Students as co- researchers in epistemic communities: new forms of engagement and knowledge construction.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review


This paper considers the role of students in participating in research in epistemic communities as valued contributors to new forms of knowledge and practice. Engagement is a key concern in higher education (Trowler, 2010). Frequently, definitions imply normative ‘requirements’ where engagement is seen as a mechanism for improving individual attitudes to learning. By contrast, epistemic engagement understands knowledge and learning as practices within the structure of a domain and disciplinary community. Such knowledge building practices are typical of disciplinary communities and constructed through a wide range of opportunities for intellectual engagement and interaction (Larreamendy-Joerns & Leinhardt, 2006).
Inquiry-based activities in the undergraduate curriculum have long been seen as beneficial to student learning in encouraging active engagement. A more radical rethinking of what constitutes ‘the student experience’ has led to the ‘student as producer’ movement (Neary & Winn, 2009) where joint production of socially important knowledge is emphasised. This paper reports on a growing area of co-researcher models that builds on these ideas, in particular in research on digital media in undergraduate education. Past and current studies will show how the research approach has been adopted, highlighting practical implications and key challenges including power relations, differences in purposes, accreditation, assessment constraints and equality of access and involvement.
We conclude that collaborative research models are mutually beneficial, providing opportunities for authentic research, relevant to and valued by students’ epistemic community. This approach can also lead to the development of new relationships, knowledge and research expertise and increased opportunities for authenticity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2013
EventStudent as Producer Conference - University of Lincoln, Lincoln, United Kingdom
Duration: 26 Jun 201327 Jun 2013


ConferenceStudent as Producer Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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