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Difference between Empirical Research and Design-Based Research

What is Data Based research?

Since the turn of the century, a brand-new research method known as design-based research (DBR) has emerged. DBR focuses on examining a specific intervention through continuous iteration of design, enactment, analysis, and redesign because it is situated in a real context (Brown, 1992; Cobb and co.2003; Collins ( 1992 ).

According to Anderson and Shattuck (2012), the intervention could be a method of instruction, a type of assessment, a learning activity, or a technological one that tests the effectiveness of a particular learning environment or tool. The DBR explains how designs work in real settings and how to better understand the teaching and learning issues involved in order to design learning environments and develop theories (The Design-Based Research Collective, 2003). DBR, an emerging paradigm, emphasizes the ways in which the design principles developed through multiple iterations and the kinds of interventions that can improve outcomes. DBR can improve theoretical accounts as well as a deeper comprehension of intervention by connecting processes to outcomes in specific contexts (The Design-Based Research Collective, 2003).

According to Anderson and Shattuck (2012), DBR is increasingly being used in educational settings, particularly in K-12 settings with technological interventions. In spite of the fact that the education sector recognizes the promising advantages of DBR, numerous criticisms have been proposed in previous studies. According to Barab and Squire (2004), because researchers themselves are involved in the design, development, and implementation of interventions, it is doubtful that they can produce statements in DBR that are accurate and reliable. As a result, it is challenging to achieve high research validity in DBR. Additionally, because DBR is contextually dependent, it is impossible to replicate an intervention in other settings (Design-Based Research Collective, 2003; Fishman and others2004;2002, Hoadley). As a result, it is abundantly clear that DBR implementation and expectations differ significantly. We wonder how DBR was implemented and realized in education research over the past decade because of this phenomenon. Is there a particular learning domain or research setting where DBR has performed best? In DBR, what kinds of approaches were utilized? How are DBR interventions designed and implemented by researchers? A systematic review of previous studies was carried out in order to provide educators and practitioners with helpful references and gain insight into the DBR research issues

DBR's methodology, progress, and issues have been the subject of previous research.For instance, Anderson and Shattuck (2012) looked at DBR's characteristics and development by looking at the abstracts of 47 papers that received the most citations between 2002 and 2011.According to McKenney and Reeves (2013), a comprehensive analysis of the DBR's full text is necessary to provide sufficient evidence for evaluating a decade's progress.In the field of DBR, however, very little research has been done to thoroughly examine demographics, the research methodology, the intervention, and the results of the research.Therefore, the purpose of this study is to provide an overview of DBR by conducting a systematic analysis of 162 selected studies from the database of 219 educational journals that are part of the social sciences citation index (SSCI).

According to Noyons and van Raan (1998), separating the published papers into two periods can reveal the topic's variation.The variation has been examined in a number of studies by dividing the data into various time periods.Take, for instance, Tsai et al.2011) looked at 228 empirical studies from 2000 to 2004 and 2005 to 2009 to see how science education differs.Kinshuk and co.2013) looked at highly cited papers on educational technology from 2003 to 2006 and 2007 to 2010.Zheng and co.2014) analyzed 706 papers from 2003–2007 and 2008–2012 to investigate computer-supported collaborative learning research topics.As a result, during the study's first five years (2004–2008) and second two years (2009–2013), a comprehensive review of demographics, research methodology, intervention, and DBR research outcomes was carried out.This review serves two purposes.To begin, the authors investigate DBR's current state from 2004 to 2013.Second, the selected studies have been used to investigate the differences in demographics, research methods, intervention characteristics, and research outcomes between the first five years (2004–2008) and the second five years (2009–2013).

Utilizing alterative analysis, design development, and implementation processes, it is a systematic and adaptable research methodology designed to enhance educational practices.DBR is intended to lead to contextually sensitive design principles and theories. An Exploration of the Use of Open Educational Resources (OER) with Parents and Preschool Teachers in Mongolia.

Design-Based Implementation Research (DBIR, Fishman, Penuel, Allen, Cheng, & Sabelli, 2013; Bielaczyc, 2013) and Design-Based Implementation Research (DBIR, Fishman, Penuel, Allen, Cheng, & Sabelli, 2013; DBIR, Fishman, Penuel, Allen, Cheng, & Sabelli, 2013; DBIR, Fishman, Penuel, Allen, Cheng, & Sab(2012) (Penuel and Fishman).DBIR includes: (a) a focus on persistent practice issues from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders; (b)b) a dedication to collaborative, iterative design; (c) a concern for systematic inquiry-based theory development related to classroom learning and implementation;and (d) an interest in enhancing systems' capacity to sustain change (Penuel, Fishman, Haugan Cheng, & Sabelli, 2011, p. 331).

According to Cobb, Jackson, Smith, Sorum, & Henrick (2013), one example of DBIR was when researchers collaborated with four districts to develop a theory of action for improving mathematics instruction.Through cycles of data collection and analysis centered on the strategies as they were implemented, the partnership lasted for four years.They made recommendations based on analysis and documented the intended strategies in each cycle, as well as how they were actually implemented.The team used two methods of data collection and analysis to support and maintain the relationship between researchers and practitioners:First, they placed a high priority on providing districts with useful evidence to evaluate the effects of their policies;Second, they tested their theory of action repeatedly to refine it.They created an interpretive framework in addition to following a theory of action and improving it;Before, during, and after implementation, this tool was used to evaluate and direct design decisions.They began retrospective analysis to test and improve their theory of action after the four implementation cycles.This case demonstrates many similarities to DBR, including collaborative and contextual work with an emphasis on iterative refinement and retrospective analysis to improve design and theory.It also emphasizes the various scales at which DBIR is carried out, including numerous districts, classrooms, and schools, and the emphasis on bringing about long-term change.Working at this scale makes the research easier to apply to other situations;They were able to learn about strategies that were effective across districts under specific conditions by putting their hypotheses to the test in four districts.They were able to identify and refine ineffective strategies because the target of their design was tied to how districts could support improved mathematics instruction.For instance, school administrators had been participating in content-independent professional development in order to direct their feedback to math teachers;However, this process revealed that they were unable to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality mathematical representations.They were able to implement a change that could be sustained over time by recommending content-based professional development for school leaders.

From problem to design to theory, DBIR researchers emphasize the practical nature of their work (Dolle, Gomez, Russell, & Bryk, 2013).Penuel & Fishman (2012) say that this strategy takes a broader view of the situation and focuses on usability by considering how to change larger systems or entities (like school districts) and how to help them adapt designs in a sustainable way.DBIR, which places an emphasis on scalability and sustainability while respecting teachers and avoiding attempts to "teacher-proof" reform materials, such as through productive adaptation, has only recently begun to be implemented.

Are DBR and DBIR Designerly?

Even though DBR and DBIR are design-based, not all of them appear to be designerly (Cross, 2001). Instead, they explicitly apply the design process by looking for needs, optimizing the design, and evaluating a solution in light of those needs (Edelson, 2002).DBR's goals are learning designs and learning theories, so potential needs can be found in reviews of research as well as in the world.Sometimes, needs are not stated at all, and the design process is left up to the imagination of the reader (for instance, "the tool was designed to scaffold learning of argumentation").DBR may lose its contextualist and designerly aspects if it aims for scalability, but committing to novel usability—and consequently a focus on context—can mitigate this.The fact that DBIR focuses on design at scale suggests a less designer-centric strategy;However, the emphasis on partnering with practitioners to support long-term change has helped DBIR research focus on global needs.

There are numerous opportunities for looking across streams of related data, such as logfiles and videos, as these methods continue to develop and incorporate larger systems and big data.These provide methods for evaluating and improving learning theories and designs that are contextual and adaptable to the systems in which they operate.

What Is Empirical Research?

DBR is based on collaboration between researchers and teachers in real-world settings.

Empirical research draws its knowledge from actual experience rather than theory or belief, and its foundation is observed and measured phenomena.Any study in which the findings are solely based on concrete empirical evidence, also known as "verifiable" evidence, is considered empirical research.

Both quantitative and qualitative methods of market research can be used to gather this empirical evidence.

For instance:A study is currently underway to determine whether listening to upbeat music while working may encourage creativity.A music website survey is used to conduct an experiment on a group of people who listen to happy music and another group who don't. The subjects are then observed.The findings of such a study will provide concrete proof of whether or not it fosters creativity.

Empirical study:Origin The expression "I will not believe it unless I see it" is probably familiar to you.This fundamental understanding powered the emergence of medieval science during the Renaissance and laid the foundation for modern science as we know it today. It came from the ancient empiricists.Greek is where the word comes from.The Greek word empeirikos, which means "experienced," is its ancestor.

The term "empirical" today refers to the collection of data using evidence gathered through observation, experience, or calibrated scientific instruments.One thing all of the aforementioned sources have in common is the need for observation and experiments to gather data and test it before drawing conclusions.

Methodologies and types of empirical research Qualitative or quantitative methods can be used to carry out and analyze empirical research.

Quantitative studies:Numerical data are used in quantitative research methods to gather information.It is used to quantify beliefs, actions, and other clearly defined variables.In a more structured format, these are predetermined.Surveys, longitudinal studies, polls, and other methods are common. Qualitative research:Non-numerical data is gathered through qualitative research methods.It is used to interpret its subjects' meanings, opinions, or underlying motives.These approaches are either semi-structured or unstructured.Focus groups, experiments, interviews, and other forms of conversational research are some of the most common methods for providing more in-depth information about the issue. The sample size for such a study is typically small.

Analyses of the data gathered from these will be required.Additionally, empirical evidence can be analyzed qualitatively or quantitatively.Using this, the researcher can provide an answer to empirical questions that must be clearly defined and based on his findings.The field in which the research will be conducted will determine the type of research design that will be used.In order to get a better answer to questions that can't be studied in a laboratory setting, many of them might decide to conduct collective research using both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Benefits of empirical research

The purpose of empirical research is to determine the significance of a specific phenomenon.To put it another way, it tries to figure out how and why something works the way it does.

It is possible to repeat or avoid similar events by determining the reasons behind them.

The research's adaptability enables the researchers to modify specific aspects and adapt them to new objectives.

It is more trustworthy because it is based on actual experiences rather than theories.

Because the researcher is present during data collection, empirical research data may be less biased.Non-empirical research, on the other hand, makes it sometimes impossible to confirm the accuracy of data.

Negative aspects of empirical research

It can take a long time, depending on the subject.

Due to the possibility of costly data collection methods, it is typically not a cost-effective method.Additionally, it might necessitate traveling to multiple locations.

The research may not produce the desired outcome due to a lack of evidence and subjects.Because it may not be sufficient to accurately represent the intended audience, a small sample size prevents generalization.

Finding sensitive information is difficult, and researchers may require participant consent before using the data.

Empirical Research Vs Research-Based Design. The fact that DBR takes place in a real setting where education and practice take place rather than in an experimental and theoretical setting is an important aspect of the method.

  • The second feature is that it relies on training and learning's complexity.

As a result, new dimensions of issues that the design can rely on are discovered when the design is implemented and evaluated in a natural and standardized learning environment.

  • The third characteristic of DBR is that it is based on theory. Its goal is to advance theories in the complex educational environment and its factors

  • .The fourth feature of DBR is that it employs quantitative and qualitative approaches to comprehend the contradictory aspects of the complicated relationships between instructors, students, tools, and content.

  • Finally, its fifth feature, which encourages designers, educators, and students of all levels and expertise to collaborate on its design and evaluation (Collective, 2003;2012, Dolmans and Tigelaar).

The emergence and implementation of DBR in an educational context and in a real environment, as well as the fact that this issue validates our research and assures us that great results can be used in practice, are all accepted features for DBR, according to Anderson and Shattuck.2: Developing and concentrating on a specific intervention, in the sense that a successful intervention ought to be able to transfer from the experimental class environment to the real and normal class.3: A suitable platform for researchers and educators to work together to solve the practical problems of education by accurately creating and evaluating its environment and texture.4: Researchers are able to assess the program's success in achieving its objectives and results by keeping track of time, resources, facilities, and other options.Another point is that in a real-world educational setting, the teacher simultaneously serves as a researcher and a teacher.There have been studies in this area (Anderson & Shattuck, 2012;Journal of Education in the Black Sea Region, Vol.5, Volume 1, Number 30 | Year 2005; According to Kuhne & Quigley 1997), teachers' busy schedules frequently prevent them from using the conventional research method.


  • Anderson, T. & Shattuck, J. (2012). Design-based research: A decade of progress in education research? Educational Researcher, 41(1), 16-25.

  • Bacon, R., Williams, L. T., Grealish, L., & Jamieson, M. (2015). Competency-Based Assessment for Clinical Supervisors: Design-BasedResearch on a Web-Delivered Program. JMIR Research Protocols, 4(1), e26.

  • Brown, A. L. (1992). Design experiments: Theoretical and methodological challenges in creating complex interventions in classroom settings. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 2(2), 141-178.

  • Cole, R., Purao, S., Rossi, M., & Sein, M. (2005). Being proactive: where action research meets design research. ICIS 2005 Proceedings, 27. Retrieved September 1, 2019 from

  • Collective, D.-B. R. (2003). Design-based research: An emerging paradigm for educational inquiry. Educational Researcher, 32(1),5-8.

  • Hoadley, C. M. (2004). Methodological alignment in design-based research. Educational Psychologist, 39(4), 203-212. doi: 10.1207/s15326985ep3904_2

  • Kirshner, B., & Polman, J. L. (2013). Adaptation by design: A context-sensitive, dialogic approach to interventions. National Society for the Study of Education Yearbook, 112(2), 215-236.

  • Levin, J. R., & O'Donnell, A. M. (1999). What to do about educational research's credibility gaps? Issues in Education, 5(2), 177-229. doi: 10.1016/S1080-9724(00)00025-2

  • Norjkhorloo, Namral & Porter, David. (2013). An exploration of the use of open educational resources (OER) with parents and preschool teachers in Mongolia.


This Article is on the Difference between Empirical Research and Design-Based Research has been contributed by Sandhya. Sandhya is a proactive and self-motivated individual with a very keen interest in the field of psychology. Owing to the importance of mental health in today's times has helped her gain a vision of helping people thrive in their lives in its truest sense. Along with gaining more practical exposure to what this spectrum field of psychology has to offer.

She is part of the Global Internship Research Program (GIRP). GIRP is an IJNGP initiative to encourage young adults across our globe to showcase their research skills in psychology and to present it in creative content expression.


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