Network cartography of university students’ knowledge landscapes about the history of science: landmarks and thematic communities

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/299136

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Applied Network Science. 2019 Feb 15;4(1):6

Title: Network cartography of university students’ knowledge landscapes about the history of science: landmarks and thematic communities
Author: Lommi, Henri; Koponen, Ismo T.
Publisher: Springer International Publishing
Date: 2019-02-15
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/299136
Abstract: Abstract We examine students’ representations of their conceptions of the interlinked nature of science history and general history, as well as cultural history. Such knowledge landscapes of the history of science are explored by using the knowledge cartographic, network-based method of analysis to reveal the key items, landmarks, of the landscapes. We show that Katz centrality and Katz centrality efficiency are robust and reliable measures for finding landmarks. It is shown that landmarks are most often persons but include also colligatory landmarks, which refer to broader sets of events or ideas. By using Katz centrality we study how landmarks depend on periodisation of the networks to see what kinds of changes occur by changing the time window on history. The community structure of the networks is studied by using the Louvain method, to reveal the strong thematic dependence of the communities. When landmarks are studied in relation to community structure, it is found that colligatory landmarks gain importance in relation to person-centred landmarks. Network-based cartography thus reveals many features about landmarks, how communities emerge around them and how they depend on periodisation, which traditional methods can only detect or identify with difficulty. Such knowledge has direct impact on the design and planning of education and courses which could better address the need to facilitate a deeper understanding of the related nature of science history and history in general.
Subject: Concept networks
Learning history of science
Thematic attributes
Katz centrality
Community structure
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