“Research by Design”: Forms of Heuristic Research in English Language Teaching

  • Donald FreemanEmail author
  • Claudia Cameratti
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This chapter examines educational research approaches that study human activity through time by intervening in those activities. These forms of “research by design” share common features that can be termed “heuristic.” Participants engage in defining the focus and designing interventions to address it; the engagement is iterative and it generally leads to understanding (or “theorizations”) which can be applied in similar contexts and circumstances. Eight forms of research are examined: action research, design-based research (DBR), design-based implementation research (DBIR), developmental work research (DWR), lesson study, networked improvement communities, participatory action research (PAR), and social design experiments. The chapter summarizes these eight forms and reviews key research within each one. It details common principles shared by the eight forms and proposes a framework that defines their “family” resemblance within research in general education and in English language teaching.


Action research Curriculum development projects Heuristic research in education Participatory action research (PAR) Developmental work research (DWR) Design-based research Design-based implementation research (DBIR) 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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