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Negotiating Problems of Practice in Research—Practice Design Partnerships


by William R. Penuel, Cynthia E. Coburn & Dan Gallagher — 2013

This chapter focuses on how researchers and practitioners negotiate the focus of their joint work within design-based implementation research (DBIR). Studying and facilitating successful negotiation of the problems that become the focus of work and the search for solutions is important for developing DBIR, because of its commitment to focusing on persistent problems of practice from multiple stakeholders’ perspectives. Case studies of two different research–practice partnerships provide a context for exploring two different perspectives on negotiation. In one case study, the notion of partnerships as forms of cultural exchange across institutional boundaries that differ with respect to goals, norms, and practices is used to analyze a design partnership focused on repurposing curriculum units in elementary science. In the second case study, the concept of framing as developed in social movement theory is used to illuminate issues of status and authority within a partnership between a district and researchers. The chapter concludes by describing the contributions of each perspective to an understanding of how teams jointly negotiate the focus of their work and by providing some recommendations for how teams can do so successfully.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 112. No. 2.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 14, 2013, p. 237-255
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18343, Date Accessed: 10/23/2017 1:18:09 PM

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About the Author
  • William Penuel
    University of Colorado Boulder
    E-mail Author
    WILLIAM PENUEL is a professor of educational psychology and learning sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research focuses on teacher learning and organizational processes that shape the implementation of educational policies, school curricula, and afterschool programs. Recent publications include “Large-scale science education intervention research we can use” (2012, Journal of Research in Science Teaching) with Barry Fishman; “Preparing teachers to design sequences of instruction in earth science: A comparison of three professional development programs” (2011, American Educational Research Journal) with Lawrence P. Gallagher and Savitha Moorthy; and “Using large-scale databases in evaluation: Advances, opportunities, and challenges” (2011, American Journal of Evaluation) with Barbara Means.
  • Cynthia E. Coburn
    Northwestern University
    E-mail Author
    CYNTHIA COBURN is a professor at the School of Education and Social Policy, Northwestern University. Her research focuses on the relationship between instructional policy and teachers’ classroom practices in urban schools. Recent publications include Research and practice in education: Building alliances, bridging the divide (2010, Rowman & Littlefield) with Mary Kay Stein; “Research on data use: A framework and analysis,” (2011, Measurement: Interdisciplinary Research & Perspective) with Erica Turner; and “Reading coaches and the relationship between policy and practice” (2012, Reading Research Quarterly) with Sarah Woulfin.
  • Dan Gallagher
    Seattle Public Schools
    E-mail Author
    DAN GALLAGHER is the Science Program Manager for Seattle Public Schools. He works to build teams of people with complementing expertise and resources by forming collaborations inside and outside of school districts. Through multiple regional and national partnerships, he has developed science curricula and professional development programs for a number of high school and college courses.
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