Think Aloud Analysis

Now that you’ve performed your think aloud, the next step is to analyze your think aloud along with one other think aloud from the class. A list of all the think alouds from the class is below.

The idea is to identify key elements, examine moments of confusion, negotiation, or understanding, and devise a framework that accounts for the different reading strategies you’ve identified. The underlying concern of this project is to better understand how we read electronic literature (“read” and “electronic literature” being two concepts we’ll use in their most expansive, inclusive forms).

Here’s how to go about your analysis:

  1. Start by watching your own think-aloud. Upon your first viewing simply jot down your impressions. Note which specific moments are interesting to you or catch your eye. Use the video’s time code to keep track of these points.
  2. Watch the video again, this time trying to describe what makes those moments you noticed interesting. Is it a moment of deepening understanding? A moment of frustration or confusion?
  3. Either building upon the previous step or focusing upon other spots in the video, begin to analyze the specific reading strategies (“rules of reading”) you employed. What techniques did you use to negotiate meaning? Did epistemological approaches we’ve read about come into play? (Examples of such approaches come from Wardrip-Fruin, Rabinowitz, and Murray.) Did you fixate on certain things? Did you ignore others? What did you gravitate towards? What other strategies advanced or hindered understanding?
  4. And here is the meta-moment: what kinds of knowledge come into play during the think-aloud? Broadly speaking, we can think about learners having several types of “knowledge” at work in any given situation*:
    • Formal Knowledge (Content-based knowledge in a specific field of expertise, say digital poetry, or even more generally, knowledge of poetic terms and techniques)
    • Informal Knowledge (Knowledge outside a specific field, what we might think of as “common sense” or “intuitive” knowledge)
    • Procedural Knowledge (Skill-based knowledge, familiarity with relevant methodology or approaches; if formal knowledge is “knowing about…” then procedural knowledge is “knowing how to…”)
    • Self-Regulatory Knowledge (Awareness of the limits or gaps in one’s own knowledge; knowledge that guides the application of other knowledge)

Take plenty of notes during this process, and then repeat by choosing a second think aloud, from one of your classmates. But before you watch the second think aloud, familiarize yourself with the work being talked about. Then go through the above 4 steps once more.

Exactly how you write up this analysis is up to you. As a more traditional paper, it might be 5-7 pages long. If it makes sense, you can incorporate visual elements, such as a timeline or chart, or a concept map. You can make the entire analysis digital as well, using something like Twine or a timeline tool. Whatever your approach, the goal is both (1) to highlight specific e-lit reading strategies and their deployment; (2) identify and analyze common bottlenecks and breakthrough moments; and (3) to synthesize your findings about knowledge and the process of the reading e-lit. Your goal is not to judge the two think alouds or to draw evaluative comparisons between the two.

The deadline for this analysis is 9pm, Saturday, October 24.

* These categories of knowledge are adapted from Carl Bereiter, Surpassing Ourselves: An Inquiry into the Nature and Implications of Expertise, Chicago: Open Court, 1993.

Compilation of Think-Alouds

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