Microgenetic learning analysis: A methodology for studying knowledge in transition

Orit Parnafes, Andrea A. Disessa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


This paper introduces and exemplifies a qualitative method for studying learning, microgenetic learning analysis (MLA), which is aimed jointly at developing theory and at establishing useful empirical results. Among modern methodologies, the focus on theory is somewhat distinctive. We use two strategies to describe MLA. First, we develop a framework for comparing the focus and means of different methods, particularly qualitative methods, aimed at studying learning. Using the framework, we compare and contrast MLA with two better-known methods, microgenetic analysis and grounded theory. Second, we aim to schematize elements of MLA-from large-scale patterns of work to detailed analytical strategies-and to exemplify some of them in a case study using data collected some years prior to this elaboration of MLA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-37
Number of pages33
JournalHuman Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Conceptual change
  • Knowledge analysis
  • Learning theory
  • Microgenetic analysis
  • Qualitative methods
  • Theory building

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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