Educational Design Research as a Source of Data

Scholars and practitioners in many fields have developed use-inspired research methods specific to the problems they solve and the interventions they design. Educational design research (McKenny & Reeves, 2012). McKenny & Reeves (2014) captured the dual nature of educational design as a method for designing interventions and a method for generating theory, as they noted it is motivated by “the quest for ‘what works’ such that it is underpinned by a concern for how, when, and why is evident….” (p. 23). They further describe educational design research as a process that is:

Theoretically oriented as it is both grounded in current and accepted knowledge and it seeks to contribute new knowledge;

Interventionist as it is undertaken to improve products and processes for teaching and learning in classrooms;

Collaborative as the process incorporates expert input from stakeholders who approach the problem from multiple perspectives;

Naturalistic as it both recognizes and explores the complexity of educational processes and it is conducted within the setting where it is practiced (this is opposed to the pure researcher’s attempt to isolate and control factors, thus simplifying the setting);

Iterative as each phase is complete only after several cycles of inquiry and discourse.


McKenney, S., & Reeves, T. (2012). Conducting educational design research. New York: Routledge.

McKenney, S., & Reeves, T. (2014). Educational design research. In J. Spector, M. Merrill, J. Elen, & M. Bishop (Eds.), Handbook of research on educational communications and technology (pp. 131–140). New York: Springer.