Research Communities of Practice

A research community of practice is characterized by a philosophy of collective growth in which researchers, students, and library professionals convene around common interests that may include methods, software/tools, types of data, and/or other research topics. A community of practice, while also involving library instruction for campus research community partners around specific skills, is distinct from a workshop, seminar, presentation series, or training sessions because of the level of direct, sustained engagement, prolonged co-discovery, and organic, community-driven design. This is a format for learning that seeks to level the field for individuals at all stations within the university. While a project team or project idea may be impetus for a group to come together, the program is not exclusively about project development, but maintains a focus on collective experience and growth.The research community of practice is governed by the following concepts:
  • The community develops questions, goals, and content together across sessions
  • The library becomes the space and facilitator, but is not ultimately the driver of the sessions
  • Multiple levels of skill are welcomed and supported
  • A spirit of experimentation, play, and curiosity is encouraged
  • Sessions are informal
  • All voices and perspectives are important

The motivating factors for taking on a research community of practice are considered on a case by case basis and rely on the expressed needs of a group of individuals with clearly defined interests and learning experiences that may be best reached through active experimentation and engagement among a community of team members. Potential identifying elements and considerations for facilitation include:
  • Identification of clearly defined subject of interest and needs with goals/outcomes that are focused on achieving new skills in the context of research interests
  • Commitment to team partnership across a series of sessions with a willingness to engage in experimentation with curiosity
  • Group goals that are congruent with DRC skills and resources

Please contact us if you are interested in building a community of practice with the Digital Research Commons.