Work-based researchers and communities of practice: conceptual and gestational dilemmas
Drawing on a presumption that a Community of Practice (COP) can add significant value to the situated learning development of adults in any context, this paper exposes and analyses the challenges faced in facilitating the development of a COP involving part-time work-based researchers. Using an empirical case example involving a collaborative research network of five industry organisations and a university, the specific purpose (and outcomes) of this paper are to (a) conceptualise a researcher COP involving part-time work-based PhD and Masters of Philosophy candidates (b) examine the pragmatic dilemmas these part-time researchers face in seeking to develop such a supportive social learning construct in respect to their research activities (c) tentatively indicate some challenges that higher education institutions and industry organisations confront in facilitating and nurturing such learning structures which span industry and academia contexts. Through its analysis, this paper draws attention towards the complex issues involved in developing a functioning rather than the often idealised COP in the part-time work-based researcher space.
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