'In practice it doesn't always work out like that.' Undergraduate experiences in a research community of practice
John, J. and Creighton, J. (2013) 'In practice it doesn't always work out like that.' Undergraduate experiences in a research community of practice. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 37 (6). pp. 750-768. ISSN 1469-9486
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1080/0309877X.2012.684037
This paper examines the extent to which a structured undergraduate research intervention, UROP, permits undergraduate students early access to legitimate peripheral participation (LPP) in a research community of practice. Accounts of placement experiences suggest that UROP affords rich possibilities for engagement with research practice. Undergraduates tread a path of gaining access to mature practice while also building their own independence, participating in work that they see matters to the community and making gains in use of a shared research repertoire. Students place UROP experiences in a contrasting frame to research exercises experienced during degree programmes; their sense of the authenticity of the research experienced through UROP emerges as a key element of these accounts. The data generate the interesting question that the degree of engagement with mature practice may account for more of the gain from UROP than simply the quantity of contact other researchers.