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Portfolio Analysis: Igniting a long-term spirit in a short-term world (VI). More about Design-Based Research.

Have a wonderful Friday. Let´s continue with our Design-Based Research explanation. In our last publication, we disclosed the Design-Based Research framework (by Easterday, Lewis, and Gerber, 2016). Today is the turn of:

“Love From Cornell”. An aquarelle was painted over the weekend. Made with love by Eleonora Escalante. Size: 8 inches x 10 inches. Paper: Fabriano Tiepolo 100% cotton 250 GSM. I tried to use another technique in this oeuvre.

TWO. Other frameworks about Design-Based Research (from other authors). Be aware that there are several DBR variants and methods, methodologies, and frameworks. We have tried to do ample research about the topic, and we have found several references and scholars who have written about it (1). Wang and Hannafin (2005) research proposed five basic characteristics of design-based research (DBR): Pragmatic; Grounded; Interactive-iterative and flexible; Integrative, and Contextual.

  1. DBR research is pragmatic because its goals are solving current real-world problems by designing and enacting interventions as well as extending theories and refining design principles (Design-Based Research Collective, 2003; Van den Akker; Edelson,2002). In design-based research, however, the goal is not testing whether or not the theory works. Rather, both design and theory are mutually developed through the research process. Therefore, researchers use design to enact and refine theories continuously so that the theories “do real work” in practice (Cobb, Confrey, diSessa, Lehrer, and Shauble, 2003) and eventually lead to substantial change.
  2. DBR is grounded in both theory and the real-world context.Theory is both the foundation and the outcome of design-based research; design-based research has a “theory-driven nature”, and theory is continuously developed and elaborated throughout the research process acting as a framework for the enacted innovations (Van den Akker). In addition, design-based research is conducted in real-world contexts replete with the complexities, dynamics and limitations of authentic practice. The way design-based research is conducted is fundamentally different from laboratory experiments that deal with a single variable, control all other factors and isolate subjects and situation from the real world. Design-based research, has the virtue of being conducted in real world context in collaboration with practitioners, is much more likely to lead to effective application.
  3. DBR is interactive, iterative and flexible. Design-based research requires interactive collaboration among researchers and practitioners. Without such collaboration, interventions are unlikely to effect changes in the real-world context. Also, design-based research usually takes a long period of time because theories and interventions tend to be continuously developed and refined through an iterative design process from analysis to design to evaluation and redesign. This ongoing recursive nature of the design process also allows greater flexibility than do traditional experimental approaches.
  4. DBR is integrative because researchers need to integrate a variety of research methods and approaches from both qualitative and quantitative research paradigms, depending on the needs of the research. Design-based researchers utilize multiple mixed methods over time to build up a body of evidence that supports the theoretical principles underlying a specific innovation as well as refines the innovation itself in situ.
  5. DBR is contextualized because research results are “connected with both the design process through which results are generated and the setting where the research is conducted. It is imperative that design-based researchers keep detailed records during the design research process concerning how the design outcomes (e.g., principles) have worked or have not worked, how the innovation has been improved, and what kind of changes have been made. Through this documentation, other researchers and designers who are interested in those findings can examine them in relation to their own context and needs. To increase the “adaptability” of the findings in the new settings, guidance on how to apply those findings is also required.

Let´s explore two variants of the most applicable and validated DBR frameworks (from other authors):
1. DBR Framework by Delft University (2).
Embedded in the Delft University Design tradition, from The Netherlands. It uses and further develops Design-Based Research (DBR) as a research methodology. The main character is the use of prototypes (science educational and communicational services, processes, and products) that immediately form intervention in practice and reflect on theory. In the following slide the Delft design-based research framework is depicted:

Slide number 1: DBR by Delft University, The Netherlands.

2. DBR framework adapted from Reeves (2009) and Sandoval (2014) (3)

This model or framework is a bit simpler. It only has 4 phases: Design-Test-Evaluate and Reflect. The cycle is also an iterative process, and it has epistemic commitments that inform the major goals of a design-based research project. Epistemic is a word that is related to knowledge and its validity. This framework epistemic commitments are: (1) It should be grounded in theories of learning; (2) It should aim to produce measurable changes in pupils learning around a particular learning problem; (3) It should generate design principles that guide the development and implementation of future products in different environments; (4) It should be enacted using extended, iterative teaching experiments over an extended period of time. Look at the figure below:

Slide number 2. Another DBR Framework (Reeves, Sandoval)

The DBR comes from the educators. Before proceeding further, I would like to acknowledge that the DBR method has been a product of collective knowledge. Many authors and researchers have contributed to its evolution. Initially, this model, accredited to Ann Brown (1992),  developed the first DBR framework as an “effective intervention that should be able to migrate from our experimental classroom to average classrooms operated by teachers for average students, and supported by realistic technological, scientific and personal sustenance”. In consequence, the DBR comes from the educators.

DBR Synonyms. In practice, and since the 90s, the terms “design research (DR)” or “development research” also have been used to describe this methodology. The more popular term DBR is the one that has risen as the most prevalent.

Repeating the definition of DBR. I will repeat the definition, so we do not forget it before applying it to our example: “DBR is a methodology designed by and for educators that seek to increase the impact, transfer, and translation of education research into improved practice. In addition, it stresses the need for theory building and the development of design principles that guide, inform and improve both practice and research in educational contexts” (4).

Why do we need to know DBR in our endeavors? Eleonora Escalante Strategy is proposing to use the DBR method to focus-understand-define-conceive-build-test-present the success of our business innovations and endeavor inventions before entering the phase of business modeling which includes the value proposition frameworks. We believe that academia, science, and the grounded theories which are studied iteratively by using the DBR must be utilized and positioned in our mindsets previously considering to find if these can be sell or not to make profits. The DBR is the ultimate savior to “begin to make excellent integral products-services for trade”, even before considering to design and evaluate our business models. We believe that our endeavors are a learning opportunity, and using the DBR beforehand will help us to be thoughtful into using good theory and accurate assessments. In addition, it will help us to avoid thoughtless unwise actions in our endeavors and programs that we later will regret. Sometimes with horrendous consequences for the environment (as is the case of our current pollution).

When we have a DBR mindset, we are ready to pause, amend and intervene with different gears in our design-research iterations (5).  When we consider our products and services with a previous phase of a learning educational process using the DBR, only then we are ready to see our ideas as worthy of being considered for business modeling. DBR is here to help us to find out if our ideas are proper, or suitable, or adequate with well-grounded theory, and if the prototype works integrally and passes all the DBR tollgates, then and only then are suited to be considered as a future product or service, that will be sold to people.  Let´s see it in the following slide. I have used the business model canvas method that is taught in the majority of business schools, which is very popular nowadays:

Slide number 3: Before starting business modeling, the DBR framework must be applied in our endeavors, particularly those coming from disruptive technologies.

By applying the DBR process before business modeling, we have the opportunity to become pupils and design educational interventions to learn.  The DBR process is instructional dynamics at its core. The interactions between teachers (mentors), pupils (those who have an idea), the multidisciplinary domain of study to which the idea belongs, all these together are defined as instructional dynamics. Since the DBR is education research in action, the arguments for how people learn in the form of the problem-solving solution is what is called intervention, which if novel are then called prototypes. If we see ourselves as design-based researchers after finishing high school and university, we will explicitly develop products and services with new theories based on the existing theory, that guides the design of future prototypes correctly. The theory is important because describes how interventions lead to a specific outcome in a certain context. In the end, the goal of applying DBR is to develop new arguments that can guide the creation of integral products and services. This requires understanding the structure of learning interventions and how they interact with learners in context to develop new abilities, new knowledge which in turn requires building novel and proper products.

For example, interventions in an educational DBR process could be: (a) instructional method (such as collaborative learning, project-based instruction); (b) scaffolding (conceptual staging), procedural scaffolding, and metacognitive scaffolding); (c) integrated teaching models (such as a knowledge-building activity); (d) technological intervention, namely testing the effectiveness of the learning environment or the particular tech tool; and (e) other models or methods (such as professional development model or heuristic task analysis method).

Example. An artist that sells original watercolor pieces of art.

To be continued…

Important Note: I apologize for not providing the example this week. I suffered a stupid accident and my right foot got hurt. According to the x rays diagnostic and my doctor’s wisdom, I suffered a transverse fracture of the base of the fifth metatarsal. The situation is under control, but this only shows us how fragile we are. How a little fissure in one of our bones affects us in everything we do. I will publish three times next week to keep the outline “on point”.

Our updated outline- Date: 27th August 2021.

I will leave you with the soundtrack song of the recent version of the Disney movie Mulan. If you are familiar with the story of Mulan, after all her inner suffering of being hidden under an armor of a man, she was discovered as an authentic woman, only when she was wounded. Mulan demonstrated heroic behavior with all that she did for her country. So she was allowed to be a Princess. As the highest reward, she ended up marrying a prince and lived happily ever after. Reflection takes time, but it pays off. In everything we do. Thank you and as always, thank you for reading to me.

Sources of Bibliography used today:




(4) Anderson, T., Shattuck, J. Design-Based Research: A Decade of Progress in Education research? Educational Researcher. Vol. 41. No. 1 Pages 16-25

(5) Easterday, M.; Lewis, D. Rees; Gerber, E. (2016) The logic and the theoretical and practical products of design research. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 32(4). 125-143

Disclaimer: Illustrations in Watercolor are painted by Eleonora Escalante. Other types of illustrations or videos (which are not mine) are used for educational purposes ONLY. Nevertheless, the majority of the pictures, images, or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.

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