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Proving or improving? Strengthening the link between educational research and practice

Herrington, J.ORCID: 0000-0002-9960-4677 (2007) Proving or improving? Strengthening the link between educational research and practice. In: AARE 2007 International Educational Research Conference, 25 - 29 November 2007, Fremantle, Western Australia.


It has been argued that educational research is considered a 'poor cousin' to more traditional scientific fields in universities, and that research conducted in our field has a weak link to practice. Nowhere is this more relevant than in relation to educational technology research. In this presentation, I will argue that educational technology research has largely failed to change educational practice and outcomes because of the predominant aim of such research to prove rather than improve. Many researchers conduct studies that are designed to test the effectiveness of the delivery medium-to prove that one medium is better than another- rather than exploring ways to improve instructional approaches and tasks. An alternative approach is design-based research, a method requiring intensive and long-term collaboration among researchers and practitioners. A description of the characteristics of design-based research will be given, together with an argument for the more widespread adoption of this approach to enhance the quality and impact of research in education.

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Notes: Keynote address
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