This blog provides a space to discuss the combination of design and development processes with rigorous research processes. Relevant to different areas of educational research as well as fields of engineering, product development and other disciplines involving both design and research, this emergent area is in need of further definition and articulation. We hope you will contribute to the discussion and sharing of resources as we attempt to better define the practice of design research.



  1. That part of the reading about how to assess collective activity in larger group was interesting for me. It is a challenge that we determine if there is general understanding in a large group or not. I think there is no problem to determine a user understanding individualy but in a large group I would be hard. In this reading of – Enabling Innovations in Education and Systematicizing Their Impact, it talks about Toulmin’s basic model which represents four parts: the data, the claim, the warrant, and the backing. The reading did not give much information about the model. However, I did some google search to know about the model in more details. I found more details about the model which makes more sense supported with examples. http://owlet.letu.edu/contenthtml/research/toulmin.html

  2. I’ve done some Doctoral research with experienced teachers in NSW state schools using aspects of DBR to explore the design principles that underpin leadership development for this group. My theory base was Kolb (1984) experiential learning; Argyris and Schon (1976) and Isaacs (1993) ‘double and triple loop learning’ with a focus on reflection; and Engestrom’s (2004) stages of developmental learning. I did two iterations with teachers to establish the learning activities that motivated them to be interested in leadership development.

    I’m wondering if you know of any other DBR research on adult learning as most seems to be with students?

    I’m now at a quandery as to what methodology I did use seeing I’m told that DBR should have numerous iterations (at least 4, I’VE ONLY GOT TWO). I also believe that to get commitment to 4+ iterations teachers need to be convinced of the ‘real world’ applicability of DBR to practice. The teachers went through Reeves model (2000, 2006) of the phases of design research. They identified the research question, chose strategies to trial (individuals volunteered) in the school context re leadership e.g. shadowing, debriefing with a friend, and all 14 participants triallled leadership projects in their school with two iterations of Facilitated Reciprocal Peer Coaching using the GROW model, which focused on guided questions and stimulated iterations(2) of professional dialogue and reflection around the leadership projects (the second cycle being different from the first in that they discussed the learning principles that have the greatest potential to motivate leadership development. The 3 groups came together to discuss their findings and established the design principles.

    Can I call it teacher design research??

    Please help.


    Cheryl Bell

  3. User research and usability testing are two faces for the same coin. Both are depending heavily on user interaction with the design and development phases. The designer starts with the end user, or the client in some situations, to gather as much data as possible to be in their shoes. Then, as the design moves on, the users should be part of the formative evaluation to insure that the product really fulfill their needs “and not the designer’s expectations only”. As I read through Kuniavsky’s book, I start to realize that we need to listen to our users/clients and ingage them in the development phase as much as we can. Users are able to “see” the future of a product and how it will be used, but we “the designers” might only see the present of the product..

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