The expected value test: a new statistical warrant for theoretical saturation

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The basic goal of quantitative ethnography (QE) is to use statistics to warrant theoretical saturation. In QE studies that use epistemic network analysis (ENA), statistical comparisons between two or more samples are often used as warrants. However, no standard quantitative techniques have been developed to provide warrants absent of differences between samples—e.g., for the data overall or for particular individuals in the data. In this paper, I introduce the expected value test (EVT), a technique for finding statistical warrants for single samples in the context of ENA-based QE analyses. Building on the concepts of agreement due to chance and randomization, the EVT generates a distribution of networks whose edge weights approximate the expected value of the edge weights due to chance. Using these distributions affords tests of statistical significance been observed networks and chance-based networks. These tests provide warrants that connections observed qualitatively and measured by ENA are theoretically saturated.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThird International Conference, ICQE 2021 Virtual Event, November 6–11, 2021 Proceedings
EditorsBarbara Wasson, Szilvia Zörgő
Place of PublicationCham Switzerland
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030938598
ISBN (Print)9783030938581
Publication statusPublished - 2022
EventInternational Conference on Quantitative Ethnography 2021 - Online, United States of America
Duration: 6 Nov 202111 Nov 2021
Conference number: 3rd (Proceedings)

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
ISSN (Print)1865-0929
ISSN (Electronic)1865-0937


ConferenceInternational Conference on Quantitative Ethnography 2021
Abbreviated titleICQE 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Cohen’s kappa
  • Epistemic network analysis
  • One-sample tests
  • Quantitative ethnographic methods
  • Randomization tests

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