Some Epistemological Groundwork for a Qualitative Analysis of a Communication Community of Practice

Debora Rolfes, Corey Owen


This paper describes a study that attempts to assess learning transfer in an engineering communication programme through a qualitative study using narrative and rhetorical theory, both of which are humanistic theories that have only recently been considered in such assessment. The communication
programme attempts to foster a communication community of practice among its students, and thereby ensure that the skills they cultivate in the classroom can be applied in the various contexts provided by the engineering profession. The researchers use narrative and rhetorical theory to analyze transcripts of in-depth interviews, in order to detect evidence of what Etienne
Wenger would regard as an identity of participation.

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