Epistemic Network Analysis

Erin Peters-Burton of George Mason University
Liz Bergeron of New Tech Network

Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA) is a method of inquiry used to map a particular group’s epistemic understanding of science. It is a method adapted from social network analysis, but instead of people as nodes on the map, the nodes represent ideas. These maps are helpful in understanding how a group understands the ways ideas are connected to each other, which ideas anchor other ideas, and which ideas are central to the group. The method was created to respond to nature of science studies that “bucket” ideas into naive, emerging and sophisticated without illustrating connectedness or hierarchy.

Peters-Burton, E. E. (2015). Outcomes of a self-regulatory curriculum model: Network analysis of middle school students’ views of nature of science. Science & Education, 24, 855-885. DOI: 10.1007/s11191-015-9769-3

Peters-Burton, E. E. & Baynard, E. (2013). Network analysis of domains of knowledge about the scientific enterprise: A comparison of scientists, middle school science teachers and 8th grade science students. International Journal of Science Education, 35, 2801-2837. DOI:10.1080/09500693.2012.662609