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If Design-Based Research is the Answer, What is the Question? A Commentary on Collins, Joseph, and Bielaczyc; diSessa and Cobb; and Fishman, Marx, Blumenthal, Krajcik, and Soloway in the Special Issue on Design-Based Research

So that readers can interpret this commentary in light of my overall perspective on design-based research (DBR), I believe that this approach is an important addition to the repertoire of educational scholars, a useful complement to traditional re­ search strategies such as laboratory studies and randomized clinical trials. That said, this commentary is intended as constructive feedback: “tough love” for schol­ ars (including myself) who are proponents of DBR. As discussed below, at this early stage of its evolution less ambitious claims about DBR, more careful delinea­ tion of its limited role in the spectrum of experimental methods, the evolution of collective standards for what constitutes quality in DBR, and the focusing of the DBR community’s efforts on issues of concern to practitioners and policymakers all seem appropriate next steps.