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An ongoing study of the structure, function, and evolution of individual activity within lab groups is introduced. This study makes extensive use of techniques from social network analysis. These techniques allow rigorous quantification and hypothesis-testing of the interactions inherent in social groups and the impact of intrinsic characteristics of individuals on their social interactions. As these techniques are novel within the physics education research community, an overview of their meaning and application is given. We then present preliminary results from videotaped laboratory groups involving mixed populations of traditional and non-traditional students in an introductory algebra-based physics course.
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