Professionals in higher education are expected to be informed consumers of knowledge who seek out scholarship, critical evaluators of the applicability of extant…
Professionals in higher education are expected to be informed consumers of knowledge who seek out scholarship, critical evaluators of the applicability of extant knowledge, and contributors who build new knowledge for higher education practice. Despite the understood importance of developing research competencies, many have limited opportunities to develop these skills. This study aims to explore one way individuals develop research competencies: through participation in team-based research experiences.
A longitudinal case study approach was used to investigate what participants in an education research group learn, and how their participation in the group changes the ways in which they think about themselves as researchers and scholars. Four group members participated in two focus group interviews (at the end of the fall 2015 and spring 2016 academic semesters). Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis.
Study participants report gaining knowledge about research, developing an identity as a researcher, and learning about faculty roles. Particular group practices and activities (e.g. full group meetings, subgroup meetings, professional development moments) helped mediate members’ learning and identity development.
Research groups should be considered valuable contexts where teaching and learning take place. By learning – and integrating what we learn – from research group participation, the higher education and student affairs fields may become better able to generate innovative practices and activities that provide students and professionals with opportunities to develop important research competencies.