Expanding Design Research: From Researcher Ego-Systems to Stakeholder Ecosystems

  • Steven J. ZuikerEmail author
  • Niels Piepgrass
  • Mathew D. Evans
Living reference work entry


Although design research in wide-ranging fields organizes user-centered and use-inspired design processes, established approaches to design research in the learning sciences and educational technology have typically developed insights and innovations through efforts led by researchers. However, several emerging approaches to design research in these fields organize increasingly participatory forms that leverage human diversity as a resource. Approaches to design research among many complementary disciplines underscore evolving processes not only to couple thought and action but also to foster more inclusive visions and more distributed forms of agency among stakeholders in design projects. Building on this existing literature, the chapter characterizes and compares four emerging approaches with particular attention to processes of designing and their implications for designs. By considering the expanding repertoire of participatory approaches to design research, the chapter explores three interrelated questions about design research. First, we will consider who forms a design and how do they go about doing it. Second, we will consider how answers to these preliminary questions, in turn, frame expertise as design processes unfold. Third, we will consider the influence of design processes on the reach and impact of design research with respect to both educational change and theoretical refinement. In answering these questions, we seek to better resolve the ecological affordances of design research that not only mobilizes stakeholder perspectives in order to inform design processes but also sustains stakeholder networks in order to improve and evolve designs.


Design-based research Design-based implementation research Infrastructuring Participatory design research Social design experiments 


  1. Amiel, T., & Reeves, T. (2008). Design-based research and educational technology: Rethinking technology and the research agenda. Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 11(4), 29–40.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, T., & Shattuck, J. (2012). Design-based research a decade of progress in education research? Educational Researcher, 41(1), 16–25. doi:10.3102/0013189X11428813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bang, M., & Vossoughi, S. (2016). Participatory design research and educational justice: Studying learning and relations within social change making. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 173–193. doi:10.1080/07370008.2016.1181879.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barab, S. A. (2014). Design-based research: A methodological toolkit for engineering change. In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (2nd ed., pp. 151–170). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barab, S., & Squire, K. (2004). Design-based research: Putting a stake in the ground. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 13(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berliner, D. C. (2002). Comment: Educational research. The hardest science of all. Educational Researcher, 31(8), 18–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Brown, A. L. (1992). Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in creating complex interventions in classroom settings. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2(2), 141–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chi, M. (1997). Quantifying analyses of verbal data: A practical guide. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 6(3), 271–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cobb, P., & Jackson, K. (2012). Analyzing educational policies: A learning design perspective. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 21(4), 487–521. doi:10.1080/10508406.2011.630849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cobb, P., Confrey, J., DiSessa, A., Lehrer, R., & Schauble, L. (2003). Design experiments in educational research. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 9–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Coburn, C. E., & Stein, M. K. (2010). Research and practice in education: Building alliances, bridging the divide. New York, NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.Google Scholar
  13. Cole, M. (1979). Foreword. In U. Bronfenbrenner (Ed.), The ecology of human development (pp. vii–vix). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Collins, A. (1992). Towards a design science of education. In E. Scanlon & T. O’Shea (Eds.), New directions in educational technology (pp. 15–22). New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: Touchstone.Google Scholar
  16. DiSalvo, C. (2009). Design and the construction of publics. Design Issues, 25(1), 48–63. doi:10.1162/desi.2009.25.1.48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DiSalvo, B., & DiSalvo, C. (2014). Designing for democracy in education: Participatory design and the learning sciences. In J. L. Polman, E. A. Kyza, K. O’Neill, I. Tabak, W. R. Penuel, S. Jurow, …, L. D’Amico (Eds.), Proceedings of the eleventh international conference of the learning sciences (Vol. 2, pp. 793–799). Boulder, CO: International Society of the Learning Sciences.Google Scholar
  18. DiSalvo, C., Clement, A., & Pipek, V. (2012). Participatory design for, with, and by communities. In S. Jesper & T. Robertson (Eds.), International handbook of participatory design (pp. 182–209). Oxford, England: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Ehn, P. (1993). Scandinavian design: On participation and skill. In D. Schuler & A. Namioka (Eds.), Participatory design: Principles and practices (pp. 41–77). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  20. Engeström, Y. (2008). From teams to knots: Activity-theoretical studies of collaboration and learning at work. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Engeström, Y. (2011). From design experiments to formative interventions. Theory & Psychology, 21(5), 598–628. doi:10.1177/0959354311419252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Erickson, F. (2006). Studying side by side: Collaborative action ethnography in educational research. In G. Spindler & L. Hammond (Eds.), Innovations in educational ethnography: Theory, methods and results (pp. 235–257). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  23. Fishman, B., Penuel, W. R., Allen, A., Cheng, B. H., & Sabelli, N. H. (2013). Design-based implementation research: An emerging model for transforming the relationship of research and practice. National Society for the Study of Education Yearbook, 112(2), 136–156.Google Scholar
  24. Gutiérrez, K. D. (2016). Designing resilient ecologies: Social design experiments and a new social imagination. Educational Researcher, 45(3), 187–196. doi:10.3102/0013189X16645430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gutiérrez, K. D., & Jurow, A. S. (2016). Social design experiments: Toward equity by design. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(4), 565–598. doi:10.1080/10508406.2016.1204548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gutiérrez, K. D., & Penuel, W. R. (2014). Relevance to practice as a criterion for rigor. Educational Researcher, 43(1), 19–23. doi:10.3102/0013189X13520289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gutiérrez, K. D., & Vossoughi, S. (2010). Lifting off the ground to return anew: Mediated praxis, transformative learning, and social design experiments. Journal of Teacher Education, 61(1–2), 100–117. doi:10.1177/0022487109347877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gutiérrez, K. D., Engeström, Y., & Sannino, A. (2016). Expanding educational research and interventionist methodologies. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 275–284. doi:10.1080/07370008.2016.1183347.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Jordan, B., & Henderson, A. (1995). Interaction analysis: Foundations and practice. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 4(10), 39–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Jurow, A. S., Teeters, L., Shea, M., & Van Steenis, E. (2016). Extending the consequentiality of “invisible work” in the food justice movement. Cognition and Instruction, 34(3), 210–221. doi:10.1080/07370008.2016.1172833.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kelly, A. E., Lesh, R. A., & Baek, J. Y. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of design research methods in education: Innovations in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics learning and teaching. New York, NY/London, England: Routledge.Google Scholar
  32. Kolodner, J. L. (1991). Editorial: The journal of the learning sciences: Effecting changes in education. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 1(1), 1–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Kolodner, J. L. (2004). The learning sciences: Past, present, and future. Educational Technology, 44(3), 37–42.Google Scholar
  34. Latour, B. (1996). On interobjectivity. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 3(4), 228–245. doi:10.1207/s15327884mca0304_2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. LeDantec, C. A., & DiSalvo, C. (2013). Infrastructuring and the formation of publics in participatory design. Social Studies of Science, 43(2), 241–264. doi:10.1177/0306312712471581.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McKenney, S., & Reeves, T. C. (2012). Conducting educational design research. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Moses, J., & Knutsen, T. (2012). Ways of knowing: Competing methodologies in social and political research. Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Nathan, M. J., Rummel, N., & Hay, K. E. (2014). Growing the learning sciences: Brand or big tent? In R. K. Sawyer (Ed.), The Cambridge handbook of the learning sciences (2nd ed., pp. 151–170). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Nutley, S. M., Walter, I., & Davies, H. T. O. (2007). Using evidence: How research can inform public services. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  40. O’Neill, D. K. (2016). When form follows fantasy: Lessons for learning scientists from modernist architecture and urban planning. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(1), 133–152. doi:10.1080/10508406.2015.1094736.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Oh, E., & Reeves, T. (2010). The implications of the differences between design research and instructional systems design for educational technology researchers and practitioners. Educational Media International, 4(47), 263–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Packer, M. (2011). The science of qualitative research. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Penuel, W. R., Fishman, B. J., Haugan Cheng, B., & Sabelli, N. (2011). Organizing research and development at the intersection of learning, implementation, and design. Educational Researcher, 40(7), 331–337. doi:10.3102/0013189X11421826.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Penuel, W. R., Cole, M., & O’Neill, D. K. (2016). Introduction to the special issue. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 25(4), 487–496. doi:10.1080/10508406.2016.1215753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sanders, E. B. N. (2006). Design research in 2006. Design Research Society, 1(1), 1–8.Google Scholar
  46. Sanders, L. (2008). On modeling: An evolving map of design practice and design research. Interactions, 15(6), 13–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sanders, E. B. N., & Stappers, P. J. (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design. Co-design, 4(1), 5–18.Google Scholar
  48. Sanders, E. B. N., Brandt, E., & Binder, T. (2010). A framework for organizing the tools and techniques of participatory design. In Proceedings of the 11th biennial participatory design conference (pp. 195–198). New York, NY: ACM.Google Scholar
  49. Shavelson, R. J., Phillips, D. C., Towne, L., & Feuer, M. J. (2003). On the science of education design studies. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 25–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tatar, D. (2007). The design tensions framework. Human-Computer Interaction, 22(4), 413–451. doi:10.1080/07370020701638814.Google Scholar
  51. Tyack, D., & Cuban, L. (1995). Tinkering toward utopia: A century of public school reform. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Vargo, S. L., & Lusch, R. F. (2004). Evolving to a new dominant logic for marketing. Journal of Marketing, 68(1), 1–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Voorberg, W. H., Bekkers, V. J. J. M., & Tummers, L. G. (2015). A systematic review of co-creation and co-production: Embarking on the social innovation journey. Public Management Review, 17(9), 1333–1357. doi:10.1080/14719037.2014.930505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Weick, K. E. (1995). Sensemaking in organizations (Vol. 3). Thousands Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  55. Zuiker, S. J. (2012). Educational virtual environments as a lens for understanding both precise repeatability and specific variation in learning ecologies: EVEs for repeatability and variation. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(6), 981–992. Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven J. Zuiker
    • 1
    Email author
  • Niels Piepgrass
    • 1
  • Mathew D. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.Mary Lou Fulton Teachers CollegeArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Personalised recommendations