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This paper reports a quasi-experimental study carried out with two social technologies in order to support and enhance collaborative knowledge construction among doctoral students discussing research papers. We conducted a fine-grained investigation of discourse in both systems by using three coherent theories of collaborative learning to guide three different methods of analysis. We started our investigation by analyzing the content of discussions in search for active meaning making. Then, we examined the interaction processes to identify new cognitions emerged from interacting individuals. We completed our investigation by evaluating the positive interdependence of distributed competencies in each group. Results indicate that the anchored discussion system seems to be particularly suited for theory-oriented collaborative processing of research papers.