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Design-Based Implementation Research: An Emerging Model for Transforming the Relationship of Research and Practice


by Barry J. Fishman, William R. Penuel, Anna-Ruth Allen, Britte Haugan Cheng & Nora Sabelli — 2013

This chapter presents an introduction to design-based implementation research (DBIR). We describe the need for DBIR as a research approach that challenges educational researchers and practitioners to transcend traditional research/practice barriers to facilitate the design of educational interventions that are effective, sustainable, and scalable. We examine antecedents to DBIR, including evaluation research, community-based participatory research, design-based research, and implementation research. The four core principles of DBIR are explained: (1) a focus on persistent problems of practice from multiple stakeholders’ perspectives; (2) a commitment to iterative, collaborative design; (3) a concern with developing theory and knowledge related to both classroom learning and implementation through systematic inquiry; and (4) a concern with developing capacity for sustaining change in systems. We close with an overview of the chapters contained in this NSSE Yearbook on DBIR and explain how each chapter contributes to the overall development of the DBIR approach.


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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. 136-156
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18338, Date Accessed: 7/29/2017 7:44:38 AM

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About the Author
  • Barry Fishman
    University of Michigan
    E-mail Author
    BARRY FISHMAN is a faculty member in learning technologies in both the School of Information and the School of Education at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the transformation of teaching and learning with technology, teacher learning with and about technology, the design of learning environments, and design-based implementation research. Recent publications include “Organizing Research and Development at the Intersection of Learning, Implementation, and Design” (2011, Educational Researcher) with William Penuel, Britte Cheng, and Nora Sabelli; “Examining Study Attrition: Implications for Experimental Research on Professional Development” (2012, Teaching and Teacher Education) with Beth Kubitskey, Richard Vath, Heather Johnson, and Spyros Konstantopoulos; and “What Makes Professional Development Effective? Strategies That Foster Curriculum Implementation” (2007, American Educational Research Journal), with William Penuel, Ryoko Yamaguchi, and Lawrence Gallagher.
  • 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 after-school programs. Recent publications include “Large Scale 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.
  • Anna-Ruth Allen
    University of Colorado Boulder
    E-mail Author
    ANNA-RUTH ALLEN is a research associate in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research interests include sociocultural approaches to discourse, literacy and learning, after-school programs, and youth development. Publications include “Learning as the Organizing of Social Futures” (2010, National Society for the Study of Education) with Kevin O’Connor; “‘Becoming’ a Teacher” (2007, Teachers College Record) with Mary Louise Gomez and Rebecca Black; and “Language, Class, and Identity: Teenagers Fashioning Themselves Through Language” (2001, Linguistics and Education) with Jim Gee and Katherine Clinton.
  • Britte Cheng
    SRI International
    E-mail Author
    BRITTE HAUGAN CHENG is an education researcher at SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning. Her research focuses on the design of learning technologies, instruction and assessments in K–12 and how their use can be conceptualized within the system of learning processes, educational practice, and policy. Recent publications include “Organizing Research and Development at the Intersection of Learning, Implementation, and Design” (2011, Educational Researcher) with William Penuel, Barry Fishman, and Nora Sabelli; and “Unpacking the Black Box of Engagement: Cognitive, Behavioral, and Affective Engagement in Learning Mathematics” in The Future of Learning: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS 2012) with Nicole Shechtman, Patrik Lundh and Gucci Trinidad.
  • Nora Sabelli
    SRI International
    E-mail Author
    NORA SABELLI is a senior science advisor at SRI International’s Center for Technology in Learning. Her research interests are science education, the role of technology in education and educational policy informatics. Recent publications include “Organizing Research and Development at the Intersection of Learning, Implementation, and Design” (2011, Educational Researcher) with William Penuel, Barry Fishman, and Britte Cheng; and “Complex Systems and Educational Change: Towards a new research agenda” (2008, Educational Philosophy and Theory) with Jay Lemke.
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