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Methods for Analysing the Content and Knowledge-structures of Essay-type Answers

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The article discusses the anatomy of essay-type answers, and the thought processes, knowledge structures epitomised in them, and three different approaches to analysing essays. These are 1) holistic analysis of the comprehensiveness and structure of the content, 2) close analysis of the content quality, and 3) analysis of semantic relations. The data used in these analytical approaches were 550 history essays from 12 Finnish senior secondary schools in the final examination, and in analyses 2-3, a set of 30 essays. The analysis models revealed remarkable differences in essay quality, and in-depth coverage of the content coincides with coherence and integration.
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Keywords: content analysis; essays; evaluation criteria; excellence; school assessment

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Turku

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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  • Educational Practice and Theory is a bi-annual, independent, refereed journal which, since its launch in 1978, has become an important independent forum for original ideas in education. It publishes innovative and original research in the area. Its focus is both applied and theoretical and it seeks articles from a diverse range of themes and countries.
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