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  • Richard Herriott

Theory and practice and theory and ...

Collins, A., Joseph, D., & Bielaczyc, K. (2004). Design research: Theoretical and methodological issues. The Journal of the learning sciences, 13(1), 15-42. Tag: research through design.



Although citations aren´t everything, this one seems to be doing something right with a tally of 3354 name-checks as of May 29, 2023. What´s it about? The interest in this article is parallels it has with design research as in research about the design discipline. “Design experiments were developed as a way to carry out formative research to test and refine educational designs based on principles of prior research”. This might then link to Research through design, though approaching it from the context of education. On p.19 the authors write “Design research should always have the dual goals of refining both theory and practice”. That proposition can be linked to the articles about the poor linkage from research to practice and between practice and research (see Zielhuis et al. below), for example. On p.20 the authors compare lab studies to design research methods. This makes it a is a handy list of the issues at play in RtD versus more formalized design experiments, useful if you wish to outline RtD´s distinct character. In the section “modifying designs as you proceed” the authors note “We suggest that researchers document their designs in detail, recording all major changes in the design”. So, documentation, documentation, documentation.

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