The Concepts of Domain, Discourse Community and Epistemic Community

affinities and specificities


  • Isadora Victorino Evangelista UFSCar
  • Maria Cláudia Cabrini Grácio Universidade Estadual Paulista - UNESP
  • José Augusto Chaves Guimarães Universidade Estadual Paulista - UNESP



Information Science, Domain, Discourse Community, Epistemic Community


The characteristics or properties that underlie the concept of community are present in several social groups which have some similarity in their distinctive features and they act as a core to the construction of the concepts of Domain, Discourse Community and Epistemic Community, which are fundamental to the research in several fields of knowledge. Considering the conceptual triangle – Domain, Discourse Community, and Epistemic Community - this study aims to examine theoretical and methodological aspects related to them by investigating their characterizing features and, consequently, their main distinctions and similarities, especially regarding the universe of Information Science. Thus, the aim of this essay is to contribute to the deepening of the theoretical understanding of the concepts covered, reflecting on their compatibilities, as well as the characteristics that distinguish and specify them. For this, the methodological choice was centered into retrieving and analyzing the seminal authors of the three considered dimensions – domain, discourse community, and epistemic community – according to their recurrent citing presence in the scientific literature.  It was therefore possible to see that these concepts have similarities to each other, such as their contexts arising from the need to understand sociological aspects of science; the mutual understanding among its members about the specialized languages and theoretical bases used; the analysis based on tacit documents, duly expressed and recorded. These aspects of similarities demonstrate that these concepts can be understood as belonging to the same set, and inserted in the overarching area of Sociology of Science. Even so, these concepts have their features, which distinguish their analysis objectives and also their peculiar scientific biases.


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“The Concepts of Domain, Discourse Community and Epistemic Community: Affinities and Specificities”. Brazilian Journal of Information Science: Research Trends, vol. 16, março de 2022, p. e02138,

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