatory in Swedish gymnasiums and carried out in the third year.

In one of the gymnasiums the method used to set up projects is called Problem

Based Learning but at the other no particular label is attached. Projects start with a

general introduction to the assignment from the teachers. Introductions include

information about the subject area, generally in a lecture format, and in shorter

projects students choose within a designated subject area. Students working on

their 100-point assignments are free to choose their own subject area. All students

are provided with a frame of work. There are instructions pertaining to the format

of the assignment; about how to formulate purposes and questions; how to carry

out searches; what kind of sources to use and how to value them, and rules about

how to write up reports, including rules for referencing. These instructions are also

provided as hand-outs. All students are required to hand in a plan for how to carry

out their assignments. This plan has to be approved by the teachers and upon

approval the students are assigned a tutor. Shorter projects may include only one

tutoring session whereas the 100-point project can include many sessions. These

sessions are organized around fixed topics such as writing up a background,

method and data collection or the writing up of the report. Students keep a log in

order to prepare for tutoring sessions. In these logs they record problems they

encounter, information they need to provide and other issues relevant to their

upcoming tutoring session. Final reports are handed in, but are also presented to

fellow students and discussed in seminar-like forums.

REASONING ABOUT WRITING RESEARCH REPORTS

In the first excerpt, Heidi, Arvid and Mats are searching the internet for

information about why and how people need to prepare for travel in space. The

students approach the issue using a variety of methods. They start by searching in

Google for NASA. They proceed searching directly in the NASA search engine for

answers to the question: “How do you survive in space?”. They alternate between

clicking on links and searching Google. All through the session they collect

information that they store in different directories reasoning about whether sources

can be used or not. We will focus on how they reason about a text that appears to

be a match.

6

6


Excerpt 1: Space – then it feels kind of as if I am taking his work

Heidi [skriver in ”krav för att bli

astronaut” i söktjänsten

Google]

Heidi Titta! Fan va bra. Källor också


[enters ”demands to become an

astronaut” in the search engine

Google]

Look! Shit how great. Sources

too. No.

Arvid Nä No.

Heidi Nä det vill jag inte No, I don’t want to.

Arvid Hmm Hmm

Heidi [med eftertryck] nej, det känns

som om jag tar hans arbete då

liksom lite så, Men annars

varför lägger han ut det på

Internet?

[with emphasis]No then it feels

kind of as if I am taking his

work. But if not why does he

publish it on the Internet?

Heidi Ok [Går vidare till nya sidor] Ok [Moves on to new pages]

Heidi Så blir du astronaut? [läser högt

från sidan]

Mats så blir du astronaut, plugga

mycke

Arvid Oj Ouch.

How you become an astronaut?

[reads aloud from the page]

How you become an astronaut.

Study hard.

Heidi enters the phrase “demands to become an astronaut” in Google and clicks on

the second link to a Word document. She immediately recognises this document as

of the same genre as the one the group is about to produce. Her comment: “Look!

Shit how great. Sources too”, indicates that it is a match. It has the type of

information they need and it also has a list of references. What is striking is the

rapidity with which they come to a decision. Heidi makes two claims about how

this decision can be warranted. First she claims that it would feel like taking

someone’s work. Then she claims that there must be a reason for publishing texts

on the internet. Through the speed of their reaction and their decision they exhibit

an understanding that some texts cannot be used.

The meaning of the action of refusing to use the text, linked to acts of

appropriation and issues of ownership, we take to be the ethical substance. In

discourse on plagiarism this text would be a candidate for students to download

and hand in as their own, a ready-to-hand-in essays just a mouse click away (Auer

& Krupar, 2001, p. 415). The reason stated by many authors would be that the

Napster generation (Barbrook, 2002) does not acknowledge intellectual property

rights, or as Wood (2004, p. 238) argues, they “believe firmly that they are moral,

honest and ethical people” but just do not see plagiarism as stealing, particularly

7

7


not if that which they take is taken from the internet. Students often make small

changes and hand in the text as their own (Alexandersson & Limberg, 2005). They

also make summaries and reference texts in ways they believe to be acceptable

(Pecorari, 2003). The students in this session, however, do not appear to consider

it correct to use this text at all. Heidi’s comment about publishing on the internet

suggests that it is not the danger of violating the author’s copyright that is their

concern. In discourses on academic writing this would be a danger if the text was

used without attribution. Academic codes of ethical conduct however state that

texts can be used as long as they are treated according to the rules for borrowing

others’ texts. In such a perspective the text would at least be a candidate for tapping

of facts, quoting ideas, discussing ideas and opinions, and its sources a point of

departure towards further information.

The students however agree that this is not a text that can be used. So the

students neither take up a position as plagiarists and cheats nor skilled academic

writers. Without consulting each other or exchanging a glance they echo, “No”.

Only thereafter Heidi provides insights to their reaction suggesting that it has

something to do with emotions. Her words are uttered with strong emphasis on

“No”. She argues: “ It feels kind of as if I am taking his work”. She positions

somebody as the owner of the text and expresses as her emotion that using his work

would feel like taking what is his. She does not refer to violation of copyright.

Instead she expresses feelings about what kind of act they would perform. It would

feel like taking somebody else’s work. That is her mode of subjection and it is

consistent with their instructions. Among the reasons provided for referencing is

the argument: “How would you feel if somebody took your text and did not

reference it?”. The means by which Heidi turns herself into an ethical subject is

emotional. The code for writing up assignments invites her to have feelings about

the use of other texts and these feelings about right and wrong are the only

arguments provided for discarding the source. Rather then engaging in

deliberations about their rights and duties as writers to use the text, they resort to

emotional discourse about respect for others’ feelings.

In the second excerpt the same students are troubled by the relationship between

summary, quotation and plagiarism. We will first focus on the sudden entry of this

issue and what brings it about.

Excerpt 2 Space: if it was not a quote it was still a quote

Heidi Vi kanske skall skriva att det är

NASA vi tar det ifrån. [Klipper

in adressen

http://lsdajsc.nasa.gov/docs/kid

s/questions/question.cfm]

8

Maybe we should write that we

have taken it from NASA

[pastes the address

http://lsdajsc.nasa.gov/docs/kid

s/questions/question.cfm into

the text]

Heidi [Skrattar] Kids Questions [Laughs] Kids’ Questions

8


[skrattar] oh de [Laughs] oh them

Arvid Men det är ärliga svar ju But they are honest answers

aren’t they

Heidi Det är svåra svar, på engelskan

också

Heidi Sen får vi väl göra det som typ

ett ett referat att man markerar

all fakta och sen så så skriver

man om det på sitt eget sätt. På

min gamla skola så räckte det

med att man bara ändrade varje

mening men man hade typ

samma fakta. Så så har jag gjort

hela tiden

9

They are difficult answers and

in English too

Then we have to do it as a

summary that you mark all

facts and then write it your

own way. In my old school it

was enough just to change

every sentence but keep the

same facts. That, that is how I

have done all the time.

Arvid Så har jag också gjort I have done that too.

Heidi Så jag är inte alls van vid så

som Elin så jag blev ju så här

där på den. Typ nästan alla i

klassen blev där. Skrev hon

plagiat på

Mats Ja Yes

Heidi Det hade ju ingen ingen

förstod ju tog man direkt ur

texten även om det inte var ett

citat så var det ändå ett citat.

Det visste inte jag. Det tycker

jag hon kunde

Arvid Jag tog typ vad säger man fem

meningar utan att det stod

nånting om läkaren. Så skrev

jag av det. Hon bara, plagiat

direkt. En hel text för fan. Vi

har ju inte vi har ju skrivit om

va fan

Mats Nu är ju kameran på så sitter vi

bara här och snackar skit

So I’m not at all used to like

Elin so I was like here at this.

Like almost everybody in the

class was. She wrote plagiarism

on.

Nobody had. Nobody

understood that if you took

something directly from a text

even if it was not a quote it was

still a quote. I didn’t know

that. I think she could have...

I took like, what do you say,

five, six sentences without

writing anything about the

doctor. Then I wrote that. She

just [wrote], “plagiarism”.

Directly, a whole bloody text.

We haven’t... we have written

about it. Shit!

Now it’s this with the camera,

it’s on. And we are just talking

nonsense.

9


Heidi, Mats and Arvid spend considerable time searching the internet for facts that

can help them answer the question: “How do you survive in space?”. They collect

facts and store them in directories they prepare for this particular purpose. Heidi

points out that they need to write that NASA is their source, an action that is

required by their instructions but is accepted with further deliberations. She

proceeds by entering the link to the page she has used when she recognizes that it is

a page labelled “Kids’ Questions”. The meaning of the actions to mark facts,

summarize texts and add references linked to acts of plagiarism we take to be the

ethical substance. Their quick decision does not escape deliberations and there are

things that trouble them. Two claims provide insights to their dilemma. Arvid

claims that there is a difference between Kids’ Questions and expert answers. He

points to a particular of their source, retorting that “But they are honest answers

aren’t they”. Heidi adds that the answers are difficult and that they are written in

English and hard for them to understand, echoing arguments present in a number

of studies (Boden & Holloway, 2005; Myers, 1998; Shi, 2004; Warschauer, 2000).

Furthermore, their instructions do not recommend using sources below their own

educational level or using secondary sources. One way to understand this passage

then is to look at it as an example of the trouble Swedish students’ encounter when

they deal with information that has not been prepared especially for them, a

difficulty that has become prominent with the event of the internet. What they

take to be true is that information written on a children’s page but by an expert on

space matters may still be acceptable because the answers “are honest”.

Heidi suggests that the correct procedure is to mark all the facts and then make

a summary of the information. This action is directly modelled on the instructions

handed to the students. This is what a moral student would do. Rather then to

engage in reasoning about how to construct an original text relevant to the

production of texts representative of the “research report” genre, she resorts to rules

of thumb for transforming texts. Eventually she also makes relevant the danger of

being failed for plagiarism, establishing a new link. Their following reasoning

reveals the difficulties the students find in understanding what constitutes the

difference between quotations, summaries and plagiarism. Evidence about students

experiencing this type of difficulty can be found documented as early as in 1975

(Brown, 1975). Heidi’s story line illustrates contingencies in students’ experiences

of how plagiarism is dealt with in different schools. Heidi claims that at her old

school it was allowed for them to reuse texts and only make minor changes to the

sentences. At this school there is a different code she needs to follow. She is

expected to write a new text using only facts from the old text. Arvid confirms that

he too has compiled reports by making minor changes. They account for how the

new code has been internalized. They have experienced being accused of plagiarism

because they have left too much of the original in their text. Five sentences from

another text have caused their teacher Elin to claim that they have plagiarized.

10

10


Crucial to the students’ understanding of plagiarism is their reasoning about

ownership, authorship, summaries and quotes. Heidi makes a remark suggesting

that the fact that texts were overlapping was not her way of making sense of what it

means to quote. She claims that none of the students understood. They are

however incited to recognise it as a moral obligation to use quotation marks and

references when texts overlap. This is done through written and oral instructions,

but also through essays being failed. These instructions provided codes guiding

their actions but could not secure their understanding. What the students

experienced at this new school was that: “that if you took something directly from

a text even if it was not a quote it was still a quote I didn’t know that”. To Heidi

whether a text should be categorized as her own text, a summary or a quote

apparently does not have to do with the overlap.

If intent is action under a description, one way to understand her reasoning

would seem to be that it is not taking something directly from a text that

constitutes quoting. It is to include text with the explicit purpose of making use of

this text to refer to a person. Then the text counts as a quotation to be treated as

such. It is under this description that she could be accused of plagiarism (and

possibly cheating) should she fail to quote and reference. The other type of

understanding she exhibits is that it is not a quote if you just summarize the text

using facts and parts of its structure, overlapping parts are not quotes and it is

sufficient only to include the source in the list of references. Still it is the voice of

Elin that counts. Quotes are quotes and it does not matter whether they actually

point to a particular author they refer to or just to a text. What matters is if there is

an overlap and they have experienced that such an overlap can result in a failed

assignment. Students train themselves during writing, not only about writing but

what it means to be a particular type of writer, one who knows when to quote and

when not to, and their deliberations during their peer group session provide partial

answers to such questions, making it possible for them to go on with their work.

Rasmus, Eva and Stina are editing their text. While Eva and Stina are working

on the text by the computer, Rasmus is proof-reading sitting by a bench in close

proximity to the others. He suddenly intervenes and expresses doubts about

whether their treatment of information is ethical. In the third excerpt we will focus

on students’ reasoning about authorship and voice.

Excerpt 3 Holocaust: Are we actually allowed to have this included here?

Rasm

us

Rasmus: Öm. Vet du vad jag

kom att tänka på nu?

Eva Nej No

Stina Nej No

Rasm

us

Får vi egentligen ha med det

här? Det är ju egna tankar ju,

eller som vi har skrivit här står

11

Uhm. Do you know what I

came to think of now?

Are we actually allowed to have

this included here? These are

our own thoughts or like what

11


ju inte med i “Om detta må ni

berätta”. Det med att tolv

procent av Sveriges nuvarande

befolkning. Får man ha med

det?

Stina Ja Yes

Eva Alltså det är ju bara att vi har

gjort om det till en siffra

Rasm

us

Ja Yes

12

we have written here is not a

part of “Tell ye your children”.

This - with twelve percent of

the present Swedish

population. Can we include

that?

You know this is only that we

have converted it to a number

Eva Alltså ett, ett de ej ju One, you see, one it is

Rasm

us

Bara för att det är lättare att

förstå hur mycket det är.

Liksom alltså så det är ju tolv

procent av Sveriges nuvarande

befolkning, Det är ju sjukt

mycket.

Eva Mmm, det Mmm, it...

Rasm

us

Jag är tveksam till om vi får ha

det?

Just because it is easier to

understand how much it is.

Like, you know, we have

twelve per cent of the present

Swedish population. That is

just crazy.

I’m doubtful about whether we

can have that

Eva Så se [Läser tyst från pappret] Look here [Reads quietly from

the paper]

Stina Det borde ju gå vi har bara It ought to work if we have regjort

om det, men

made it.

Rasm

us

Ja Yes

Eva Ja Men det kan vi ju ha med i Yes. But we can include it in

analysen i så fall.

the analysis anyway.

Rasm

us

Ja Yes

Stina Mmm Mmm

Rasm För jag är nästan säker på att vi Because I’m almost certain we

us inte får ha med det

can’t include it.

Stina Ja Yes

Rasmus points to a section of the text, asking whether what they have written can

really be included. His concern is that this particular text is “our own thoughts”.

What counts as their thoughts? How much will it take to turn a text that correctly

12


signals the voice of different authors into one with a poor treatment of voice? The

meaning of the action of inserting smiley’s or in other way changing the text of

another author linked to the acts of plagiarism and fabrication we take to be the

ethical substance. In studies on plagiarism more attention is paid to the number of

sentences included without a quote than to students’ own insertions into

summaries and paraphrases made of other people’s texts (for examples of what may

count as plagiarism, see Gresham, 1996; Clough, 2003; Mallon, 2001; Pecorari,

2003) Rasmus objects to the insertion of their examples in a paraphrase. He

exhibits an understanding of paraphrasing as an act characterized by the fact that

the idea and content of the used and referenced text remains intact. If what they

have written is not really a part of the source they have cited it cannot be included.

The students start reasoning about how much they can change a source and still

claim it is the original source. Stina does not appear to see the inclusion as against

any rule. Eva argues that they have only changed something into a number.

Rasmus elaborates on what it is that they have done. He presents the merits of their

change from the point of readability. They have provided information about how

the number of people in camps would translate into a ratio of the present Swedish

population, but he is doubtful about whether they can use it in their paraphrase

and turns to his papers for support. Since this is just to make it more readable,

Stina maintains that they can use it. Eva contributes with an interesting remark

that points to another understanding of how students may include their own

thoughts in their reports. If they cannot use their example in here, they can recycle

it and use it in their analysis. Now the question of paraphrasing is left out. Instead

the concern is where in a report they are allowed to speak in their own voice. This

is the kind of remark that has a ring of policy statements and instructions about

students’ written work. They present a compartmentalized view of academic texts.

These are seen as consisting of sections with text that express other authors’ results

quoted, paraphrased or summed up and sections of student text where the students

are free to express their ideas, views and examples. The students do not have any

instructions that tell them who can speak in the different sections. Instructions for

the next level, however, tell the students that the results part must be based only on

facts. In the section containing their discussion, on the other hand, they must

present their conclusions and can choose to do that in a such a way that they make

room for personal reflection.

Whether it is instructions that Rasmus points to when, after consulting his

papers, he upgrades his doubt to being “almost certain” is unclear, but Eva’s

suggestion: “Yes. But we can include it in the analysis anyway” strengthens this

case. They cannot include the text where they have placed it. The students go to

considerable trouble to make sure that they follow instructions at the expense of

engaging in discussions about originality, quality and what makes a text unique.

This is the mode of subjection. We have however once again made note of how

instructions mediate students work with “research reports”. Facing what appears to

13

13


e a genuinely difficult question, how to avoid plagiarism and fabrication and at

the same time present an original work, the students engage in a self-forming

activity. They steer away from what we take to be a more advanced way of

expressing voice towards rules of thumb for keeping texts apart. They evidently

place a considerable trust in instruction but need to reason about its content.

Calculating the risks, they decide not to use their text before discussing it with

their tutor. They mark it with a cross and annotate it in order not to forget. Rules

of thumb, though not sufficient to eliminate danger for them in the present

situation, evidently reduce complexity, but also seem to reduce their ability to

produce original texts.

Ken and Mike use the Researcher, a software designed to help them keep track

of their sources. They use the possibility to edit and we will focus on a sequence

involving reasoning about this feature.

Excerpt 4 Industrialism: but you’re not supposed to rip it straight off

Ken Du kan ju använda dom. Vi

har ju fått en massa bra häften.

risken med en sån här grej kan

inte det vara att man går in och

Mike Kopierar Copies

Ken nä men att du går in här och

sen så står det ju liksom var det

kommer ifrån här [pekar på

referenserna]

Mike Ja Yes

Ken och så skriver du in någonting

här [pekar på en plats i texten]

14

You can use them. We have

been given a lot of good

booklets. The danger with an

application of this kind, can’t it

be that you enter and...

No but that you enter here and

then it says here where it’s from

[points to references]

and then you write something

here [points to a place in the

text]

Mike Ja Yes

Ken Mitt i in the middle...

Mike Ja men då Yes but then...

Ken Av texten of the text

Mike men helt plötsligt inte är det

inte därför

Ken Ja exakt Yes exactly

Mike Men det är ju inte meningen

att du ska ta det rakt av utan

det här är som ett referat inte

som ett referat det här är som

but then suddenly it’s not

because...

but you’re not supposed to rip

it straight off. This is just kind

of, kind of a summary not a

summary, it’s like citing a

14


en källhänvisning source

Ken Ja okej Yes okay yes

Mike så att so then

Ken Sen skriver du then you write

Mike Det är it is

Ken Mer More

Mike liksom härifrån it is like from here

Ken Ja Yes

Ken argues that they can use printed matter instead of the internet. The booklets

have been given to them by their teachers so it seems reasonable that they are good

and contain material that is useful to their purpose. Mike is using the editor to

insert comments about material from internet sites that they have added to their

project. The meaning of the action of editing imported information linked to acts

of plagiarism and fabrication we take to be the ethical substance. Ken starts talking

about what he perceives to be a danger with the Researcher. He has only started to

voice his concern when Mike second guesses him, suggesting he is talking about

copying material. Ken explains, demonstrating through pointing to different

sections of the screen, that Mike uses the editor to enter into the middle of the text

and that the Researcher automatically adds a reference below the text. Could it not

be interpreted as if the inserted text has been written by the referenced author? The

situation is similar to the one encountered by Rasmus, Eva and Stina. How do you

make sure that you signal who is the author? They are encouraged to follow rules

for presentation of voice through their instruction. Ken argues that you are not

supposed to “rip it straight off”. Texts are to be worked on. They are not quoted

directly. So the texts can be seen as summaries. Ken and Mike exhibit an

understanding that it matters what is done to a text when it is followed by a

reference. It is unclear what incites them to take up that moral position. Ken

expresses worries that there is a danger that what they insert will appear to be

written by the author automatically referenced by the Researcher. Using the editing

feature will then cause them to mislead readers. The design of the Researcher

conflicts with his reasoning about references. To Mike the automatic reference

appears to be a pointer to a source they have used. The text is to be worked on

further, perhaps turned into a summary. It seems to be fully transparent to both

students what the Researcher does, but not in terms of how it will influence their

text. The concerns expressed by Ken can be described as worries that they will

fabricate. Mike instead treats the whole text with amendments and footnotes as a

referent pointing to different sources. They engage in a self-forming activity

15

15


mediated by interface design. There is reason to question whether their rules of

thumb are provided by the interface. Pointing, dragging, dropping and clicking

supplement their reasoning about how to keep track of authorship and in the end

they agree that as long as they see the report as drafts to be worked on later they are

not in danger of confusing authorship.

Svea and Kia are talking to their tutor about referencing sources. Present also is

Anders, a member of the research team. Svea and Kia spend considerable time

reasoning about when and how to reference texts without demonstrating that they

grasp the rules. The meaning of the action of inserting references linked to the act

of appropriation and ownership we take to be the ethical substance. We will focus

here on a short sequence that we believe illustrates problems with what should be

considered to be intertext and how and when the notion of intertext influences

referencing.

Excerpt 5 Tutoring: I mean who should you write that it is?

Svea Men sen så blir det ju lite så att

ibland kan man ju från sig själv

också och då måste man ju

skriva, alltså vem skall man då

skriva att det är.

Kia Om kolhydrater är en bra

energikälla skall jag då? Det

läser jag ju i tio böcker,

dessutom vet jag det redan

16

But then it gets, it gets so that

sometimes you know from

yourself too and then you need

to write. I mean who should

you write that it is?

If carbohydrates is a good

source of energy should I...

then I read that in ten sources

plus I already know...

T Nej men då behöver du ju inte No but then you don’t need to

Kia Nej No

Ander

s

Normalt Normally

Kia Det blir ju liksom lite svårt där It gets kind of difficult there

Ander

s

Normalt säger man ju att det

som kan beräknas som

allmänkunskap behöver man ju

inte referera till. Och

allmänkunskapen ser ju olika

ut beroende på vem man

skriver för och så

Kia Ja det gör den Yes it does

T Men ni har läst ganska mycket

också så det beror ju också på

vilken mål målgruppen, så det

behöver ni ju inte ha med hela

Normally you say that what

can be counted as common

knowledge does not need to be

referenced. And common

knowledge looks to be different

depending on who you are

writing for and so...

But you have read a lot too so

it depends on what target, the

target group, so that you don’t

need to include all the time if

16


tiden om det är kända fakta. they are already known facts

Kia Nej No

Svea Nej No

Svea wonders what to do when you write texts and build on things you already

know. She describes them as coming from herself and declares that she is uncertain

about who to attribute in such a situation and how to write. She seems to be

approaching authorship just as Rasmus, Eva, Stina, Ken and Mike, but from the

perspective of intertext. Kia illustrates, claiming as a fact that carbohydrates are a

good source of energy and that this fact can be found in most sources they read and

also that they already know it. The rules invite them to treat references as

something troubling. Here they engage in a self-forming activity where they use log

books much as Foucault demonstrates that ancient people used Hupomnemata

(notebooks or aide-memoires)(Foucault, 2000c, p. 209) combined with seeking

advice from tutors. The tutor provides a simple answer, saying that they do not

need to reference. At this point Anders tries to intervene but Kia interrupts stating

that it is difficult. Anders picks up on Kia’s description of the problem and

introduces the problem of common knowledge and starts to elaborate on what

common knowledge might be. He does not second the tutor’s statement that they

should not need to reference. Instead he elaborates on how to treat texts that can

be described as common knowledge. That common knowledge does not need to be

referenced is presented as the generic rule. Then he particularizes common

knowledge as something relative to the readers. Kia accepts this but the tutor

makes a comment suggesting that it is both relative to their reading and what is

known to the target group. She indicates that their fellow students is the target and

gives the advice: “You don’t need to include all the time if they are already

known”. Svea and Kia confirm this and focus is shifted towards other referencing

issues. The possible difference between Svea’s notion of something that comes from

yourself and that which you already know and can be found in most textbooks is

not commented on.

What is at stake here is correct referencing. Common knowledge is sometimes

presented as difficult for students to come to terms with (Whitaker, 1993, p. 192)

causing students to “stumble toward plagiarism”. In university and school policies

and help pages on the internet, one finds generic descriptions such as that which

can be found in Encyclopedia Britannica, or in the case of these Swedish students,

Bra Böckers Lexikon, can be considered to be common knowledge. Such statements,

however, are sometimes qualified with the advice that “when in doubt, cite”

17

17


(Princeton University: Not so common) or as in the case of Guelph University,

“When in doubt, check with your TA or professor” (University of Guelph:

Fastfacts ). What is notable in the students’ reasoning here, however, is that two

issues seem to be confounded. The first has to do with voice and the question of

how to express that which comes from yourself, that which you think you know

and have not taken directly from a source. The second issue concerns that which

belongs to us all. The first issue is rapidly turned into the other and Svea does not

attempt to reformulate her initial question. The mode of subjection apparently

consists of rules for writing derived from “academic writing”. Student instructions

state that they need to reference each time they include information from other

sources if it is not common knowledge. Various different reasons for referencing

can be found in university policies. We cite because of copyright rules. We cite

because we want to pay tribute to the author. We cite to help others find the

source if they want to check on it. We do not give a reference when something is

considered to be common knowledge. Svea’s initial question can be understood as:

“If I already know the facts do I still have to find somebody who’s voice I can

use?”. In the following sequence, however, it is whether they are required to

include a reference or not if it is common knowledge that is the topic. What is left

out are other possible reasons for deciding to include or exclude a reference. The

idea that references to other authors also serve the purpose of validating positions

and results is left out. The idea that excessive citation signals poor grasp of the

subject area is also left out. The kind of understanding the students accept as a

basis for proceeding is of the type we have repeatedly called rules of thumb. This

implies that issues of voice, validity, over citation and such can be reduced to a

question of what is common knowledge. What the students can deem to be

common knowledge once they have taken their own knowledge and the knowledge

of the target group into account need not be referenced. In all other cases they

should reference. This seems to be quite a complex thing to untangle and yet they

are left without an answer to Svea’s question pointing towards how to be an

original writer.

DISCUSSION

Drawing on this account of students’ reasoning, we can now turn to a discussion

about making up people, more specifically, about how they constitute themselves

as moral agents and take up positions as particular kinds of students. The most

important issue here is whether students’ reasoning about writing make a case for

constructing plagiarism as cheating (and positioning students as cheats) or whether

it points towards conceptualizing plagiarism as a difficulty students meet when

they attempt to write “research reports” (positioning them as learners or novice

writers). First we will concentrate on students’ reasoning about ethical substance

and what they hold to be true. Then we will turn to technologies to deal with these

18

18


worries. Finally we will confront the issue of making up people and the

construction of plagiarizing students as cheats against the backdrop of discourses

on a changing society.

The ethical substance of student reasoning on plagiarism

In research on plagiarism, a number of practices are presented as plagiarism.

Academic organizations express worries about these practices. These worries

concern students who are buying, borrowing and downloading papers, what

Howard (2000, p. 475) calls fraud. They also concern the patching together of

texts, poor paraphrasing, or summarizing, leading to repetition and similarities.

Finally they concern students who are leaving out in-text citations, failing to

reference what has been added from other sources, misplacing citations and are

having other difficulties with attribution, leading to what Howard calls insufficient

citation.

What should we make of the examples from our results? We argue that students

engage in reasoning about what they have a right to do, a duty to do and what

obligations they may have undertaken as students. In that process they link actions

to acts. Together they form what Foucault (2000b) calls the ethical substance of

their talk. What the students treat as difficulties run parallel to what a number of

studies link as student actions, such as copying and insufficient citation, to the act

of cheating, sometimes via the act of plagiarism (for example see Bates, Davies,

Murphy & Bone, 2005; Björklund & Wenestam, 1999; Newstead & Franklyn-

Stokes, 1996; Sheard, Dick, & Markham, 2003). Ashworth and Bannister (1997)

and Ashworth, Freewood and MacDonald (2003) establish another type of link.

They suggest that there is a difference between what plagiarism is in research as

well as in many other organizational contexts, and what it is in a student’s life

world. Our data clearly establish still another link. They illustrate that students are

troubled by the use of other people’s texts, the use of voice, and the placement of

references, to take but some examples. These are practical concerns to them and

the solutions they reach may have an impact on their grades. There are also ethical

concerns constituting an ethical substance. How should they go about their writing

if they want to follow the rules of their particular moral order turning into a

particular moral agent?

There is one major difference compared with the findings of Ashworth and

colleagues. What is noticeable in our data is that students rarely use the word

“plagiarism” when they reason about how to write, and they never talk about

cheating. Contrary to Ashworth and colleagues, we have not asked students to talk

about any particular issue. Their discussion as they work on their projects range

from their new hair-cut to the use of a particular source; only occasionally does the

concept of plagiarism arise and turn into a topic. It is treated as something one

should steer away from, but to a greater extent, the actions that are defined as

19

19


plagiarism in much research are treated as difficulties to overcome in writing. We

take this as an indication that plagiarism and cheating is less of a problem for

students learning to write in this particular genre.

Student subjectivation and self-forming activities

What invites or incites students to follow rules for working in academic genres?

Foucault (2000b, p. 264) glosses the issue, mentioning a number of possibilities

such as divine law, natural law, rational rule, or an attempt to give our existence a

more beautiful form. There are a number of approaches to this issue in discourses

on cheating in research. Laws and rules are frequently mentioned as factors that

guide student action and students are usually reported to think that these should be

followed (Baird, 1980; Newstead, Franklyn-Stokes & Armstead, 1996; Hult &

Hult, 2002). Rules may, on the other hand, be considered to be situational

(McCabe, 1992) and students to be treating them as guidelines rather than as

absolutes (Norris & Dodder, 1979). Sometimes cheating is also treated as actions

supported by a counter-culture (Horowitz, 1987). Following that line of reasoning,

what invites students to follow rules might as well be something else than national

laws or organizational rules and what invites them to break them may well be

applications of law.

When our senior high school students write “research reports” they are expected

to or required to follow some rules common in course work at an academic level.

This is so regardless of the fact that knowledge about academic writing only

appears as a goal in Swedish C, a compulsory course in Swedish senior high

schools. There are local instructions with requirements that are modelled on the

goals for academic writing. Most of the time during the writing process these

instructions are kept close to hand, and utterances such as that they are pretty sure

they cannot include that text, that a particular source need or need not be

referenced, that in-text references are needed or not, are discussed with the

instructions readily available. As can be seen, these rules are seldom treated as

moral absolutes, but they do not seem to be situational as McCabe (1993) suggests.

Students turn to a number of sources in order to get a second opinion. Teachers,

especially tutors, are trusted sources. Miller and Parlett (1974, p. 52) described

how students preparing for or working on examinations button-holed staff seeking

clues for their examinations. This type of activity obviously works also when

students write research reports. Now it is supported by their learning environment.

Normally, when students remain unsure about the way to solve a difficulty after

consulting their instructions, their peers, their relatives or their internet contacts,

they mark their texts and their sources and jot down questions in their mandatory

logs. These are discussed in the mandatory tutoring sessions or on other occasions.

From what we can see, these deliberations seldom direct students towards what we

believe to be the core of academic writing. When students find quick answers they

20

20


usually refer to rules of the type we have called rules of thumb, and the same is true

when they remain uncertain. This way we take it they reduce uncertainty.

The cheat, the plagiarist and the damned elusive academic

writer

We now turn to the categorization of students as plagiarists and cheats and what

other positions might be available to them. Categories play an important part in

what Popkewitz (1998) calls populational reasoning. Above we have cited some

examples of how statistics have been used as a means to describe a particular

category of students called cheats. Foucault (1998, p. 139) argues that these

descriptions support a particular form of politics, biopolitics and anatomo-politics

aimed at governing people. We have followed another interest shared with

Foucault (2000b) – how people turn themselves into moral agents, or in terms of

positioning theory, how they position themselves. By what right do we call these

moral agents for plagiarists and cheats?

In a socio-cultural perspective student activities are contingent on culture and

history. The notion that society is becoming more complex is common in many

discourses about modern society (Beck, 1992; Giddens, 2000), including

discourses about learning in an information and knowledge society (Bereiter, 2002;

Brown & Duguid, 2000; Postman, 1996; Warschauer, 2007). The notion that

technology is changing the way we learn is a part of these discourses. Technology is

often considered to incite and invite students to plagiarize. Computers, the internet

and particular software are heavily used by the students in our study. There is

however little that suggests that technology determines the actions of our students.

We find a stronger support for the influence of other voices. Students use search

services on the internet to find information that they download, but they lean

heavily on their instructions to guide their use and their teachers to support their

decisions.

Luhman (1988, p. 105), writing early about the increasing complexity of

society, asserted that it was characterized by “unmanageable uncertainty”. Our data

demonstrate the complexity of writing research reports and students’ reasoning

about these complexities. A number of studies report such difficulties, but use

them to provide reasons for student cheating. In our study, however, students

position themselves as honest and hardworking individuals trying to find solutions

to complex problems rather than as individuals with little respect for academic

rules for writing. In Luhman’s view, complexity can be reduced by such means as

calculation of risks and by placing trust. Students’ reasoning about how to work

with texts may thus be viewed as attempts at reducing complexity by managing the

unmanageable. There are several indications in our material that students try to

come to terms with matters for which they do not have an answer. In fact almost

all talk about how to write up their assignments revolve around issues where they

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are uncertain about the acceptable way to solve issues, such as whether to use

sources and how to use them in a proper manner, coming to terms with the truth

about what it means to write “research reports”.

In a similar manner, students are considered to calculate risk and make rational

choices about cheating. In studies on cheating and plagiarism, theories of deviance,

notably rational choice theories, and planned behaviour are often considered. Beck

and Ajzen (1991) suggest that planned behaviour can account for cheating but

several studies indicate that students will cheat if they can get away with it (Beck &

Ajzen, 1991; Björklund & Wenestam, 1999; Michaels & Miethe, 1989). Fear of

getting caught, on the other hand, is an important deterrent (Bennet, 2005;

Savage, 2004). A noticeable thing about the Swedish school system, as opposed to

the Swedish academic system and many other school systems, is that there are no

formal rules against cheating and plagiarism. Yet students in our study spend

considerable amounts of time decoding rules in a manner that suggests that they

“see” dangers and calculate risk. From their reasoning, we can understand that

there are dangers. Students share experiences about papers that have been failed

because their teacher thought they had plagiarized. Being failed, however, should

not necessarily be conceived of as disciplinary action, and we should not infer that

such an action from the teachers means that they see the student as a cheat. It is

also not clear from our material whether students see this as a punishment for

cheating or as an assessment of their ability to write reports. It does, however, force

them to take the danger of being failed for plagiarism into account.

In our material, students sometimes talk about including material without

referencing suggesting that it will probably go unnoticed. This, however, is not the

common view. Instead they are cue conscientious and spend considerable time

reasoning about how to reduce the danger of being failed. They turn to different

sources that may provide solutions to their difficulties, but also discuss whether

such calls for help may lower their grades. What should we make of their attempts?

Biesta (2002) asks in a criticism of the new language of learning how we “should

understand the educational relationship, i.e., the interaction between the teacher

and the students” (p. 10). He asserts that education cannot promise any particular

result. Instead the relationship must build on trust, violence and responsibility. In

learning there is always a danger, for instance as has been illustrated through our

data, that students might not make sense of the rules for writing precisely in the

way intended by written instructions, tutor instruction or for that matter rules

designed into material artefacts. Biesta asks why risk and trust are connected and

answers: “Basically because trust is about those situations in which you do not

know and cannot know what will happen” (p. 11). He suggests, much as we find,

that trust must be a mutual relationship. Considering our data, we find that line of

reasoning interesting. Biesta also asserts that violence and responsibility must be a

part of the relationship. Being a writer in education in such perspective implies a

mutual commitment to the duty of enduring violence and taking on responsibility

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while at the same time being able to rely on trust and responsibility as being

mutual. Drawing on Levinas he speaks of the violence involved in coming into

presence, in our material, to constitute oneself as an original, excellent writer

mastering “academic writing”. There is a danger we have hinted at. A narrow focus

on rules for summarizing, paraphrasing, quoting and writing references may cause

teachers to produce rules of thumb. Students searching for that damned elusive

academic writer may lose track and revert to cue seeking and following these rules.

That is certainly what the student in our introductory quote was doing, turning

what’s good into the enemy of the best.

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STUDIE 2B

ADAPTATION TO GENRE

- On Instructions, Text, Work and Risk.

Lars-Erik Nilsson, Anders Eklöf & Torgny Ottosson Kristianstad University 1

Introduction

Working on your own, without close teacher supervision is a mode of work that is

increasing in compulsory education and commonly used when pupils carry out

graded assignments (Fors & Lindskog, 2007; N.-E. Nilsson, 2004; Österlind,

1998, 2005). In a Swedish setting this mode is often referred to as “eget arbete”

(henceforth own work). In this mode pupils may work individually. Sometimes

however pupils work in groups and own seem to suggest working without close

teacher supervision rather than working as single individuals. The product of own

work is often some kind of oral or written report or a combination, such as for

example an oral presentation of a multi-media production. The pupils are

supposed to regulate their work and show independence in their choice of

problems to investigate, their choice of methods, their use and valuation of

information, and to show originality in their product.

Efforts to develop pupils’ competence to carry out work on their own, whether

as a single individual or as a member of a group, aligns well with objectives in

contemporary policies on education. These are abilities considered to be needed in

a late-modern (digital/information/knowledge) society (Dovemark, 2004; OECD,

2007, 2009; Prensky, 2009). A widely-held view is that work in such societies is

carried out independently but in collaboration. In Sites (Law, Pelgrum, Plomp, &

International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement., 2008)

this view is presented as a move in policies from a Traditional Orientation on

learning towards a Lifelong Learning, or with respect to technology towards a

Connectedness Orientation.

From another standpoint pupils’ own work is considered as a threat to learning.

There is a political controversy in Sweden about connections between students’

1 Eklöf, A., Nilsson, L. E., & Ottosson, T. (2009). Adaptation to genre - On

instructions, text, work and risk. . Paper presented at the 13th Biennial Conference

of the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI).

1

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own work and the quality of education, emanating from reports about diminishing

results in international tests like PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS. (Cresswell &

Vayssettes, 2006; Mullis, Martin, & Foy, 2007; Mullis, Martin, Kennedy, & Foy,

2007) A working mode where the pupils move more freely and use the

connectedness of a modern society can be viewed as chaotic and superficial. It can

be regarded as a mode where the teachers have abjured parts of their traditional

control or have emphasized learning to learn rather then learning disciplinary

content. Such arguments have been used to explain the (supposed) decrease for

Swedish pupils in international comparisons. Own work thus seem to introduce a

dilemma. Even if we accept that competencies to carry out own work are

important to train in a late modern society, this training may have a negative

impact on how well pupils reach other goals.

Much of the political discussion about pupils’ self regulated work draws on

results from large international studies like PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS. It is implied

that what is measured in these studies gives a fair representation of what is learnt

during “own work”. The results of these working methods however need to be

studied in their own right. The organisation of this mode of work may well result

in an increased distance between pupils and teachers that needs to be overcome

(Eklöf, Nilsson & Svensson, 2009), but the effects of such a gap has to be

scrutinized. Students may for example form epistemic communities that involve

other experts to compensate for teacher absence.

One way for teachers to deal with own work can be to put more work into the

design of instructions that guide the pupils. Instructions are believed to be

transparent to fill the gap as substitute for teachers. However, it has been noticed

that pupils use more and more time trying to make sense of and align their work to

instructions teachers give them. (Vinterek, 2006; Öquist, 2005). Following

instructions appears to invite students to a particular form of learning, but work

carried out by pupils during own work is not open to inspection. A consequence of

own work then appears to be that teachers have difficulties to follow and supervise

an important part of the learning process, hence to assess pupils’ learning.

Independence, Text and Work

On request by the teachers and with the pupils’ permission we played parts of our

recordings of pupils’ work sessions to the teachers at a work team meeting.

Overhearing a discussion between the students about how to deal with instructions

on how to write a report a teacher suddenly said out load: “X should really have

received a much higher grade”. Working independently or doing own work implies

difficulties for both teachers and pupils. In our empirical material the pupils work

in small groups. Small group sessions are supplemented by a few separate sessions

when students are given teacher advice. Part of their work is carried out by the

single student on his or her own. At least in a Swedish context, this is a fairly

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common way of conducting independent work. In addition pupils work in an

open environment. Teachers have what Law (Law et al., 2008) calls a

connectedness orientation. Such an orientation implies a culture where teachers

organise the setting so that pupils are free to learn from local as well as

international experts, and from peers at the pupil’s local school as well as pupils in

distant locations. Technology is used to support such a culture. In a connectedness

oriented culture pupils need to form “epistemic communities”, “social networks”,

or “communities of practice” in order to perform well and technology facilitates

this. Connectedness hence implies that other people may (can) fill in for the

teacher.

It may be argued that teachers with a traditional orientation to education are

better positioned to assess student work. In traditional assessment however (also

represented by PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS) focus has been on the final product

rather than the evidence of learning that occurs in the process. We take the initial

teacher comment in this section to indicate that teachers at the school where our

material has been gathered have been assessing the final product. They may also

have included information from logbooks and assessment of the quality and

progress in the tutoring sessions. The quality of student interactions as they have

been engaged in production has not, however, been open to assessment. The kind

of microscopic view of interactions that we will use shows that the process of

independent work leaves much opaque to the teachers, leaving it open for the

teachers to misjudge, particularly the quality of the work of individual students.

We suggest that it is possible to make an analogy between the accessibility to the

pupil’s process and the Barthes’ and Foucault’s writings on the text and the work.

Barthes (1979) distinguishes between the work as the physical manifestation and

the text as the life of the signifier within the work.

The text must not be confused with the work. A work is a finished object, something

computable, which can occupy a physical space (take its place for example,

on the shelves of a library); the text is a methodological field. One cannot,

therefore, count up texts, at least not in any regular way: all one can say is that in

such-and-such a work, there is or there isn’t, some text. “The work is held in the

hand, the text in language.” (Barthes, 1981, p. 39)

Text is not the decomposition of the work, it is the work which is the Text’s

imaginary tail. Or again: The text is experienced only in an activity, in production.

(Barthes, 1979 p. 237)

From such a perspective assessing independent work only (or mostly) based on the

physical manifestation, the written report or the oral account of the project

presents a difficulty. What can be assessed obscures much of the labour that is put

into the process; it never closes in on the text. Hence much of what has been

glossed above as abilities deemed necessary in late modern society is in danger of

being left outside what is being assessed.

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In Archaeology of Knowledge, Foucault (1969/2002) makes a similar

distinction. He questions whether the material of the volume is not weaker and of

lesser importance than the discursive order it is founded on. He points to the

arbitrary definition of “the work” and asks:

Is it enough to add to the texts published by the author those that he intended

for publication but which remained unfinished by the facts of his death? Should

one also include his sketches and first drafts, with all the corrections and crossings

out? Should one add sketches that he himself abandoned? And what should be

given to letters, notes, reported conversations, transcriptions of what he said made

by those present at the time, in short that vast mass of verbal traces left by an

individual at his death, and which speak in an endless confusion so many different

languages (langages)? (Foucault, 1969/2002, p. 38)

Hence the text becomes a necessity for teachers wanting to see the actual quality of

a pupil’s work in order to make a fair assessment. They need to be in contact with

the discursive foundation of their work.

Instructions, Transparency and Risk

For this paper, in order to demonstrate the importance of the text, we have

chosen some stretches of interaction that we believe provide examples of a common

problem for pupils, namely how to make sense of instructions. Lillis & Turner,

(2001) claim that instructions and comments from teachers often are given as if the

meaning of the words and the conventions behind them were obvious to the

pupils. They call this a “discourse of transparency” and de-scribe in their article

how hard it is for the pupils to interpret instructions. Hence they advocate the

“need to cloud the discourse of transparency, to reflexively critique the assumptions

and expectations that have their roots in a socio-culturally different historical

period” (p. 66). We have particularly focused on what we will refer to as adaptation

to genre. In our empirical material the pupils are trying to learn “academic

writing”. This implies following the rules of a genre that they are not familiar with

that have sub genres (Swales, 2004) and features (Pecorari, 2006) that remain

occluded even to students in higher education at the same time as they try to make

justice to content. Their main tools for approaching this/these genre/genres are the

instructions given to them.

It is our impression that the spatial distance between teachers and pupils (that

often is a con-sequence of the organisation of pupils’ own work) forces the teachers

to put more emphasis on the written and oral instructions in order to guide pupils

through the process of production in the absence of a physical teacher. Even if the

teachers put lots of hard labour into instructions in order to produce good ones

(and they do, at least judging from our empirical material), the very process of

interpreting instructions results in considerable hardship for the pupils. (Macbeth

(2004) argues that the notion of following instructions holds a paradox “whereby

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learners are required to know already what they are attempting to learn how to do

as a condition of making sense of their instruction in how to do it”. (p. iii)

Stretches of interactions illustrating this are common in our material and they

suggest that the relation between the amount of work that is put into a product by

the pupils and what gets assessed is opaque. These stretches also suggest that the

quality of the work put into dealing with instructions from the part of the pupils

remains opaque.

Pupils are held individually accountable for how they interpret instructions.

Beck & Ritter (1992) argue that individualisation leads to an individualisation of

societal risk and thereby the need for individual risk calculation. Hence

instructions pose what has been called a socio-technical dilemma for the individual

pupil. Pupils’ own work increase the amount of decisions pupils have to make.

There is much at stake. A consequence of pupils’ decision making appears to be

danger. Garland (2003, p. 50) defines danger as a contingent evil. Pupils face many

things that can be constituted as dangers. In order to finish their work they may

need to consider who is a legitimate aid, what information they are allowed to use,

or how they are allowed to use technology in their projects (Nilsson, Eklöf, &

Ottosson, 2007). They may produce projects that are too close to the original

work, hence being in danger of being accused of plagiarism (Howard, 1999;

Pecorari, 2003) or even being accused of cheating (L.-E. Nilsson, 2008). Any

interpretation of an instruction can have negative effects for the pupil. Pupils are

supposed to follow instructions. One may suggest that following instructions is a

category bound activity. Constituting instructions as transparent is consequential

for evaluation of pupils’ activities. Pupils that misinterpret instructions may be in

danger of being reprimanded or receiving low grades. In late modern societies,

however, students are not only required to follow instructions. They have to do it

in such a way that they show independence and originality, Garland (2003) refers

to risk as the possibility of harm where risk is the measure. We argue that an

investigation of how pupils deal with instructions also includes how they manage

risk. Hence a consequence of carrying out independent work with the help of

instructions is that you also have to calculate risks.

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Aim

The aim of this paper is to analyze pupils’ interaction in small epistemic

communities, their handling of dilemma situations related to reading instructions,

and their attempts to adapt to writing genres. In order better to understand the

working process we apply a risk calculation perspective. We also emphasize the

importance of taking such interaction stretches into consideration in

understanding the process behind the students’ final report.

Method

This study is informed by ethnomethodology. The empirical material has been

drawn from video recorded sessions where pupils are participating in collaborative

writing. Pupils working in small groups have been observed. We have used video to

record their work and a screen capture program to record their activities on the

screen. These two sources have been merged together as one film in order to

facilitate the analysis. The recordings we used for this paper have been drawn from

a larger longitudinal study. In this study Swedish pupils attending secondary school

have been filmed at several occasions during three years. They have been followed

as they progress through what the school calls the Project Journey (Projektresan).

During 10th and 11th grade they carry out different moments of a project in

preparation for a larger independent course that is mandatory in the 12th grade.

In ethnographic and ethno-methodologically inspired research on educational

situations, video and video analyses have become more or less a standard technique.

When transforming the overwhelmingly rich material into useful transcripts the

researcher faces many difficulties. Too meagre transcripts, concentrating on the

spoken word, could result in under analysis. Rich multi modal transcripts,

informed by methods from conversation analysis, augmented by descriptions of

activity in the room and on the screen, including body movements etc., face the

danger of rendering so complicated transcripts that only a fraction of the material

we have can analyzed. In a couple of texts (Eklöf, 2009; Eklöf & Nilsson, 2009;

Eklöf, Nilsson, & Svensson, 2009) we have tried to use sequential art instead of

ordinary transcripts. In this study too we will use the sequential art technique as a

tool to illuminate the interaction within the pupil groups.

Let’s make our case

Case 1 - 2 on Transparency, Instructions, Genre and Obedience

In the first sequence, the pupils Amanda, Carl, and Jan talk about an introduction

they have written. The passage contains a statement about why they have chosen to

write about alcohol-ism. In their introduction they also have a main question:

“How much alcohol can a man drink before he becomes an alcoholic?”, and four

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sub questions. When we enter the interaction they have checked what the

instructions say about what the introduction should contain. They have decided to

try to rewrite the text in accordance with the instructions. Their first attempt mixes

what, according to the instructions, should be separate parts of the introduction.

Drawing on Pecorari (2006) one may argue that the students are trying to come to

terms with features of a genre that is occluded to them. The parts they have to

separate are background, purpose, presentation of the problem, main question, and

methods and ways of working. They also have to adapt to the recommended size of

the introduction.

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In Frames 1–3 the students are trying to figure out where to end the background.

The following part, according to instructions, should be purpose. The instruction

states that in the introduction you describe the background to the work, the area

and the topic that the report is about. The pupils have written some initial

sentences on why they have chosen to write about alcoholism. In Frame 3 Amanda

points to their first sub question “What is alcoholism?” thus suggesting that the

end of the background should be there. The students’ interaction represented in

the first three frames illustrates the problem with the transparency of instructions.

As it is not clear to the pupils what it is to describe the background of the work, it

is even difficult to see where the background starts and ends.

Introduction as genre is not accessible to them. Another dilemma, occurring in

Frames 3–6, concerns purpose and presentation of the problem to investigate.

Purpose and presentation of a problem are two concepts that appear to be opaque

to them. In Frame 3 Amanda points to the first sub question and wonders if that is

the presentation of the problem. Hence it is not obvious, at least to Amanda, what

counts as a problem presentation and where it starts and ends. We can see that the

other students have similar problems reading their text and relate it to their

instructions. In the next frame Jan identifies the part at the end of the text that he

considers to be methods and way of working (Frame 4). In Frame 5 Carl points to

their main question and suggests (with a tagged question) that it is the problem or

purpose. Amanda makes relevant that there may be a difference between a problem

formulation and a presentation of a problem, and Jan makes a repair indicating

that problem and question may not be the same thing. Amanda initiates a turn

about where the main question belongs. In Frame 6 he poses the question if the

main question should be in the introduction at all. Carl requests another check in

the instructions in Frame 6 which you can see Jan reading in Frame 7. After

listening it is still not clear for Carl what should be in the background (Frame 8).

Their interaction around the instruction does not yield definite answers to

questions of genre. The students remain uncertain. Their interaction instead

appears to fill another purpose. A provisional consensus is reached allowing them

to go on with their writing. Hence the sequence continues with a re-mark from

Carl “ok let’s write the background”, and they return to the text they have already

written, thus leaving the problems they have been discussing behind them. During

this rather long stretch of interaction where they try to make sense of what the

different concepts in the instruction stand for and where they belong they try to

follow the instruction to the letter. However they never really manage to

distinguish between background, purpose, presentation of problem and main

question. Since the concepts are not transparent for them, it is almost impossible to

figure out what the difference is and what constitutes these concepts. Features of

the genre they are expected to follow in their writing appear to be occluded to

them.

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In our next example the pupils have made some alterations to a text they have

taken from a book. The pupils account for their alteration as an attempt to meet

the needs of their readers. Their reasoning illustrates that this obligation is limited

by another duty. They need to follow instructions on how to write a report..

One student displays uncertainty, stating that he is unsure whether they can

have the text the way they have chosen to write it. This way is an indication that

there are approved ways and disapproved ways to write. Another student suggests

that it should not be a problem as they have “just remade it”. Remaking text

however is a sensitive issue when it comes to academic writing. The third student

suggests that this may depend on where you put a text that has been re-made. Even

though they are in agreement that the alteration improves on the text, they de-cide

to reduce their uncertainty by moving their text to “the analysis”. One may say that

they are invited by their concern for their readers to present a readable text and by

their way of constituting “following instruction” as a demand to follow them to the

letter. The difficulty is resolved through the suggestion that they present the

alteration in the analysis, a genre they construe as one where they can write more

freely and use their own voice. The pupils in Case 2 do not show the same

bewilderment on the essence of the instruction, but they also have rather dim

perceptions on what is allowed in the genre they are writing within, also illustrating

the difficulty with genre conception and the dangers of looking upon instructions

as being transparent. In both cases the pupils face a dilemma. We would argue that

in solving these dilemmas they have to make risk calculations. If making a wrong

choice they face the danger of lower grades.

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Case 3 -4 on Independence and Adaptation.

One may also argue that the amount of independence that is shown in the previous

cases is a severely restricted one. In our next cases we will look further into how

pupils value instructions.

In this sequence John, William and Karen are discussing how to use a cartoon they

have found in their oral presentation. John suggests that they should take a frame

and put it into their Power-Point while William advocates that they should make a

small play out of it.

Rather than framing such an action as following instructions both could stand

out as good examples of creativity and independent adaptation to genre. Karen’s

remark instead frames their interaction as satisfying a particular teacher. It would

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e good to make a play since it would result in more variety and their tutor would

probably like it! William agrees and suggests that Henry will start crying.

Exaggerating Henry’s reaction serves to stress that it can be important to make

independent decisions even if these only are designed to please a teacher. Elsewhere

we have called this the (in)dependence paradox (Eklöf, Nilsson & Svensson, 2009).

Karen’s final word puts an emphasis on this paradox. Doing something different

appears less as an example of independence and more as following instructions

about being independent and creative. Tutors grade the pupils’ work and this is

something that they are very much aware of. Is it possible to assume that they

should have chosen differently having had another tutor? Our next case indicates

that that is a possibility, thus raising the question of what kind of independence

that is possible in independent work.

One part of the assessment is based on pupils’ written personal and group logs.

The group represented above has the teacher E as their tutor. The teacher G is the

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one that is the leader of the total pro-gram. When we enter the interaction the girl

sitting on the table, Fia, has written in her log and wonders if it is teacher E who is

going to read it. The second girl, Ines, confirms that so is the case. Fia then claims

that she has written it in a certain way, which she recons will please teacher E, in an

E-way. And she also states that it would not pass if it was teacher G who were to

read it. It would be possible, from the interaction above, to assume that she would

written it differently if she had had another tutor, and that the other pupils concur

with her reasoning.

The Cases 3–4 tell us something about the frames within which the pupils are

able to do their independent work. It can be argued that they are very much aware

of the limitations, in the two last cases the preferences and personalities of the

teachers who eventually will grade them. It can also be argued that the kinds of

considerations that the pupils have made in the cases above in a way are risk

calculations..

Case 5 -6 on Conceptions of Good

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In the representation above we return to instructions and adaptation to genre.

Patric, Elin, and Magnus are discussing a short paragraph in their text. When we

start looking on the interac-tion the pupils have the following written down on

their screen in front of them.

There are some analytically interesting points that can bee drawn regarding

instructions, independence and adaptation to genre. The discussion here rendered

as five frames in a sequential art lasts over five minutes on the unedited film. The

particular aspects that are under discussion during these five minutes are primarily

the length of the sentences, but also the use of comma and if the third level in the

training program should be labelled heavy or hard. Pupils’ interactions serve as an

illustration of how much of the actual work that becomes hidden for the teachers

when pupils work independently in a project. The products that in the end are to

be assessed only give a very restricted notion of the amount of work inserted, and

thus raising the need for both other ways of scrutiny and assessment. This sequence

also emanates from problems in interpreting instructions, both concerning size of

and what they are allowed to write in different sections. The interaction started by

Patric in asking about the short sentence “Gunde realizes this early” is interesting

also from another angle. Patric’s question reveals notions about what good writing

is and what kind of writing that belongs to the certain genre they are writing in.

Elin makes account for that the genre demands long sentences. She claims that the

short, less complicated sentences reveal a less developed language. She shows this in

the sentence “It’s G-level” (G being the lowest pass grade in the Swedish grading

system). Magnus expresses a more elaborated view on the language, claiming that

the combination of long and short sentences is a quality criterion. In Frame 5 Elin

makes a repair giving acknowledgement to Magnus’ claim but referring it back to

their special text, claiming that he is right in a general stand, but that their

particular text does not have so many long sentences , thus evoking her first

statement, it is G-level the way they have written it. In the last frame Magnus

makes a remark directed to an anticipated teacher reaction on their text. Elin,

rather resigned, as indicated by intonation and body position, states that they are

lousy not being able to figure out anything better. As in Cases 3 and 4 this case

shows the pupils’ awareness of the teacher’s final grading and how it affects the

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actual independence of their work. The case discussed above also says something

on the translation of the perceived genre expectations into text (or work using the

Barthesian concept). Both Magnus and Elin shows notions of what quality are in

the special genre they have to write within, but they are not sure, and from the

interaction and after reading the final text we can not conclude why they kept the

short sentence that started the discussion. If it was as a consequence of deliberate

decision or as a consequence of not seeing any alternatives is not possible for us to

say. Even in this case the awareness of the grading and the teacher–student distance

imply that risk calculation is an element that has to be considered when trying to

understand pupils’ working process..

In our final case Jonas, Robert and Marty are doing a last check of their project,

looking on how they have written the introduction and comparing their work with

the instructions they have got, both oral and in writing. Let us se if our last case

can give us a more bright image of the pupils’ possibility to do independence

within the contextual constraints that exist.

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The discussion taking place strip above is mainly on risk calculation, but also on

the strength of instruction and implicitly on the concept of independence. The

three boys have written a text out of their own heads, where the results were

organised from physiology and educational techniques they had used in their

project. The interaction begins with Jonas wondering if the should not organise

their results round their research questions instead? Both Marty and Robert

disagrees, claiming that this would be silly and the way they have chosen is

superior. Jonas then claims that X (the teacher) has said that it should be organised

in that way that every research question becomes a subheading and the results

comes under each heading. Marty claims that this would be a boring way of

writing (bla bla bla) and Jonas puts out the crucial question, will our way of

writing result in lower grades? Until this point the defence of the chosen way of

writing has been the quality of their own text, and the final argument from Marty,

making them keep their original structure, is that the teacher has not said anything

about that, rather he has approved by telling them it is cool the way they have done

it.

Have we then finally found a case where the pupils show independence even

towards the instructions and the perception on the teacher’s preferences? It may

seem so. But even in this case they draw on the teacher’s assessment of the quality

of their present design as rather cool as a means to reconcile their preferred design

with the teacher’s verbal instructions and hence reach the conclusion that they can

keep their original structure, and possibly get high grades.

Discussion

Our material highlights the complexity of independent project work and the

dilemmas the pupils dissolve in several ways. Even though we have chosen our

cases from all three years of the project, you can find similarities in the difficulties

the pupils meet when they try to write, aided by instructions

Our point of departure has been three theoretical concepts: genre, danger and

risk. We have applied these to stretches of interaction were the pupils try to

interpret instructions and make sense of features of genres they are writing within.

We want now to make a claim that the pupil interaction can be understood

better in the light of facing danger and a need to manage risk. In all our cases the

pupils relate to how teachers will assess their work. In Cases 1 and 2 we have

pointed towards obvious dilemmas. The pupils need to adapt to genre in order to

follow instructions. We would argue that the pupils calculate risk. In the first

example, they have already written an introduction, but decide, after consulting the

instructions to rewrite the text to achieve a closer fit to the instructions, thus

reducing the danger of a poor grade. This is even more striking in the second case,

where the pupils make an alteration that they consider will impair the clarity or at

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least the readability of their text in relation to being in line with instructions. Here

they are placed between Scylla and Karybdis. The first solution may prompt

teachers to question how they have followed their instructions. The second

solution may prompt teachers to question readability. In both cases their grades

can be negatively influenced. Cases 3 and 4 tell us something about the frames

within which the pupils find that they have to do their independent work. We

argue that they are very much aware of that there are limitations, but also that

there are different preferences for how to deal with limitations by the teachers who

in the end are going to grade them. Hence we argue that for example identification

of a target audience poses a dilemma. Not knowing the target audience poses a

danger. The kinds of considerations that the pupils make may be seen as risk

calculations. The last two cases also contain more ore less obvious attempts to

manage risk. In Case 6, where the three boys decide to write their own way they

face a danger as they try to chose between different instructions. The written

instructions say one thing. Referring to another set of instructions (oral comment),

they manage the anticipated risk of being downgraded. We claim that the concept

of risk calculation and risk management are vital for analyzing and understanding

work methods like independent or own work. We also find it important to raise

the question whether pupils’ management of risk threatens their creativity and

steers them towards their perceptions of the teachers’ preferences. This may in the

end diminish the independence that the actual work approach should foster and

develop.

Our second concern has been instruction and genre knowledge. In three of our

cases it is clear that the pupils have difficulties adapting to the genre they are

supposed to write within. In Case 1 we can see that the concepts, found in

instructions used to describe the genre, are occluded to the pupils. Also in Cases 2

and 5 we claim that the difficulty to look through the genre concepts led to major

hardship for the pupils Macbeth’s( 2004) notion on the paradox that you already

have to master a content to be able to read instructions on how to master it,

implying the impossibility (or severe difficulty) learning a new genre by using it

can be applied to this.

Whereas the distance between the pupils and teachers by necessity is wider in

independent project work, the teachers’ instructions (oral and written) increase in

importance as the main steering tool when he or she is not present. Lillis and

Turner’s (2001) discourse of transparency challenges the notion of the possibility

to write instructions that is transparent and clear for the pupils. In all our cases

instructions are more or less explicitly involved in the interactions among the

pupils. In three of our cases (Cases 1, 2, and 5), we can notice a clash between the

instructions and the pupils’ written work. In these cases we can observe different

patterns in solving the problem. As in Case 1 where the pupils, unable to really

figure out the meaning of some concepts, just decide to carry on writing, in Case 2,

where the pupils adopt to such a degree that they make alterations making their

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text less efficient in order to follow the instruction to the letter, and in Case 6,

where the pupils interpret the oral instructions in a way that makes it possible for

them to keep their original way of writing.

The distance between teachers and pupils, as a result of work methods occlude

the teachers’ possibility to see what is actually happening in the process. We made

claim that this will de-crease their possibility to make fair assessment. We also

made an analogy with the Barthesian concept of text and work and Foucault’s way

on reasoning on the volume and the discursive order it rests upon.

Especially in Case 5 we made a point of the time span of the working process

among the pupils, in contrast to the actual passages in the final text. But the same

analytical raster could have been put on to the other cases as well, implying a need

for a different view on what to assess and how this should be done in independent

project work.

This also raises a question on the possibility to execute independent work in a

context of courses created to foster independence. In a previous text (Eklöf et al.,

2009) we have called this the (In) dependence paradox. The distance between

teacher and pupil, and the calculated risk of asking the teachers, thus showing lack

of independence, reduces the pupils’ access to opportunities where it is possible to

challenge the teachers in a safe way. If the main assessment is conducted solely on

the final work there is not much room for challenges on the deputy teacher, the

instruction. Even if the working methods allows for a variety of expressions on

independence in connections, material, or subject, it is still only within a very

limiting con-text and can only be understood if risk calculation is made into an

analytical raster.

The independence is so far never expressed in relation to the teacher, in the form

of bringing something original or creative on the table, which might not be in line

whit the preferences of or instructions given by the teachers. It can be argued that

independence is perceived as pleas-ing the teacher without them being present.

A paradoxical conclusion therefore would be, that a closer interaction between

teacher and pupil, in order to highlight the process (the text), would both give the

teacher more scrutiny and a better assessment base, and would reduce the

uncertainty for the pupil while providing more informal contacts, which at the

same time would minimise risks and in the end lead to a more independent

attitude..

References

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Perspectives in post-structuralist criticism (pp. 73-81).

Barthes, R. (1981). Theory of the text. In R. Young (Ed.), Untying the text: A poststructuralist

reader: Routledge/Thoemms Press.

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Beck, U., & Ritter, M. (1992). Risk society: towards a new modernity: Sage

Publications Ltd.

Cresswell, J., & Vayssettes, S. (2006). PISA Assessing Scientific, Reading and

Mathematical Literacy A Framework for PISA 2006: OECD.

Dovemark, M. (2004). Ansvar - flexibilitet - valfrihet : en etnografisk studie om en

skola i förändring. Göteborg: Acta Universitatis Gothoburgensis.

Eklöf, A. (2009). Making the transcript pregnant: On the art of transforming profuse

information into adequate representations. Paper presented at the NFPF/Nera.

Eklöf, A., & Nilsson, L.-E. (2009). Men ska vi inte utgå från frågorna? Att

synliggöra texten i gymnasieelevers kollektiva skrivande. In J. Linderoth (Ed.),

Individ teknik och lärande. Stockholm: Carlssons.

Eklöf, A., Nilsson, L.-E., & Svensson, P. (2009). So I Sat Down With My Mother -

Connectedness Orientation and Pupils’ Independence. Paper presented at the 9th

World Computer Congress on Education (WCCE09), Bento Goncalves, Brasil

27 july to 1 aug 2009.

Fors, C., & Lindskog, E. (2007). Eget arbete. Möjligheter och problem

(Examensarbete) Malmö: Malmö Högskola, Lärarutbildningen.

Garland, D. (2003). The rise of risk. In R. V. Ericson & A. Doyle (Eds.), Risk and

morality (pp. 48-86). Toronto: University of Toronto Press

Howard, R. M. (1999). Standing in the shadow of giants : plagiarists, authors,

collaborators. Stamford, Conn.: Ablex Pub.

Law, N., Pelgrum, W. J., Plomp, T. (2008). Pedagogy and ICT use : in schools

around the world : findings from the IEA SITES 2006 study New York.

Lillis, T., & Turner, J. (2001). Student Writing in Higher Education:

contemporary confusion, traditional concerns. Teaching in Higher Education,

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Macbeth, K. P. (2004). The Situated Achievements of Novices Learning Academic

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Mullis, I. V. S., Martin, M. O., & Foy, P. (2007). TIMSS 2007 international

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international report: IEA's progress in international reading literacy study in

primary schools in 40 countries: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center.

Nilsson, L.-E. (2008). "But can't you see they are lying" : student moral positions and

ethical practices in the wake of technological change. Göteborg: Acta Universitatis

Gothoburgensis.

Nilsson, N.-E. (2004). Elevforskning i grundskolan : orsaker, problem, förslag. Lund:

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STUDIE 3

KÄLLHANTERING OCH KRITISKT TÄNKANDE

Om inramning och riskbedömning när material skall

hanteras kritiskt

Studie fyra existerar inte ännu. En av de ursprungliga tankarna jag hade när jag

skrev min avhandlingsplan var att jag skulle ha gymnasieelevers källkritiska arbete

och kritiska tänkande som huvudsakligt forskningsobjekt. Under projektets gång

har själva arbetsformen och hur eleverna tvingats hantera olika typer av dilemma

situationer kommit att bli ett nytt huvudfokus. I denna sista artikel tänker jag att

jag skall försöka ta tag i all de moves i mitt material där eleverna hanterar eller

förhåller sig till källor, källkritik och kritiskt tänkande. Redan nu kan jag med

utgångspunkt från det material som redan är kategoriserat utifrån ett sådant raster

se att det finns ett antal olika elevstrategier som dels knyter an till olika typer av

material och trovärdighetsaspekter vilket kopplar samman denna sista artikel med

studie 1 och en massa instanser där eleverna närmar sig källvärderingen och kritiskt

tänkande med utgångspunkt från instruktioner, vilket knyter samman denna

artikel med studie 2. Även i denna artikel tror jag mig kunna använda teorier kring

frame analysis och riskbedömning som teoretiskt raster.

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VERISIMILITUDE 1

STUDIE 4A

- REPRESENTATIONER - ANALYS

Kring ett empiriskt material etnografi etnometodologi och

den konstnärligt/vetenskapliga friheten. 2

Anders Eklöf

Mitt avhandlingsprojekt berör gymnasieelevers specialarbete. Mitt forskningsobjekt

är i grunden hur en så fri arbetsform påverkar elevernas sätt att hantera sitt lärande.

Genom att studera aktivitet och interaktion mellan eleverna menar jag att jag kan

komma åt det situerade lärande som eleverna som eleverna är inblandande i. På

detta sätt skriver jag in mig bland många i en sociokulturell tradition (se t.ex.

(Lantz-Andersson, 2009) I mitt skrivande försöker jag koncentrera mig på vad

eleverna uppfattar, ger uttryck för, som dilemma situationer, problem som de har

att lösa mer eller mindre självständigt och vilka lösningsmönster som blir synliga i

elevernas interaktion. På detta sätt försöker jag avtäcka det som blir problematisk

för eleverna för att kunna uttala mig om styrning, planering och utveckling av en

arbetsform. Jag har valt att studera elevernas arbete i mindre grupper. Speciellt

intresse har hitintills kommit att röra sig kring förhandlingar, interaktion kring

instruktioner, strukturering, genreförståelse, kollektivt skrivande. Mycket av det

som eleverna har att hantera och skapa förståelse kring rör sig kring helt andra

områden än det ämne, den uppgift de har att hantera.

Mitt datamaterial består av videofilmade sessioner av elevernas arbete i grupp.

Som analys och transkriberingsprogram använder jag transana. Som består av fyra

olika delar.

1

Atkinsson(Atkinson, 1990) använder termen Verisimilitude för att beskriva en

text förhållande till det som den försöker beskriva. Han refererar också till den

litteraturvetenskapliga termen vraisamble

2

Texten är ursprugligen skriven som examinationsuppgift i en etnografikurs. Denna och ett

NFPF paper skall tillsammans utgöra underlag för en artikel om sequential art som

representationsform.

1

1


2

2

Ljudfilsfönstret

där jag ser den

exakta

tidskodningen.

Transkriptfönstr

et Där jag skriver,

edititerar och

tidskodar.

Filmfönstret Där

jag kan spela upp

och följa filmen.

Databasfönstret

Där jag

organiserar,

skapar klipp och

hanterar de

keywords och

anteckningar som

kan kopplas till de

olika filmerna.

Transana är ursprungligen skapat för Grounded Theory analys där man tämligen

förutsättningslöst studerar filmerna och skapar sorterande och analytiska nyckelord,

klipp som sedan med hjälp av sökfunktionerna ordnas i olika typer av samlingar.

I databasfönstret finns också möjlighet att koppla på olika typer av anteckningar,

av metodisk, beskrivande eller tolkande slag.


Eftersom jag har valt att inte vara närvarande under själva filminspelningen, utan

ställer upp kameran och startar den, för att sedan lämna eleverna måste jag arbeta

med två olika typer av transkriptioner. En rent beskrivande där jag med

utgångspunkt från tidskodningen beskriver vad som händer i de olika delarna av

filminspelningen. Till dessa översiktstranskript kopplar jag sedan sorterande key

words. Den andra typen av transkript blir där jag genom att skapa klipp av

sekvenser som är mer analytiskt intressanta fintranskriberar interaktionen och

lägger på analytiska key words och anteckningar. De transkript och anteckningar

jag lägger på filmerna motsvarar vissa typer av etnografiska fältanteckningar.

Teoretiskt och metodiskt har jag hela tiden definierat mig inom det

etnometodologiska fältet (Garfinkel, 1984) med de fördelar och begränsningar som

ansatsen har. Det som studeras är interaktionen i vardagliga händelser och det som

är relevant att analysera är det som explicitgörs i interaktionen, ingenting annat.

Garfinkle skriver (Garfinkel, 1996)

EM is not in the business of interpreting signs. It is not an interpretive

enterprise. Enacted local practices are not texts which symbolize "meanings" or

events. They are in detail identical with themselves, and not representative of

something else. The witness ably recurrent details of ordinary everyday practices

constitute their own reality. They are studied in their unmediated details and not

as signed enterprises.

I “the video analys’t manifesto går Koschmann (Koschmann, 2005) igenom på

vilket sätt etnometodologin har försökt skapa mening i analysen av den vardagliga

interaktionen. Etnometodologi rör sig kring hur människor skapar mening i sina

egna aktiviteter. Handlingar skapar sin egen mening i kraft av sig själva.

Underliggande mönster kan bara ses genom att de tydliggörs i interaktionen.

Därför finns ett behov av en strikt sekventiell analys av materialet.

The task before the analyst remains one of adequately accounting how

participants actually do the teaching plan or do the instructional model as ongoing

interactional achievements

Analysen för inte ske via kategorier som läggs på materialet av analytikern.

Genom detaljerade beskrivningar (transkript) skapar analytikern i stället

förutsättningar för läsaren att själv avgöra relevansen i de gjorda analyserna.

Inriktningen mot empirinära och väldigt detaljerade analyser har hela tiden

känts naturliga men begränsningen till att bara inbegripa det som explicitgörs i

interaktionen kan kännas som en teoretisk hämsko. Genom studier i miljöer där

man är familjär och där man har en förmåga att avläsa bakgrundantaganden och

strukturer som implicit påverkar de agerande skapas, enligt mig, möjligheter att

kunna göra mer djupgående analyser. Drag inom den tolkande och mer kritiskt

3

3


inriktade etnografin kan därför tillföra element till den typ av analyser som jag

hitintills har gjort.

Beach(Beach, 2005) beskriver etnografens arbete på följande sätt:

Etnografin startar alltså I en sorts text, fältanteckningen, på samma sätt som

mina undersökningar startar I en annan text, filminspelningen. Vi transkript -

fältanteckningar och andra dokument skapar sedan etnografen en andra text,

forskningstexten. Konstruktionen är hela tiden tydlig. Beach refererar Mulkay:

This systematic distortion is captured in the frequently used distinction between

raw data (original text) and results and findings. The raw data are manipulated, reordered

and re-presented in the analytical text to reveal their sociological meaning.

Atkinsson (Atkinson, 1990) utrycker ungefär samma sak

If we recognize – as we must- that our act of research inevitably implicate us and

Involve us in the everyday construction of social reality, then we must also

recognize that our accounts of the social world are equally implicated. Our textual

practices Themselves constitute the social realities constructed and reconstructed in

ethnographic Writing. Theory and method are inextricably linked: they are equally

closed tied to modes of writing.

Trots att jag arbetar med film som råmaterial och alltså har ett material som är

mindre bearbetat än rena fältanteckningar så är hela uppställningen, mina val av

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4


antalet kameror, kameravinklar, att arbeta mot en spegel, var mikrofonerna placeras

också teoretiska konstruktioner påverkade av min förförståelse och vad jag

förväntar mig att finna, och som sådana kommer de att påverka den analys som

görs och som är möjlig att göra.

Den etnografiska ansatsen betonar också på ett annat sett det situerade och det

´sociala kontext som påverkar det jag studerar (Fangen & Nordli, 2005;

Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007) och gör detta till en viktig del av den analytiska

kontexten.

Ytterligare en aspekt av den etnografiska traditionen som har appellerat starkt till

mig är den större friheten när det gäller själva skrivandet. Både Beach och Atkinson

påpekar på likheten mellan skrivande av etnografi och Konst både när det gäller

bild och litteratur

Även om etnografi kan beskrivas som en studie av det vardagliga det normala, en

studie i every day life, så blir de berättelser som produceras konstruktioner.

Atkinson (Atkinson, 1990) hävdar att man lätt kan känna igen olika litterära genrer

i det etnografiska skrivandet och pekar på hur flera olika typer av berättarröst har

använts. Den allseende ovanifrånblickande författaren är en vanlig utgångspunkt,

men också att ta positionen av en av de deltagande, eller att vara kritiskt

kommenterande och generaliserande med en tydlig röst.

Beach gör en liknande jämförelse med bildkonsten och refererar till olika stilar.

Etnografin liknar Popkonsten eftersom den försöker beskriva det vanliga med hjälp

av det vanliga. Den liknar impressionismen eftersom den inte reflekterar en

objektiv verklighet utan den bild av verkligheten som forskaren såg. Han jämför

med Bricolaget som sätter samman vanliga delar av verkligheten till en ny enhet,

men framför allt till Collaget som sammanfogar olika typer av bilder för att

förmedla en viss känsla. Collaget komponeras, klipps, transformeras för att skapa

bilden, där Bricolaget använder sig av att sammanfoga de redan färdiga bitarna,

bägge är konstruktioner, med collaget det mer bearbetade, det mer teoretiska.

Det viktiga är hela tiden att de tolkningar som görs blir plausibla för läsaren.

Atkinson(Atkinson, 1990) talar om olika sätt att skapa sådana accounts. Det

handlar om att uppnå Verisimilitude. Detta åstadkoms bland annat genom att det

finns en tydlig koppling (relation) mellan text och allmänna åsikter och till

genreförväntningar. Men också genom hur väl texten maskerar sina egna textuella

konventioner och upplevs som trovärdiga beskrivningar av en verklighet.

Den arketypiska vetenskapliga texten beskrivs som degree zero - författaren är så

osynliggjord att det till och med blir fel att använda första person. Detta är varken

möjligt eller eftersträvansvärt.

Att jag kommit att intressera mig så för olika typer av genreskrivande och de

möjligheter som ett friare mer artistiskt skrivande skulle kunna innebär hänger

mycket I hop med de former av representationer som jag har laborerat med I några

av mina senare texter. I det kommande kommer jag att lyfta upp några resonemang

5

5


kring detta. Bilderna är hämtade från det paper som jag hade på NFPF i våras(A.

Eklöf, 2009).

Jag inledde papret med bilden ovan där jag placerade in mig själv in en seriestripp

som jag använt i en text (här är den översatt till engelska (Anders Eklöf & Nilsson,

2009). Att jag gjorde så var för att peka på en reflexivitet (Jones, 2005) som syftar

till att bryta illusionen och peka mot konstruktören av en narrativ, dvs. mig själv.

Det är jag som har valt bilderna, satt ramar, valt texter till pratbubblorna och vilka

stilar det skall ha. So påpekats i texten ovan är allt etnografisk (och vetenskapligt)

skrivande alltid en konstruktion, men när, man som jag har gjort, väljer en annan

representationsform och försöker förmedla ett innehåll med hjälp av comic art blir

konstruktionen ännu tydligare. Att jag valt denna form beror på att jag har känt att

de traditionella transkripten inte klarar av att förmedla den rikedom som finns i det

filmade materialet. Transkripten måste kompletteras med så mycket skriftliga

kommentarer och beskrivningar för att kunna göra det arbete som åsyftas att själva

texterna blir otympliga. Min förhoppning har varit att jag genom att kombinera

det visuella med de verbala transkripten, direkt hämtade från transana, kunna

skapa mer täckande och effektivare representationer. Men en hel del frågor av

metodologisk och analytisk karaktär behöver lösas innan jag känner att formen kan

användas fullt ut I vetenskapligt arbete.

Konventionerna för att transkribera tal är väl utvecklade. CA har etablerat en

mängd standarder för att transkribera tal i naturliga talsituationer (C. Goodwin, &

Heritage, J. , 1990). CA utvecklade för att studera verbal konversation. Många har

försökt anpassa och utveckla CA för att kunna analysera icke verbala aspekter till

exempel hur blick riktningen påverkar ett samtal (Charles Goodwin, 1979; C.

Goodwin, 2000b). Goodwin försökte illustrera och slå samman representationer av

hur deltagarna tittade med själva transkriptet.

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6


Från Goodwin Practices of Seeing (C. Goodwin, 2000b)

Goodwin (C. Goodwin, 2000b) beskriver försöket till visualisering på följande

sätt:

When it comes to the transcription of visual phenomena we are at the very

beginning of such a process. The arrows and other symbols I’ve used to mark gaze

on a transcript (see Goodwin 1981) capture only a small part of a larger complex

constituted by bodies interacting together in a relevant setting. The decision to

describe gaze in terms of the speaker-hearer framework is itself a major analytic

one, and by no means simple, neutral description. (p.161)

Ett annat berömt exempel kommer från Goodwins analys av tre flickor som

hoppar hage(C. Goodwin, 2000a)

7

7


Från Goodwin action and embodiment (C. Goodwin, 2000a)

Här är visualiseringen driven ytterligare ett steg och det är inte längre en I första

hand verbal representation.

I tidigare texter har jag tillsammans med kollegor försökt utveckla illustrationer

till de verbala transkripten (Lars-Erik Nilsson et al., 2008)

Här närmar vi oss också mer icke verbala former, men har inte tagit steget fullt

ut.

8

8


Chute (Chute & DeKoven, 2006) skriver “In comics, the images are not

illustrative of the text, but comprise a separate narrative thread that moves forward

in time in a different way”

Det transkript som hör till sekvensen ovan ser i utskrift ( jag använder den

engelska översättningen här, eftersom bilderna är gjorda efter den).

52. K: But check it out eh uhm

53. M: Presstext Yeah it remains there to [unhearable]

54. What do we actually mean by significance?

55. K: Oh, well they are a bit vague these questions.

56. M: Bra Böckers encyclopaedia

57. K: They only account for. The most important is this one actually.

58. M: Yes.

69. K: What impact has it made on the Swedish society that is what kind of

60. memories have been found what kind of memories have been found

that is

61. what kind of things that stem from.

62. M: This is Bra Böckers encyclopaedia too shit.

63. K: But just take that one then

64. M: But the question is whether this is not just

65. K: But that’s where it originated from then we have these

66. there are booklets and that kind of to

67. M: What was that? Was it Bra Böckers lexicon?

68. K: No take Presstext check Sweden.

69. M: Should I search for Sweden?

70. K: Sweden

71. M: I still don’t think we will get something different. Then I think

72. we will only get the same thing.

De analytiska poänger som gjordes handlade om den osäkerhet som M känner

och hur K genom partikularisering (Billig, 1988) försöker se till att de kan gå

vidare. Jag gjorde sedan inför NFPF ett antal representationer där jag använde

serietekniker som lyfter upp olika typer av överväganden som man tvingas till när

man väljer serier som representationsform.

9

9


Jag startar med en klassik design.

Texten är som ni ser direkt hämtad ur transkriptet och jag har använt en del

standard tekniker från CA små rutor som visar på tystnad (14.2). Inramningen och

storleken av de olika bilderna indikerar att det analytiskt intressanta sker i den

fjärde (stora) bilden och det som kommer innan visar vad som leder fram till och

vad som kommer efter den analytiskt intressanta sekvensen.

McCloud (McCloud, 1994) hävdar att det mesta Ii comic art sker mellan

bilderna, I det som han kallar the gutter, I undertexten. Hur vi väljer att rama in

bilderna styr vårt läsande och vår uppfattning av tidsflöden och sekventialitet. Ault

(Ault, 2004) beskriver samma sak på följande sätt:

The comic page thus celebrates the incompleteness (lack) which produces its

structural specificity precisely at the cuts of the panel frames. What is left over, the

remainder in the blank space between the panels, performs the disruptive function

of the real. There is nothing in this space, but it introduces discontinuities into the

spaces of representation and allows the panels to assert themselves as fragments (p

3).

10

10


Jag har nedan testat två helt andra sätt att rama in samma bilder och samma

pratbubblor

I den första har jag lagt tre ramar för att på det sätter förstärka bilden av en

tredelning av episoden. Tonvikten ligger fortfarande på den mittersta delen av

sekvensen. I det andra exemplet har jag valt att plocka bort ramarna för att på det

sättet betona flödet och

sekventialiteten. Hur jag väljer att

lägga mina ramar, och därmed också

vilken undertext som skall kopplas till

representationerna är analytiska val

och följaktligen beroende på vilka

poänger jag vill dra, vilken bild av

verkligheten som jag väljer att

konstruera.

I nästa representation har jag

fortfarande samma innehåll, men har

valt att göra en inramning som

separerar de två pojkarna helt från

varandra för att på det sättet lyfta fram

den motsättning mellan hur de ser att

problemet skall lösas.

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11


Återigen är det fråga om ett analytisk val som får en grafisk konsekvens.

För mig är det lätt att se kopplingen mellan användandet av comic art och

Beach(Beach, 2001, 2005) och Atkinsons (Atkinson, 1990) reflektioner kring

kopplingen mellan etnografiskt skrivande och bildkonst och skönlitteratur. Den

fråga som behöver diskuteras är när de analytiska val som resulterar i olika typer av

grafiska representationer blir för mycket konstruerade och gör våld på en vetenskap

som ju faktiskt gör anspråk på att säga något essentiellt om ”verkligheten”. Jag

hävdar att dessa representationer inte grundläggande skiljer sig från andra typer av

mer traditionella representationsformer. All analys bygger på antaganden och

förkortningar. En invändning skulle kunna vara att tekniken gör det svårt för andra

att re analysera det empiriska materialet. Men eftersom analyserna bygger på video,

så kan man i så fall hävda att re analys ändå inte kan göras från ett mer traditionellt

transkript utan måste ske från det ursprungliga video materialet.

Nästa exempel är hämtat från en helt annan filmad sekvens. Det traditionella

transkriptet ser ur som följer.

A:17. Mat: But shouldn’t we as, in the analysis begin with ahh

A:18. Jan: Shouldn’t we check what the

A:19. Rasmus: Like?

A:20. Felicia: Questions

A:21. Rasmus: Yea like the questions

A:22. Marie: So you answer what

A:23. Rasmus: To the beginning, you should connect to the introduction

A:24. Jan: No

A:25. Rasmus: Yes

A:26. Marie: Yes that’s trough

A:27. Rasmus: You should connect to the introduction

A:28. Felicia: Yea exactly

A:29: Rasmus: What do we read?

A:30: Felicia: It could be what the introduction

A:31. Jan: Check out there

A:32. Marie: Thinking about when reading, is it that

De analytiska poängerna till detta transkript handlade om sekventialitet och hur

studenterna arbetar sig fram till en gemensam överenskommelse. Men också vilka

resurser de gör tar in I sin interaktion och hur dessa görs till överordnade moraliska

ordningar(Heap, 1992).

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12


13

13

När transkriptet gjordes

om till en serie sekvens

blev det tydligt att det

fanns spänningar inom

gruppen som jag inte hade

observerat tidigare. Hur

de två pojkarna i första

hand vänder sig mot

varandra och hur flickan i

vit tröja mer eller mindre

är marginaliserad på

kanten blir inte tydligt när

man studerar det verbala

transkriptet.

I skapandet av denna

seriestripp har jag använt

mig av en del tekniker.

Bland annat har jag skalat

bort en massa information

ur bakgrunden för

att

koncentrera mig på

interaktionen mellan

studenterna. Detta är

vanligt inom comic art

men är det förenligt med

god vetenskap?

Mallia (Mallia, 2007) diskuterar detta (han citerar (Dwyer, 1978) I sin text om

att använda comic art för att göra instruktioner.

Since there are limits to the amount of information (stimuli) in visualization

that an individual can interact with simultaneously, one possible solution to

increase the effectiveness of visualization is to limit or reduce the amount of

information presented by the visual. (p.3)

För mig är det oproblematiskt eftersom all analys och allt skrivande faktiskt

handlar om att ge röst åt en speciell tolkning och försöka göra den plausibel för

läsaren.

Eftersom serietekniken handlar om undertexter och vad som händer mellan

panelerna kan det innebära ett analytiskt problem, som i förlängningen innebär att

jag måste ha lika mycket berättande text som om jag hade valt traditionella


transkript. Serietekniken arbetar med fragmentisering, klipp, hopp ,

juxtapositionerade bilder och berättarvinklar hämtade från filmen (Drucker, 2008)

(p.128). Comic art har liknats vid montagefilmen (Jones, 2005), vilket blir

intressant eftersom Beach (Beach, 2001) faktiskt liknar det etnografiska skrivandet

vid montagefilmen. Det finns speciella tekniker för att gå från en ruta till en annan

(tranistions) (McCloud, 1994). För att använda sig av alla dessa tekniker och skapa

en seriesekvens som fungerar i kraft av sig själv är det lätt att göra våld på det

sekventiella. Det är lätt att välja en bild med mer rörelse som partner till en viss

textsträng, eftersom den tydligare illustrerar en viss del av interaktionen. Om jag

väljer den typen av analytiskt berättande har jag förvisso avlägsnat mig väldigt långt

från CA traditionen och kanske till och med det etnometodologiska, mot de friare,

mer konstnärliga uttrycksformer som t.ex. Atkinson (Atkinson, 1990) beskriver.

Frågan blir om jag också har avlägsnat mig för långt från något som kan kallas för

vetenskapliga representationer och närmat mig en helt annan typ av berättande.

Video och video analys har utvecklats till standard tekniker vid

klassrumsforskning. Eftersom filmen första hand är ett visuellt medium har vi

också behov av mer visuella representationsformer. För egen del har jag också

behov av att använda teorier och begrepp som ligger bortom det som explicitgörs i

mina informanters direkta interaktion, begrepp som risk och osäkerhet har varit

viktiga i några av mina texter (Anders Eklöf & Nilsson, 2009; L.-E. Nilsson,

Eklöf, & Ottosson, 2007; Lars-Erik Nilsson et al., 2008). På det sättet har jag

redan tagit steget bort från en mer strikt etnometodologi, även om metoderna och

de grundläggande analytiska tillvägagångssätten känns som produktiva ingångar till

ett empiriskt material. Genom att försöka använda mig av serietekniken har det

blivit tydligt för mig att vissa typer av sekvenser passar sämre för denna

representationsform. Om jag har statiska sekvenser, där det talade ordet utgör

majoriteten av det som analyseras finns det lite att vinna (mer än estetiskt vilket

kanske är ett värde i sig) med att lägga den tid det tar att konstruera

representationer i serieform. Har jag däremot sekvenser där kroppsrörelser och

pekningar och andra deiktiska uttryck har stor analytisk betydelse är det väl värt att

gå de extra milen för att konstruera mer pregnanta representationer. Det viktiga

blir att det är analysen som får styra och att man som datakonstruktör kan

bekämpa den estetiska logik som ligger inbyggd i själva formen.

McCloud(McCloud, 1994) säger att cartooning inte är ett sätt att teckna utan ett

sätt att se. På liknande sätt uttrycker sig Hamersley(Hammersley & Atkinson,

2007)

All social research is founded on the human capacity for participant observation.

We act in the social world and yet are able to to reflect upon our selselves and our

actions as objects in that world.

14

14


Då kanske comic art I grunden är en standardteknik för den visuella etnografin

trots allt.

Referenser

Atkinson, P. (1990). The ethnographic imagination: Textual constructions of

reality: Routledge.

Ault, D. (2004). Imagetextuality:" Cutting Up" Again, pt. III. ImageTexT:

Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, 1(1).

Beach, D. (2001). Artistic representation and research writing. Reflective Practice,

2(3), 313-329.

Beach, D. (2005). From fieldwork to theory and representation in ethnography.

Methodological issues and Practices in Ethnography. Studies in Educational

Ethnography, 11.

Billig, M. (1988). Ideological dilemmas : a social psychology of everyday thinking.

London: Sage.

Chute, H., & DeKoven, M. (2006). Introduction: Graphic Narrative. MFS

Modern Fiction Studies, 52, 767-782.

Drucker, J. (2008). Graphic Devices: Narration and Navigation. NARRATIVE-

COLUMBUS OHIO-, 16(2), 121.

Dwyer, F. M. (1978). Strategies for improving visual learning: State College:

Learning Services.

Eklöf, A. (2009). Making the transcript pregnant: On the art of transforming

prouse information inte adequate representations. Paper presented at the

NFPF/NERA.

Eklöf, A., & Nilsson, L.-E. (2009). Men ska vi inte utgå från frågorna?Att

synliggöra texten i gymnasieelevers kollektiva skrivande. In J. Linderoth (Ed.),

Learn-IT antologi nr 3. Göteborg.

Fangen, K., & Nordli, H. (2005). Deltagande observation: Liber ekonomi.

Garfinkel, H. (1984). Studies in ethnomethodology: Polity.

Garfinkel, H. (1996). Ethnomethodology’s program. Social Psychology Quarterly,

59(1), 5-21.

Goodwin, C. (1979). The Interactive Construction of a Sentence in Natural

Conversation. In G. Psathas (Ed.), E veryday Language: Studies in

Ethnomethodology. New York: Irvington Publishers.

Goodwin, C. (1994). Professional Vision. American Anthropologist, 96(3), 606-

633.

Goodwin, C. (2000a). Action and embodiment within situated human interaction.

Journal of Pragmatics, 32(10), 1489-1522.

Goodwin, C. (2000b). Practices of Seeing, Visual Analysis: An

Ethnomethodological Approach. Handbook of Visual Analysis, 157-182.

Goodwin, C., & Heritage, J. . ( 1990). Conversation analysis. Annual Review of

Anthropology, 19, 283-307.

Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (2007). Ethnography: Principles in practice:

Routledge.

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Heap, J. L. (1992). Normative order in collaborative computer editing. Text in

Context: Contributions to Ethnomethodology, Sage, London.

Jones, M. T. (2005). Reflexivity in Comic Art. International Journal of Comic Art,

7(1), 270-286.

Koschmann, T. D., Stahl, G., & Zemel, A. (in press). In (Eds.), . : . (2005). The

video analyst's manifesto (or the implications of garfinkel's policies for studying

practice within design-based research). In B. B. B. Goldman, S. Derry & R. Pea

(Ed.), Videoresearch in the learning sciences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum

Associates.

Lantz-Andersson, A. (2009). Framing in educational practices. Learning activity,

Digital Technology and the Logic of Situated Action. Göteborg: Göteborgs

Universitet.

Mallia, G. (2007). Learning from the sequence: The use of comics in instruction.

ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies, 3(3).

McCloud, S. (1994). Understanding comics : the invisible art. New York:

HarperCollins Publishers.

Nilsson, L.-E., Eklöf, A., & Ottosson, T. (2007). “But You’re not Supposed to Rip

it Straight Off”-Technology, Plagiarism and Dilemmas of Learning. Paper

presented at the 12th Biennial Conference of the European Association for

Research on Learning and Instruction (EARLI).

Nilsson, L.-E., Eklöf, A., & Ottosson, T. (2008). Unstructured information as a

socio-technical dilemma. In T. Hansson (Ed.), Handbook of research on digital

information technologies. Innovations, methods and ethical Issues (pp. 482 -

506). Hershey, PA: Information Science Reference.

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STUDIE 4B

MAKING THE TRANSCRIPT PREGNANT: ON THE ART

OF TRANSFORMING PROFUSE INFORMATION INTO

ADEQUATE REPRESENTATIONS

Image 1: Adaption from previous text (Eklöf & Nilsson, to be published 2009)

Above you can see me inserted in the first panel of a comic strip. This exemplifies

a kind of reflexivity (Jones, 2005) whose purpose is to break the illusion of story

and point towards the constructer of the narrative. Someone has chosen the frames,

the images and the balloon text, in this case I have. But is this more of a construct

than an ordinary transcript, and is it less scientific?

In this paper I intend to discuss the use of comics or sequential art, a term

coined by Will Eisner (McCloud, 1994) which I will be using henceforth, as an

scientific analytical tool. In ethnographic and ethno- methodologically inspired

research on educational situations, video and video analyses have become more or

less a standard technique. In transforming the overwhelmingly rich material into

useful transcripts the researcher faces an amount of difficulties. Too meagre

transcripts, concentrating on the spoken word could result in under analysis. If we

make rich transcripts, using CA concepts, describing activity in the room and the

screen, including body movements etc. we face the danger of rendering so

complicated transcripts that we only can analyze a fraction of the material we have.

My intention is to start in ordinary transcripts and analyses from previous text,

transform them into sequential art, and discuss analytical benefits and

shortcomings. I also intend to discuss some technical issues related to the making

of sequential art from video documentation.

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All material derives from my PhD project, were I’ve been following secondary

school students in independent work during a period of three years. My video

material have been transcribed and analysed with the aid of the Transana program.

The comics are made with the program Comic life.

The history of sequential art, or “juxtaposed pictorial and other images in a

deliberate sequence intended to convey information and/or to produce an aesthetic

response in the viewer” (McCloud, 1994) (p.9), is old. Maybe we can count the

Bauex tapestry from the tenth century or even the Lascaux cave paintings from 15

000 years ago as early sequential art. Pictorial stories with “language banners” can

be found in medieval paintings, the speech balloon were discovered fore the first

time in a manuscript from the twelfth century (Hegerfors & Nehlmark, 1973).

From a rather disdained art form, mostly associated with children stories,

sequential art has improved its reputation with masterpieces like Briggs When the

wind blows (Briggs, 1983) handling the fear of nuclear war, or Spiegelmans Maus

(Spiegelman, 1987) evolving round survivors of the Holocaust. Spiegleman

received a special Pulitzer prise in 1992 for Mause. Other worth mentioning are

Satrapis Persepolis handling the aftermath of the Muslim revolution in Iran

(Satrapi, 2003) or Karasik’s adaptation of Austers novell “The glass city” (Karasik,

Mazzucchelli, & Auster, 2005).

The interest for sequential art as an educational tool in the classroom is

noticeable when searching for articles and papers (Cary, 2006; Christensen, 2006;

Heffernan, 2008; Yang, 2008). In the last couple of years a growing interest in

sequential art as an analytic device has emerged. Sequential art have been described

as a tool for instruction (Mallia, 2007), used to analyse architectural work

(Ivarsson, 2008), to analyse interaction in cooperative computer assignments

(Greiffenhagen & Watson, 2007) or as a tool in science education (Lindwall,

2008). It has been suggested that the use of sequential art as a scientific tool implies

an earlier start of the analytic process. Analytic points must be present already in

the process of planning the strips.

The conventions of transcribing speech are well developed. CA has been a very

fruitful approach to the analysis of ‘naturally occurring’ conversation (C. Goodwin,

& Heritage, J. , 1990). CA was developed as an analytic approach to study verbal

conversation. Different attempts has been made to extend CA to analyse to non-

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verbal aspects of conversation, for example, the use of gaze in an conversation

(Charles Goodwin, 1979; C. Goodwin, 2000b). Goodwin tried to illustrate and

merge the illustration into the Ca transcript, thus visualizing the conversation.

Image 2: From Goodwin Practices of Seeing (C. Goodwin, 2000b)

Goodwin (C. Goodwin, 2000b) describes the visual attempts above as follows:

When it comes to the transcription of visual phenomena we are at the very

beginning of such a process. The arrows and other symbols I’ve used to mark gaze

on a transcript (see Goodwin 1981) capture only a small part of a larger complex

constituted by bodies interacting together in a relevant setting. The decision to

describe gaze in terms of the speaker-hearer framework is itself a major analytic

one, and by no means simple, neutral description. (p.161)

The attempt made above visualizes the verbal transcript but does not change the

core of it. It is still representation trough words. A famous attempt to visualize an

episode is Goodwin’s analysis of the interaction between some girls playing

hopscotch

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Image 3 From Goodwin action and embodiment (C. Goodwin, 2000a)

Here the visualization is driven further and he has transgressed the border between

mainly visual and mainly verbal representations.

I myself and my colleagues have used different techniques to illustrate

transcripts.

Image 4: from Unstructured information (Lars-Erik Nilsson et al., 2008)

The example above has moved towards the sequential art, it is indeed “juxtaposed

pictorial and other images in a deliberate sequence intended to convey information

and/or to produce an aesthetic response” but it is still an illustration to the verbal

conversation, we didn’t take the process all the way making it an integrated image

and text narration, a comic, a sequential art. As Chute (Chute & DeKoven, 2006)

puts it “In comics, the images are not illustrative of the text, but comprise a

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separate narrative thread that moves forward in time in a different way” In the

following I will start the discussion with exactly the episode used above.

The part of transcript we used for the analysis is as follows:

53. K: But check it out eh uhm

54. M: Presstext Yeah it remains there to [unhearable]

55. What do we actually mean by significance?

56. K: Oh, well they are a bit vague these questions.

57. M: Bra Böckers encyclopaedia

58. K: They only account for. The most important is this one actually.

59. M: Yes.

60. K: What impact has it made on the Swedish society that is what kind of

61. memories have been found what kind of memories have been found that is

62. what kind of things that stem from.

63. M: This is Bra Böckers encyclopaedia too shit.

64. K: But just take that one then

65. M: But the question is whether this is not just

66. K: But that’s where it originated from then we have these

67. there are booklets and that kind of to

68. M: What was that? Was it Bra Böckers lexicon?

69. K: No take Presstext check Sweden.

70. M: Should I search for Sweden?

71. K: Sweden

72. M: I still don’t think we will get something different. Then I think

73. we will only get the same thing.

The analytical points we made concerned the insecurity that M expresses. He is not

sure of the relevance of the material he finds. K agrees on the vagueness of the

assignment and tries to restructure the question, replacing the word impact with

memories. They approach the significance of the industrial revolution through

particularisation (Billig, 1988) trying to find out what is special to the case. Their

approach illustrates that searching involves more than knowledge of the subject and

the ability to handle tools searching; factors usually suggested in research on

information literacy (Limberg & Sundin, 2006).

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In developing the verbal transcript to a sequential art representation I will start

with a classic design.

Image 6 Significance and particularization 1

I will comment on the appearance of the images in a later section, and start up

with reflections on the narrative and how it is expressed in the panels. The texts in

the balloons are exactly the same as in the verbal transcript. Besides the balloons I

have used descriptive banners to emphasize non verbal events that I find important

in this sequence. I have inserted banners pointing to actions “M is writing” and

banners illustrating time laps “14, 2”. These are standard techniques even I CA

transcripts and could easily have been added to the verbal transcript by using the

conventions [M is writing in silence] and (.14, 2). But transforming this video

selection into panels of sequential art has forced me to make several analytical

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choices’. The sequence is 3, 5 minute long and consists of approximately 5000

separate frames. From these frames I have chosen eight images to illustrate and

narrate the event that takes place. I have made them in different size, thus

emphasise the importance of special parts. The second frame is specially chosen

from the part were M thinks silently since it illustrates a thoughtful (my

interpretation, maybe he has the cold and blows his nose) gesture. Already the

choice of camera position constitutes a theory about what is relevant within a

scene, one that will have enormous consequences for what can be seen in it later

(C. Goodwin, 1994) and all the decisions behind the construction of the panels

force me to move the analysis away from the verbal transcript toward the original

film, and later the representation of the film that I have made. I find this

extremely useful but time consuming. I will argue that the body positions and

(what you can discern of) the facial expressions adds another dimension of

understanding to the interpretation of the sequence. The convention of sequential

art helps me getting an emotional understanding and a perception of tone and

voice. It provides a visualization of interaction and turn taking. In making the

fourth panel bigger, and above all wider I can visualize a prolonged time, and

emphasise the importance of that special panel. That’s in line with the original

analyse me and my colleagues made from this transcript.

In this representation I have used traditional borders; each panel is surrounded

by black lines. The narration in sequential art happens in, what mcCloud

(McCloud, 1994) calls the gutter, between the frames. He states that “Comics is

closure (p.67) and discuss a number of different principles for these transitions.

Ault (Ault, 2004) states:

The comic page thus celebrates the incompleteness (lack) which produces its

structural specificity precisely at the cuts of the panel frames. What is left over, the

remainder in the blank space between the panels, performs the disruptive function

of the real. There is nothing in this space, but it introduces discontinuities into the

spaces of representation and allows the panels to assert themselves as fragments (p

3).

Making the choice of framing each image the time in the sequence is broken

apart. I have been playing with other framings.

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Image 7: Significance and

Image 8: Significance and particularization

particularization

ticularization 2

3

In image seven I have three separate frames,

thereby dividing the sequence in to

three separate parts. In image eight I

have chosen not to have any frames,

thus thus emphasizing the flow and the

turn taking and the exposedness of

this this special sequence. If I had chosen

to frame the whole sequence with with one

frame frame I could could further further have have stressed th the

e

simultaneousness of of the words

spoken. spoken.

Quite Quite opposi opposite

te to image eight is

im

age nine. Using the same images

and the same text I have put more

emphasis on the two individuals. I

have separated the middle panel into

two, and in the panels where there is

silence I have enlarged the image of M

and made him more of a central

I mage 9: Significance and particularization 4

figure. I could of course have mad

e K

the central fig ure by making him bigger

and

more dominant.

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All of this is considerations that are relevant for a comic artist, what kind of

feeling do I want to inoculate into the reader? But is it an acceptable choice when

sequential art is used in a scientific context?

My answer is yes. All analysis emanates from abbreviation and closure. One

objection could be that the technique makes it more difficult for other scientist to

reinterpret and reanalyse the sequence. This can be a valid objection if the

transcript is extremely detailed using all CA conventions and descriptions of body

orientation, gestures, facial expressions etc. Using video material in etnomethodo

logical studies implies that the analyses are made from the films, and the only fare

way of making a reanalysis is to use the films (which themselves are the result of

theoretical choices’).

The next example originates from the following transkript.

Heidi enters ”demands to become an astronaut” in the search engine

Google. She finds a doc-file, named “to become an astronaut”

Heidi: Look! Shit how great. Sources

too.

Heidi: No

Arvid: No

Heidi: No I don’t want to

Arvid: Hmm

Heidi [with emphasis] No then it feels

kind of as if I am taking his work. But if not why does he publish it on the

Internet.

Heidi Ok [Moves on to new pages]

Heidi: How you become an astronaut?

[reads aloud from the page]

Mats: How you become an astronaut. Study hard

Arvid: Ouch

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The analytical points made concerned Heidis refusal to copy the work she found

on the net. The action to refuse to use the text, linked to acts of appropriation and

issues of ownership, we it saw as an ethical substance. In discourse on plagiarism

this text would be a candidate for students to download and hand in as their own.

A ready to hand in essay just a mouse click away but here we could see how

different considerations were in play. Transformed to a sequential art the passage

could look like this.

Image 10: Emphasis and the unseen 1

The position of the camera in this shot does not allow us to see the facial

expressions of the students. As in the earlier example, the text in the sequential art

is the same as in the transcript we used in the paper. There are some points that are

emphasised in the strip. In the transcript we used conventions for non verbal

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activate to point towards difference in tone and voice [with emphasis]. In the

process of reviewing the film for this paper I noted that there was more than one

occasion where the students spoke with more stress in their voices. I could use the

sequential art conventions and use other types of balloons. The one used in panel 2

is called exclamation in the program. The first panel consists of two parts. A screen

dump showing the bibliography from the article is inserted as an actor in the

interaction. This could of course have been done within marks in the transcript,

but the mere fact that the bibliography consists of three items says something about

the text they have found. On other interesting analytical point is the third member

of the group. In the original transcript Mats is not present until the last two lines.

But he is still a member of the group. In image 11 Mats is visible through out the

whole sequence. It is possible to se his arm and leg in the three first panels, and he

leans in to the last panel, making his comment on how to become an astronaut,

“study hard”. In image 11 I have altered the image size and position, thus excluded

the presence of Mats, making the representation more like the original transcript.

Doing the analysis from the

film it is obvious that Mats

does not contribute to this

special turn taking. Prior to

the sequence Mats and Arvid

have had an other, more

private conversation. Heidi is

doing the work and attracts

the attention from Arvid.

Our analytical point was

about the decision of not

copy the text they found

even though the opportunity

was at hand. Since Mats

didn’t participate in the

decision it is tempting to

exclude him from the

visualization.

If the role of the analyst not

is to provide his or her own

gloss on how visual

phenomena might be

meaningful but to

demonstrate how the

participants orient

Image 11: Emphasis and the unseen 2

themselves (C. Goodwin,

2000b) this points towards a

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potential hazards in using this technique. The risk of overanalyses which

immediately will affect the creation process.

Antaki, Billig et al (Antaki, 2003) discuss the danger of under analysis. They point

out hazards connected with summary, over quotation and spotting. In using

sequential art as representation form the opposite is a greater danger. The

conventions behind sequential art are strong and the aesthetic considerations of the

cartoonist can easily take the upper hand. It is tempting to use an other frame than

the one were the actual sentence were spoken, in order to emphasise the

interpretation the analyst does. I will return to this question in the final discussion.

The last example comes from an analysis were the students are in the position of

starting up the analysis in their report. The original transcript reads:

A:17. Mat: But shouldn’t we as, in the analysis begin with ahh

A:18. Jan: Shouldn’t we check what the

A:19. Rasmus: Like?

A:20. Felicia: Questions

A:21. Rasmus: Yea like the questions

A:22. Marie: So you answer what

A:23. Rasmus: To the beginning, you should connect to the introduction

A:24. Jan: No

A:25. Rasmus: Yes

A:26. Marie: Yes that’s trough

A:27. Rasmus: You should connect to the introduction

A:28. Felicia: Yea exactly

A:29: Rasmus: What do we read?

A:30: Felicia: It could be what the introduction

A:31. Jan: Check out there

A:32. Marie: Thinking about when reading, is it that

The analytical points made concerned the turn taking and how the students

attempted to come to a mutual understanding of how to carry on. In the last lines

the group are evoking an external resource, the instruction that is out there (on the

intranet) and uses the instruction as a higher moral order(Heap, 1992) to solve

there disagreements. Transformed to a comic representation the passage looks like

this.

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In this strip I have used a different technique making the images, which I will

discuss later.

The pros with using a visual representation compared to the verbal above are the

feeling of direction

and the possibility to

illustrate and

understand how the

students orient

themselves when

speaking. In the

verbal transcript the

reading order does

not revile the

simultaneousness of

the speech. This is

possible to do using

CA conventions. But

the sequential

representations also

emphasises body

movements in a way

that would be

difficult to pinpoint

in the ordinary

transcript. Consider

the movements of

Rasmus (the boy

sitting to the left with

a black t-shirt)

Rasmus is the one

Image 12 Orientation and turntaking2

that starts the

sequence and he is

constantly moving his head towards Jan and towards the two girls.

Viewing the film, there is an obvious tension between Rasmus and Felicia (the

girl sitting to the right with a white tank-top). She is oriented from the group,

towards the papers she has on the table in front of her. This would be difficult to

illustrate in an ordinary transcript. Making these panels I have reduced the image

information by deleting everything in the background that is unimportant for the

analysis. Mallia (Mallia, 2007) discusses this (quoting(Dwyer, 1978)) in his writing

on instructions via sequential art.

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Since there are limits to the amount of information (stimuli) in visualization

that an individual can interact with simultaneously, one possible solution to

increase the effectiveness of visualization is to limit or reduce the amount of

information presented by the visual. (p.3)

I consider this unproblematic from an analytical point of view. All representations

leave information out. In choosing the sequential art as representation form the

readability has high priority.

As probably noted I have

used different kinds of

images in the different

panels I have been

discussing. There are

quite many

considerations that have

to be made, constructing

the images. They shall un

identify the students and

have explicitness and

expressiveness. Some of

the types I tried can be

seen to the right. I

exported film frames

using Adobe Premiere

and manipulated the

images in Photoshop and

Illustrator. All films used

for the examples in this

paper were Mpeg or Avi

with high resolution (720

Image 13: Image types

x576). I have previously

tried to use images from

low resolution films, but that is difficult, since it’s hard to catch relevant details.

Other an aspect in choosing image style is how time consuming it is to make them.

The two first examples trace and trace with colour group, I consider being the most

efficient. They have clarity and the students’ are absolutely impossible to identify.

Other an advantage with the traced images is the degree of iconisation. The more

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iconic an image is, the disconnected from a specific context and the more easy to

relate to. McCloud takes about amplification through simplification. By

simplifying and enhancing an artist picks up the individual elements he wants to

highlight, in a way that is difficult in the more realistic image. The traced images

are also the one that takes most time doing. In making the other four I have used

different kind of filters in Photoshop. That is a quicker way. The fresco filter is

maybe the most aesthetic but I consider it to photographic and the demand of un

identification is not fulfilled.

If comics are closure and the narrative take place between the panels we could face

a problem. Element of sequential art as fragmentation, cutting, jumping,

juxtaposing images and the choice of viewpoint are partly borrowed from cinema

(Drucker, 2008) (p.128). There are writers who has compared sequential art with

the montage film (Jones, 2005).

McCloud (McCloud, 1994) describes several different techniques (p.64ff) for

transition between panels. The most common transitions with in western

sequential art is action to action a topic transition which follows causality, subject

to subject were the reader makes the connection and the scene to scene transition,

common in films which reduce time and distance. All these are transition types

that require a lot of closure, there is a lot in the gutter. The first transition type he

describes is the moment to moment type. Here you stay within a sequence, an

event, and display a progress that goes over time. This results in a sequence that is

drawn out in time with very little closure. In all the strips I have made for this

paper I have used this kind of transition. It prolongs time and do not allow me to

save space compared to using an ordinary verbal transcript, on the contrary it

requires more space. Since it is the type of transitions where I as analyst have most

control of the reading process it’s also the transition that’s most suitable for use in a

scientific context. To return to the quote from Ault (Ault, 2004), by using the

moment to moment transition I reduce the “the incompleteness (lack) which

produces its structural specificity”.

In the first comic panel in this paper I, or a representation of me, were concerned

over how appropriate it is to use sequential art as an analytical tool and if it’s useful

in scientific work. Through the paper I have given examples emanating from

analysis me and my colleagues have done in previous texts. I have given examples

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of the usefulness but also lifted several considerations that have to be made, before

choosing this kind of representation.

On several occasions I have made comparison with CA. It has not been my

intention to express superiority for one ore the other. CA in constructed for

analysis of verbal interaction and is extremely well developed to illustrate all the

complexity of the spoken word.

Video and later digital film has developed as a standard technique in

ethnographic and ethno methodological studies. Since film is mainly a visual

medium, we need a visual representation that can dissolve the analytic boundaries

between language, cognitive processes, and structure in the material world.

Sequential art could develop to such a standard, at least for close analysis of shorter

sections. If we are talking about long episodes, the technique could be used for

illustrative purposes but not for analysis.

A problem that has to be considered carefully is the strength of the conventions

behind sequential art. I have mainly used the technique in presentations from my

research. On a conference or e lecture I can feel free to make the most effective

image illustrating my analytical points. If I need a frame with more expressiveness

in form of movement and expression to accompany a line of spoken word, I use

that even if the actual words wore spoken in another frame (there are of course

limitations on how freely you can act in those situations to). But in the case of

writing an article my freedom in choosing images and transitions are more limited.

Goodwin (C. Goodwin, 2000b) states that “the focus of analysis is not thus not

representations or vision per se, but instead the part played by visual phenomena in

the production of meaningful action”. Since the construction of strips or panels is

so infected with analytical stands it is important that the analysis is made from the

original movie. When the analyses are made and the points you intend to highlight

in a text or in an article are pined down, its time to make your art panel. Creating

ordinary verbal transcripts can be done without the analytic overlay that is

inevitable in making comics. The verbal transcript is a necessity also for the making

of sequential art, and the time spent on making representations differs considerably

between the two forms, not in favour of the comic strip. But as I, hopefully, have

shown in some of my examples, there are gains to be made, both analytically and

visually.

I earlier mentioned the possible problems for other scientist to use the sequential

art for reinterpretations. In this context it is of utterly importance that we can free

ourselves from the concept of art in sequential art. In this context it’s merely a

representation aimed at helping the thought in the analytical process. Looking

upon a sequence, a situation with analytical eyes is one kind of professional vision,

a socially organised ways of seeing and understanding events emerging from the

distinctive interests of this particular social group (C. Goodwin, 1994). McCloud

says that cartooning not is a way to draw, but a way to see therefore we should

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place the series in a conceptual world; it takes us into the inner world, and does not

reflect the external. If its so, is it still useful?

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Briggs, R. (1983). When the wind blows. London: Penguin Books.

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Christensen, L. L. (2006). Graphic Global Conflict: Graphic Novels in the High

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