On Design and Research

There are deep connections and similarities between design and research. Both activities progress through problem setting (understanding the context and nature of the problem), problem framing (to understand possible solutions) and problem solving (taking actions to reach logistic goals). Both design and research find participants understanding phenomena, which affects decisions and actions that are evaluated for improvement of idea or interventions. “Design itself is a process of trying and evaluating multiple ideas. It may build from ideas, or develop concepts and philosophies along the way. In addition, designers, throughout the course of their work, revisit their values and design decisions” (Hokanson, 2012, p. 72).  This view of design supports the iterative nature of design/ construction of educational design research. Initial designs are designed and constructed in response to new discoveries made by IT managers; these discoveries can come from the literature or from deeper understanding of the local instances. In terms of progressive discourse, redesign/ reconstruction decisions are made as conceptual artifacts are improved.


Hokanson, B. (2012). The design critique as a model for distributed learning. In L. Moller & J. Huett (Eds.) The next generation of distance education (pp. 71-83). New York: Springer.