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How do female students participate in online debates? Article

, University of South Alabama, United States ; , University of West Florida, United States ; , University of South Alabama, United States

International Journal on E-Learning Volume 9, Number 2, ISSN 1537-2456 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Chesapeake, VA


This case study focused on whether women, enrolled in a graduate course, would engage in online debate, and if so, whether their postings would contain traditional elements of argumentation (i.e., argue, elaborate, critique). Content analyses for two debates were performed. For the most part, the overarching messages in both debates were substantive in nature. Our analyses of embedded statements indicated that these women argued, provided evidence, elaborated on others' ideas and, surprisingly, critiqued others' comments in Debate 1. With the exception of critiquing others, they continued to use such elements even when directions became more general. Perhaps this was because of their initial guidance in debating and that this form of discourse was used periodically throughout the summer term. However, in both debates, they also chatted, acknowledged, and supported others, which are not typical elements of argumentation. This may indicate that women, at least in this instance, formed a different style of debating by incorporating their own communication style into the traditional argumentation format.


Davidson-Shivers, G.V., Ellis, H.H. & Amarasing, P.K. (2010). How do female students participate in online debates?. International Journal on E-Learning, 9(2), 169-183. Chesapeake, VA: AACE.


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