Bidirectional Artifact Analysis

A Method for Analyzing Digitally Mediated Creative Processes

Authored by: Erica Halverson , Alecia Magnifico

Handbook of Design in Educational Technology

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  June  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415807340
eBook ISBN: 9780203075227
Adobe ISBN: 9781135118969


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In this chapter, we describe bidirectional artifact analysis, an analytic method for understanding creative, digital production processes through ethnographic observations of participants in situ, the artifacts they create, and interviews with participants as they describe their activities over time. Marrying narrative analysis (Halverson, 2008; Labov, 1997), discourse analysis (Wood & Kroger, 2000), and artifact analysis, this framework echoes and extends Enyedy’s (2005) description of bidirectional analysis: “go[ing] ‘backwards’ in time in an attempt to trace the origins of this intervention and ‘forwards’ in time to examine what subsequent impact it had on the way other students reasoned” (p. 437). While typical descriptive analyses move forward, we, like Enyedy, have found that moving bidirectionally—from final product backward and from initial idea forward—helps us to better understand participants’ learning, as well as the role of social and collaborative audiences in that learning.

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