Munich Center of the Learning Sciences

Links and Functions

Breadcrumb Navigation


Quantitative Ethnographyː Open source tools for analysing large sets of discourse data

Workshop held by David Williamson Shaffer (University of Wisconsin-Madison)


On behalf of the REASON program at the Munich Center of the Learning Sciences (MCLS) we are very happy to announce the:

Shaffer_bio_5x7Interactive Workshop on Quantitative Ethnographyː Open source tools for analysing large sets of discourse data

held by Prof. David Williamson Shaffer, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thursday 17.01.2019, 9:00-17:00, Room 3221

This workshop will introduce participants to Quantitative Ethnography, a set of tools for modeling complex and collaborative thinking. A central premise of Quantitative Ethnography is learning is a process of enculturation in which students learn to make relevant connections among the skills, concepts, and/or practices in a domain. Quantitative Ethnography models the structure of these connections in large- and small-scale datasets, and logfiles of many kinds, including transcripts of structured and semi-structured interviews or video data, games and simulations, chat, email, and social media. By modeling patterns of connections in discourse, Quantitative Ethnography helps researchers quantify and visualize the development of complex and collaborative thinking.

This interactive workshop will provide an overview of Quantitative Ethnography, with an emphasis on the conceptual and practical issues of data management, coding, and modeling, and open-source tools to address these issues: nCoder, a tool for generating and validating qualitative codes; and ENA, a tool for modelling, visualizing, and testing connections in data. A laptop with web access is helpful, but not required.

Short Bio

David Williamson Shaffer is the Vilas Distinguished Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Department of Educational Psychology, the Obel Professor of Learning Analytics at Aalborg University in Copenhagen, and a Data Philosopher at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. He is the author of How Computer Games Help Children Learn and Quantitative Ethnography.


We are looking forward to welcoming many interested participants!

Please register for participation at