Purposes/Argumentative Grammar of DBR

Design-based research is a growing area within Educational Research and poses unique questions and challenges to academic scholars at the intersection of practice, design and research. In this unit, we explore the goals, purposes and grammar of Design-Based Research, where it originated, what design-based research may look like in practice, and how it differs from other educational research approaches that engage people outside of the academic sector in research practice. As part of this unit, we will explore the Hive Research Lab as a concrete example of design-based research, and facilitate the collaborative making of a Design-Based Research history timeline, asking participants to contribute to the making process.  


Dixie Ching
New York University
Rafi Santo
Indiana University


    • Understand the core goals and purposes of DBR
    • Understand the “grammar”, the core language, constructs and means of argumentation that DBR uses
    • Understand the history and roots of DBR
    • Understand how where DBR sits as a methodology in contrast with approaches like Random Control Trials, Ethnography, Participatory Action Research and Participatory Design


Kickoff Live Event: Tuesday, April 7, 9:00 AM PDT (11AM CDT/12PM EDT)

Title: Introduction to Design Research with Bill Penuel [Webinar]

Description: Unit organizers Rafi Santo (Indiana University) and Dixie Ching (New York University) will speak with special guest Bill Penuel (CU-Boulder) about the purposes, argumentative “grammar” of design-based research and what it looks like in practice. We’ll talk about where DBR sits in relation to other kinds of educational inquiry methods, where it emerged from historically, and generally field questions about the ins and outs of this approach.

Live Event: Tuesday, April 14, 11:00 AM PDT (1PM CDT/2PM EDT)

Title: DBR Stories from the Field: Hive Research Lab and SpeakEasy with Chris Hoadley

Description: Unit organizers Rafi Santo (Indiana University) and Dixie Ching (New York University) will share about their project, Hive Research Lab, and its relationship  to design-based research, design-based implementation research, co-design and improvement science. Guest expert Chris Hoadley (New York University, National Science Foundation), one of the founders of the Design-based Research Collective and credited with coining the term, will share about using DBR as a method to develop educational software while simultaneously generating novel learning theory. We’ll use these two cases to illustrate contrasts in what DBR and associated approaches can look like in practice.



Secondary (for more info)

⇐ Unit 0 (Getting Started)Unit 2 (Design Research) ⇒