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Design-Based Research

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By Hyeyung Park April 10, 2024 - 4:05pm

I am a researcher, an educator, and a designer. I decided to write my doctoral dissertation about the co-designed dashboard on professional learning within the community of inquiry (CoI). 

My research interest in the integration of theory and practice has remained to be explored and very few studies have been conducted, particularly human-centred dashboard designs with the CoI. As a result, although I spent significant time researching practical guidance to help me write a preliminary proposal, I have wandered without finding savers for a long time. After finishing Change by Design, I decided to include design thinking in my doctoral research, but I had no idea about how to incorporate it into my research academically. My gut kept telling me that I had to find the correct answer about integrating DBR and design thinking approach. To escape from the uncertainty, I had to ask five professors about a design thinking approach and DBR. I did not expect a detailed explanation of my question. Fortunately, I was able to meet a grateful professor, Dr. Hoffman, while seeking answers. Few people could answer my questions because my research falls into the interdisciplinary areas of web development and instructional design. Dr. Hoffman is an associate professor of Learning Design & Technology (LTEC) at University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. He is the principal investigator of the Advancing Culturally-Relevant Computing project and the president of the International Division of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT).

YouTube video

Daniel L. H. (n.d.). Playlists [YouTube channel]. YouTube. Retrieved March 22, 2024, from

Design-based research is a genre of research in which the iterative development of solutions to practical and complex educational problems also provides the context for empirical investigations, which yields theoretical understanding that can inform the work of others (McKenney & Reeves, 2012, p. 7). Bakker (2018, p. 3) states, “most educational research describes or evaluates education as it currently is. Some educational research analyzes education as it was. Design research, however, is about education as it could be or even as it should be.”

 DBR is used for my preliminary proposal because it supports a combination of theory and practice in research. Furthermore, since I use mixed methods research and a design thinking approach, DBR is a perfect methodology to make my research answer my research questions. Dr. Hoffman thoughtfully answered my question about whether DBR would go well with my research. He saved me from the hell of methodology. It is really appreciated that he acted as a beacon for me in the dark. My research will fill the gap between practice and theory.


Easterday, M. W., Rees Lewis, D. G., & Gerber, E. M. (2018). The logic of design research. Learning: Research and Practice, 4(2), 131–160.

Fiock, H. (2020). Designing a Community of Inquiry in Online Courses. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning21(1), 135–153.

Hoffman, D.L. (n.d.). Playlists [YouTube channel]. YouTube. Retrieved March 24, 2024, from