You are here:

Design Research: What We Learn when We Engage in Design

Journal of the Learning Sciences Volume 11, Number 1, ISSN 1050-8406


Educational researchers are increasingly using design as a means of advancing their understanding. Historically design in educational research has served as a way to implement theories for testing. The emerging design research paradigm treats design as a strategy for developing and refining theories. In this article, I discuss the lessons that can be learned from design. Starting from a model that characterizes designs in terms of problem analyses, design solutions, and design processes, I describe 3 types of theories that can be developed through design research: domain theories, design frameworks, and design methodologies. I present examples from a design research program investigating software supports for reflective inquiry. I argue for design research as form of educational research because (a) design offers opportunities to learn unique lessons, (b) design research yields practical lessons that can be directly applied, and (c) design research engages researchers in the direct improvement of educational practice.


Edelson, D.C. (2002). Design Research: What We Learn when We Engage in Design. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 11(1), 105-121. Retrieved November 28, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ERIC on December 3, 2015. [Original Record]

ERIC is sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) of the U.S. Department of Education.

Copyright for this record is held by the content creator. For more details see ERIC's copyright policy.


Cited By

View References & Citations Map

These links are based on references which have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake, please contact