The Role of Data Reuse in the Apprenticeship Process

by: Adam Kriesberg, Rebecca D. Frank, Ixchel M. Faniel and Elizabeth Yakel

The availability of research data through digital repositories has made data reuse a possibility in a growing number of fields. This paper reports on the results of interviews with 27 zoologists, 43 quantitative social scientists and 22 archaeologists. It examines how data reuse contributes to the apprenticeship process and aids students in becoming full members of scholarly disciplines. Specifically, it investigates how data reuse contributes to the processes by which novice researchers join academic communities of practice. We demonstrate how projects involving data reuse provide a unique opportunity for advisors to mentor novices through the process of creating knowledge. In these situations, senior researchers model general reuse practices and impart skills for their students to use in the future when selecting, evaluating, and analyzing data they did not collect. For novices, data reuse constitutes a form of legitimate peripheral participation, a way for them to enter the community of practice by analyzing data that has been previously collected and reflecting on others’ methodologies. Our study findings indicate that reuse occurs across each target community studied. They also suggest how repositories can help foster a reuse culture by providing access to data and building trust in research communities.

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Suggested Citation:

Kriesberg, Adam, Rebecca D. Frank, Ixchel M. Faniel and Elizabeth Yakel. 2013. "The Role of Data Reuse in the Apprenticeship Process." ASIS&T 2013 Annual Meeting Proceedings, Montréal, Québec, Canada. Preprint available online at apprenticeship.pdf