Design-Based Research: Reflections on Some Epistemological Issues and Practices

  • Richard WalkerEmail author
Part of the Methodos Series book series (METH, volume 9)


The notion of design experiments was first introduced by Ann Brown in 1992 (Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2, 141–178). Since then there have been successive waves of interest in this notion, and its extension in the form of design-based research, culminating in the recent publication of several edited books and special issues on design research methods in education. In her original article, Brown argued for design experiments on the grounds that they would make laboratory experiments and theory development more relevant to educational practice and vice versa. This chapter examines the notion of the design experiment as presented in Brown’s original article, and re-considers the methodological issues she identified in conducting this kind of research in the light of recent methodological developments. The chapter then goes on to discuss three limitations in the design-based research literature: the attention given to epistemological issues, some insularity in the literature, and the turn to engineering for research methods guidance.


Mixed Research Method Design Science Classroom Context Epistemological Issue Design Researcher 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Education and Social WorkThe University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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