This study explored the role played by the development of discourse practices specific to a discipline in the professional identity development of graduate students. Qualitative methods were used to track 34 students at different stages of their doctoral programs, marked by important signposts of progress in their graduate studies in educational psychology. Grounded theory methods led to two themes: (a) students recognizing to varying degrees the need to change their ways of talking, reading, and writing, grounded in experiences with coursework, research activities, practicum sites, and various writing projects; and (b) formal and informal learning communities acting as sites to encourage students' development of disciplinary communication skills, including oral and written forms, as well as their professional identity. Findings highlighted how social science graduate students, throughout their program, developed their professional identity even as they acquired disciplinary discourse practices relevant to various professional situations they encounter.
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