Document Type


Publication Date

December 2018

Publication Title

Physical Review Physics Education Research




We analyze how participating in undergraduate research experiences (UREs) influenced physics students’ trajectories of participation within the community of practice of physics researchers. Students in the study participated in an elective seminar in which they were paired with graduate student and faculty mentors on physics research projects and participated in weekly discussions about research. Using video data from student interviews and mentor interviews, we characterize two aspects of students’ engagement in the physics community of practice. First, we find variations in their engagement in physics practice, which we characterize as physics activities that are connected and purposeful. Second, we characterize forms of joint work by the research project’s form and structure and by patterns of interaction between undergraduates and mentors. We argue that forms of joint work influenced students’ varied senses of how physics activities are connected and purposeful. Finally, we use this understanding to suggest how to better scaffold UREs.


SJSU users: Use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.This article was published in Physical Review Physics Education Research, volume 14, issue 2, 2018, and can also be found at this link. Copyright © 2018, American Physical Society

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