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Suh, Won-Joo (2010) 'Personal Meaning Mapping (PMM): A Qualitative Research Method for Museum Education.' Journal of Museum Education, 4. pp. 61-82.

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Qualitative research in education has been widely conducted in the West and settled as a research method in Korea. There has been a lot of qualitative research in museum education; however, only a little has been done in the field of learning from museum experience. Hence, this paper introduces 'Personal Meaning Mapping (PMM)' as a qualitative research method for museum education, and endeavours to discuss its theoretical background and its strengths and weaknesses. PMM was developed by John F. Falk and his colleagues in 1998 in order to assess the impact of educational experiences on individual learning. Originally, PMM was derived from Concept Mapping devised by Joseph Novak in 1970s, which was criticised by Falk for its complexity and positivism. The data collection process of PMM involves two open-ended interviews, before and after the educational experience. Participants are given a blank paper with a prompt (a key word) written on it, and invited to write or draw anything the word reminds them of. Once completed, they are asked to make amendments to the responses or add more information. PMM analyses the responses along with four semi-independent dimensions: Extent, Breadth, Depth and Mastery. First three dimensions are an independent measure and the last dimension is a holistic analysis. PMM data can be interpreted within and across individuals. This analysis is useful to illustrate the learning outcomes from the same educational experiences across the different learners. PMM is also applicable to longitudinal studies. The strengths of PMM are easiness, flexibility, ethicality and abundance of data. Given the short history of PMM, this method is still under development and has weakness to amend. Therefore, it is recommended that each researcher adapt the method according to their own needs for further development.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: qualitative research, Personal Meaning Mapping (PMM), museum education, visitor, experience, learning, research method
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Languages of the Wider World CETL
ISSN: 1976622X
Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2010 08:52

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