A pathfinder analysis of pedagogical knowledge structures a follow-up investigation

Lynn Dale Housner, Rebecca Gomez, David C. Griffey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study is an extension of an earlier investigation of undergraduate students’ acquisition of key pedagogical concepts in a physical education teaching methodology course. In that study, Pathfinder, a method for eliciting associative memory networks, was used to describe and compare the pedagogical knowledge structures of students to that of the course instructor. After the course, students’ pedagogical knowledge structures corresponded more closely with that of the instructor, and students who corresponded the closest performed better in the course. The results raised an interesting issue regarding the acquisition of knowledge in undergraduate students. Did students acquire a generalizable body of pedagogical knowledge applicable beyond the context of the teaching methodology course or a highly contextualized reflection of their course instructor’s knowledge base?.In the present study the external validity of the pedagogical knowledge base was examined by using Pathfinder to compare the knowledge structures of students from the initial investigation with knowledge structures offive experienced teacher educators from five different teacher education programs. The findings indicated that students’ knowledge structures became significantly more correspondent with that of the experienced teachers’ structures from the beginning to the end of the course. Also, students’ correspondence with teacher educators’structures following instruction was found to be significantly correlated with academic and teaching performance. The findings point to the external validity of the domain of knowledge under study and the robustness of Pathfinder for capturing pedagogical knowledge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-299
Number of pages9
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1993


  • Cognition
  • Cognitive mapping
  • Knowledge structures
  • Pedagogical knowledge
  • Preservice teachers
  • Teacher educators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Nephrology


Dive into the research topics of 'A pathfinder analysis of pedagogical knowledge structures a follow-up investigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this