Etienne Wenger-Trayner


Boundaries and Boundary Objects: An Evaluation Framework for Mixed Methods Research

While mixed methods research is increasingly established as a methodological approach, researchers still struggle with boundaries arising from commitments to different methods and paradigms, and from attention to social justice. Combining two lines of work—social learning theory and the Imagine Program at the University of Brighton—we present an evaluation framework that was used to integrate the perspectives of multiple stakeholders in the program’s social interventions. We explore how this value-creation framework acts as a boundary object across boundaries of practice, specifically across quantitative and qualitative methods, philosophical paradigms, and participant perspectives. We argue that the framework’s focus on cycles of value creation provided the Imagine Program with a shared language for negotiating interpretation and action across those boundaries.

Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity

This book presents a theory of learning that starts with the assumption that engagement in social practice is the fundamental process by which we get to know what we know and by which we become who we are. The primary unit of analysis of this process is neither the individual nor social institutions, but the informal ‘communities of practice’ that people form as they pursue shared enterprises over time. To give a social account of learning, the theory explores in a systematic way the intersection of issues of community, social practice, meaning, and identity. The result is a broad framework for thinking about learning as a process of social participation. This ambitious but thoroughly accessible framework has relevance for the practitioner as well as the theoretician, presented with all the breadth, depth, and rigor necessary to address such a complex and yet profoundly human topic.

Digital Habitats

Technology has changed what it means for communities to ‘be together.’ Digital tools are now part of most communities’ habitats. This book develops a new literacy and language to describe the practice of stewarding technology for communities. Whether you want to ground your technology stewardship in theory and deepen your practice, whether you are a community leader or sponsor who wants to understand how communities and technology intersect, or whether you just want practical advice, this is the book for you.