Conducting a Design-Based Research EdD Dissertation

Conducting a Design-Based Research EdD Dissertation

Stanley Pogrow (San Francisco State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0445-0.ch012
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Abstract

Design-Based Research (DBR) provides a different and expanded view of the role of science and knowledge generation in educational improvement as compared to the traditional model that currently dominates educational research. This expanded view of science provides the potential to (a) produce more effective interventions and practices, (b) produce more authentic knowledge about how to improve education, (c) more actively involve leaders in the production of new practices and knowledge, and (d) provide EdD students with an applied option for conducting EdD dissertations. This chapter (a) defines DBR, (b) describes the background of the emergence of DBR, (c) provides several examples of dramatically effective interventions and describes how they were designed, and (d) describes some of the characteristics of an EdD DBR dissertation.
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Introduction

Design-Based research (DBR) provides a different and expanded view of the role of science and knowledge generation in educational improvement as compared to the traditional model that currently dominates educational research. This expanded view of science provides the potential to:

  • 1.

    Produce more effective interventions and practices,

  • 2.

    Produce more authentic knowledge about how to improve education,

  • 3.

    More actively involve leaders in the production of new practices and knowledge, and

  • 4.

    Provide EdD students with an applied option for developing an EdD dissertation.

The DBR dissertation enables students to design and test a new intervention/approach in a fashion that is both scientifically rigorous and intuitive. The DBR dissertation does not require high levels of technical expertise. It only requires high levels of imagination and leadership. The DBR dissertation can also produce an important and original approach/intervention that substantially improves practice.

This chapter:

  • 1.

    Defines DBR, and describes its emergence, application, and implications for research methodology and scientific discovery,

  • 2.

    Provides several examples of dramatically effective DBR interventions and describes how they were designed, and

  • 3.

    Applies these successful design and research principles to establish the key characteristics of a quality EdD DBR dissertation, and their general implications for EdD programs.

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The Emergence Of Design-Based Research (Dbr) As An Alternative To The Traditional Model Of Research And Scientific Discovery

The impetus of Design-Based Research (DBR) was the belief that the laboratory-based traditional model of research was not meeting the needs of the education profession. The start of Design-Based Research (DBR) is generally credited to Ann Brown (1992) who came to realize that results from laboratory-based research were inherently limited in their ability to explain or predict learning. She moved her research to the classroom; a process she called “design experimentation.”

As research moved out of the controlled environment of the laboratory educational psychology began to develop increasingly sophisticated statistical procedures and research designs to try and substitute mathematical control over confounding variables to replace the physical experimental control that the laboratory setting had provided. Other proponents of DBR then even began to question whether the traditional conception of experimental control was providing the types of knowledge needed to improve education in the chaotic world of real practice. Sandoval and Bell (2004) quote, Lagemann (2002) as noting that, “…the traditional paradigm of psychology has striven for experimental control at the expense of fidelity to learning as it actually occurs. Thus, although such claims might be scientific in one sense, they do not adequately explain or predict the phenomena they purport to address…” (p. 199). Sandoval and Bell (2004) note that scholars from a wide variety of disciplines became interested in participating in DBR to: “… better understand how to orchestrate innovative learning experiences among children in their everyday educational contexts as well as to simultaneously develop new theoretical insights about the nature of learning.” (p. 244) Sandoval and Bell (2004) introduced the concept of “embodied conjectures.” These are conjectures (rather than formal hypotheses as generally used in experimental research), that focus on learning within educational designs.

A literature review by Anderson and Shattuk (2012) found that the number of articles that discussed DBR increased from almost zero in 2000 to almost 400 in 2010, and after 2006 the nature of the articles shifted from discussing the characteristics of DBR to conducting DBR research.

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