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Domain, Community and Practice: An Empirical Investigation of the Relationship Between Communities of Practice and Professional Identity Among Veterinarians Open Access

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This exploratory study examined the relationship between communities of practice and professional identity. The purpose of the study was to quantitatively examine the extent to which there were relationships between Wenger's dimensions of community of practice (domain, community, and practice) and professional identity among veterinarians. This was accomplished by conducting a survey study using correlation analysis. The research question was as follows:To what extent are there relationships between Wenger's dimensions of community of practice (domain, community, and practice) and professional identity among veterinarians? A combined survey consisting of items from the Community of Practice Measure and the Professional Identity Survey was used to collect data. Snowball sampling techniques were used to recruit 125 veterinarians to participate in the study. To explore the research question, three sets of null and alternative hypotheses were developed and tested. Overall, the results showed that the dimensions of communities of practice had positive statistically significant relationships with the professional identity. Domain, community and practice all had moderate to low positive relationships with professional identity. The significance of this study is that it expanded Brown's (1997; 2007) conceptual framework of professional identity development. It also contributed to the body of knowledge on social science research conducted on veterinarians. Finally, it offered quantitative findings to the existing literature on communities of practice and professional identity--that is, as domain, community, and practice are enhanced, so is professional identity.

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