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Studying collaboration and its support by IT in experiments has been limited to collecting and analyzing collaboration products and performance criteria ex post. This paper presents CoPrA, a Collaboration Process Analysis technique, which allows investigating behavior of individuals in distributed groups mediated by collaboration technology from a process-oriented perspective. Based on coded communication logs, CoPrA uses information on user participation and actions performed by group members to extract similarities or differences within and between groups. The analysis' results answer questions such as whether groups adopt treatments in experimental settings, whether and when patterns of collaboration change over time, and how comprehensively participants negotiate during collaboration. Thus, CoPrA can enhance our understanding of collaboration processes and additionally provides grounds for richer analysis and increased internal validity of experimental data. Applicability of the technique is demonstrated with a laboratory experiment investigating the impact of process structure on patterns of collaboration.
Date of Conference: 4-7 Jan. 2012