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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate how research apprenticeships shaped students' views of the culture and practice of science. Twenty-seven 11th and 12th graders from across the United States and American Samoa participating in a summer research program were interviewed individually three times over 7 weeks. Seven students were selected as a representative focus group, and in addition to interviews, their journals, entrance questionnaires, and exit questionnaires were analyzed for what they revealed about students' ideas of what constituted scientific work, of the research process, of the existence and importance of communities in which they participated, and of the roles they played in these communities. Based on the pattern of student comments and perspectives, we identified four dimensions of scientific practice and culture whose salience and complexity increased and became articulated over the 7-week period. These dimensions included technical language, collaboration, uncertainty, and inquiry. The learning that took place with regard to these dimensions took place within three program-embedded communities, which we identified as laboratory-centered, program-centered, and peer-centered. The roles students played in these communities and the degree to which they could make use of resources within them contributed to students' view of scientific practice and culture, and to the development of the identity kits they began to construct of themselves as scientists. © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 36: 677–697, 1999