Reasoning, argumentative interaction and idea life cycles during group product ideation in higher education
Baizhanova, Aizhan (2023-05-17)
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This study presents the analysis of the use of argument in group ideation process in higher education settings. The need for such analysis is dictated by the fact that students in higher education are one step away from joining wider professional communities, where the ability to engage in joint brainstorming and evaluating new products is in high demand. The study data consists of transcripts of ideation discussions of two groups of master’s degree students. The task for both groups was to imagine and formulate a future AI-based teaching/learning assistant, prepare a short verbal presentation of the product, and present it to the whole class. The analysis is arranged in three steps. First, frequency and quality of grounded claims is evaluated using Toulmin’s Argumentation Pattern. Then, the type of talk is determined using the indicators of exploratory, cumulative and disputational talk (Mercer, 1996), the interplay between types of talk is examined. Finally, idea life cycles and reasoning behind idea demotion is investigated. The results indicate that 1) arguments are provided rarely, but when provided, most of them (2/3) are complete; 2) exploratory talk manifests mostly in elaborations on peers’ ideas, whereas reasoning (justifications) to own ideas and critical evaluation is less frequent; these factors characterise the discussions more as co-constructive interaction rather than exploratory talk; 3) dominance of elaborative comments on an idea leads to inclusion the idea in group solution; reasoning for idea demotion varies remarkably between the two groups (56% vs. 80%). These outcomes indicate that students might benefit from enhancing their reasoning to be ready for workplace ideation in groups. From task design view, clear product metrics should be set, and a line drawn between brainstorming and evaluation phase, to prevent unreasoned idea demoting in brainstorming and stimulate questioning and reasoning in evaluation.
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