Becoming and Belonging: Learning Qualitative Research Through Legitimate Peripheral Participation

  • Stuart Lee University of Victoria
  • Wolff-Michael Roth University of Victoria
Keywords: legitimate peripheral participation, becoming, subjectivity, identity, struggle


Legitimate peripheral participation" (LPP) involves learning as a situated individual engages in socially mediated activity. We report on our attempt to use legitimate peripheral participation as a double normative frame for defining (a) a doctoral program and the struggles that ensued as the two authors produced and reproduced their identities as graduate student and supervisor and (b) a methodology for doing research among environmental activists. This article is fundamentally about the production and reproduction of identity while a graduate student is becoming a member in two communities, that of (qualitative) researchers and that of the researched (environmentalists). We conceptualize struggle as transformative rather than destructive. We argue that this involved personal style of graduate training on research is part of methodologically sound and valid research training. We use individual and collective voice to create a literary structure that is reflexive of its content. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0302355


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Author Biographies

Stuart Lee, University of Victoria
Stuart LEE is a recent Ph.D. graduate in science education from University of Victoria. Currently, he is applying insights gained from his training in qualitative research and science-based community-level education as a policy analyst at Environment Canada.
Wolff-Michael Roth, University of Victoria
Wolff-Michael ROTH ( is Lansdowne Professor of applied cognitive science at the University of Victoria. His interdisciplinary research agenda includes studies in science and mathematics education, general education, applied cognitive science, sociology of science, and linguistics (pragmatics). His recent publications include Re/Constructing Elementary Science (with K. TOBIN & S. RITCHIE, Peter Lang, 2001), At the Elbows of Another: Learning to Teach by Coteaching (with K. TOBIN, Peter Lang, 2002), Science Education as/for Sociopolitical Action (ed. with J. DÉSAUTELS, Peter Lang, 2002), and Being and Becoming in the Classroom (Ablex Publishing, 2002).