Design-based Research: An ethical framework to address pedagogical problems and innovation
Galvin, K., Cochrane, T. (2023). Design-based research: An ethical framework to address pedagogical problems and innovations [Poster abstract]. Australian Association for Research in Education, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/eu4uifcf6dwwpbcoy4sq6/DBR__an-ethical-framework_KG_TC_AARE_Poster-abstract.pdf?rlkey=uojrzhpxll2pm3goci833lqv4&dl=0
The need for education research to explore ‘real world’ learning impact for stakeholders is now more pressing than ever as we navigate perpetual shifting educational experience in situational contexts driven by rapid technology changes and environmental change. Design-based research (DBR) is a pragmatic methodology that promotes a proactive educational enquiry to implement theories of learning and teaching.
To address a pedagogical problem or innovation, the DBR methodological framework incorporates four research phases including 1) analysis of a practical problem, 2) development of an innovative solution, 3) implementation of iterative research action cycles, and 4) final analysis and reflection. These phases enable the possibility of growth and evolution of both education theory and knowledge contribution using a practical approach.
The ultimate aim of DBR is to generate useful knowledge by applying cycles of both action and inquiry in a situated context. Outputs of DBR commonly fall into two categories including a) tangible practical outcomes such as a design artefact to improve learning, and b) non-tangible outputs in the form of final design principles and progressive societal contributions. In this sense, local knowledge can still contribute to social learning practices more broadly. The flexible ethos of DBR extends to the generation of outputs, as there is potential to use quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods when using DBR. The DBR framework allows a malleable way to problem solve changing educational issues.
While progressively drawing upon current literature to improve iterative learning outputs, the process of DBR integrates ‘design thinking’ to understand what stakeholders need in specific contexts by fostering empathy and cultural awareness. DBR invites the ‘messiness and complexity’ of educational settings by not shying away from giving attention to the uncontrollable variables that stakeholders may bring to research action cycles. Thus DBR has been described as an ‘ethical’ educational research approach as it addresses real world problems without being limited by quasi-experimental control groups that lead to ‘no significant difference’ in pedagogical outcomes. By inviting stakeholder voice and truth into this research process, there is potential for DBR to generate ‘inspired’ and ‘visionary’ interventions not yet seen in educational settings, and equally to ensure past knowledge and educational impact is acknowledged and maintains relevance.
The Poster graphically illustrates the DBR methodology framework as described above, and provides QR code links to example case studies using DBR to solve pedagogical problems and innovative practice in various education contexts.