Measurement of Cognitive Structure in the Domain of Art History Academic Article uri icon


  • This research represents the first known application of protocol analysis to a liberal arts knowledge domain. The purpose of this study was to capture differences in cognitive structure between experts and novices in the area of art history. A sorting task consisting of twenty-five reproductions of paintings and prints covering the 14th through the 20th centuries was used to elicit verbal protocol data from a sample of four experts and four novices. The protocols were then transcribed and scored using concept mapping and content analysis procedures. Three knowledge breadth measures, concept map propositions, concept map examples, and implicit propositions, were strongly correlated with membership in the expert or novice group. In addition, the knowledge depth measure, concept map hierarchy levels, was also strongly correlated with the group membership variable suggesting that, as predicted, experts produced a significantly greater number of concept map propositions, examples, hierarchy levels, and implicit propositions than novices. Subsequently, three discriminant analyses related to the three hypotheses of the study correctly classified 100 percent, 87.5 percent, and 100 percent of the grouped cases, respectively. Univariate F tests were statistically significant in all three analyses suggesting that the knowledge structures of experts evidence greater breadth and depth than those of novices and are related to particular elements of experience.

published proceedings

  • Empirical Studies of the Arts

author list (cited authors)

  • Beyerlein, S. T., Beyerlein, M. M., & Markley, R. P.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Beyerlein, Susan Tull||Beyerlein, Michael Martin||Markley, Robert P

publication date

  • January 1991