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16-04-2024

Collections of Practice as High-Level Activity in a Digital Interest-Based Science Community

Authors: Lisa Lundgren, Kent J. Crippen

Published in: Journal of Science Education and Technology

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Abstract

The theoretical framework of communities of practice (CoP) is often used for framing research into online communities. However, there is an absence of measures and empirical work that evaluates knowledge-sharing within such communities. This represents a substantial gap in our understanding of informal learning for diverse people and in the case of communities that support participation in science, a potential loss of capacity for an enterprise that serves a critical function for society. Our objective is to operationalize practice within a designed online, scientific community and evaluate these behaviors as representative of seven theorized high-level groups. For this case study, content and social network analysis were applied to forums (n = 1858), activity posts (n = 1300), and direct messages (n = 667). Content analysis showed that community members most often used practices that were coded as social and not domain-specific. Differences existed in the ways that forums, messages, and activity posts were used as well as between education and outreach members and members of the public and scientists. Social network analysis revealed two domain-specific practices were central to the knowledge-sharing discourse. The seven theorized high-level groups were reduced to three. We provide a new empirically-based framework for use in identifying practices within the digital spaces as well as recommendations for designing online science communities that emphasize knowledge creation.

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Metadata
Title
Collections of Practice as High-Level Activity in a Digital Interest-Based Science Community
Authors
Lisa Lundgren
Kent J. Crippen
Publication date
16-04-2024
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Journal of Science Education and Technology
Print ISSN: 1059-0145
Electronic ISSN: 1573-1839
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10956-024-10111-1

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