Monday, June 20, 2011

Design-Based Research: Old PER Wine in a New Bottle

Some blog followers might be interested in a discussion-list post “Design-Based Research: Old PER Wine in a New Bottle” [Hake (2011)].

The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: PhysLrnR Paul Camp wrote (paraphrasing): “Primary references to Design-Based Research (DBR) are cognitive scientists Ann Brown (1992) and Allan Collins (1992). Some [physics education researchers] may not know that it was ‘Not Invented Here’ (NIH), which is one of my hobbyhorses.”

One of my hobbyhorses, in turn, is attempting (with zero success) to enlighten cognitive scientists (CS’s) who are oblivious or dismissive of the contributions of Physics Education Research (PER). Some CS’s may not know that although Ann Brown and Allan Collins evidently coined the term “design experiments” neither she nor Allan Collins were the first to utilize such experiments.

In “Cognitive Science and Physics Education Research: What We've Got Here Is Failure to Communicate” [Hake (2007)] I wrote:

“Cognitive scientist Allan Collins (1999) wrote: ‘Recently researchers have begun to study teaching and learning in the context of real-world learning environments,’ evidently unaware that Physics Education Researchers HAD BEEN DOING CLASSROOM RESEARCH FOR ABOUT THREE DECADES. . . . . Will articles such as this in the multidisciplinary Journal of the Learning Sciences (JLS) assuage, to any extent, past failures of CS’s to communicate with PER’s and vice versa?”

The answer to the last question is “NO!” JLS editor David Hammer, himself a former PER, in summarizing referee objections stated:

“. . . .they also all take issue with casting the issue specifically between CS and PER, or that the problems of ambiguity and inconsistency in the terms and constructs at play in education research can be addressed by researchers reading across fields. I think they're right on both counts.”

Hammer and the referees are entitled to their opinions but I think they are woefully wrong on both counts.

To access the complete 17 kB post please click on

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)

“He who knows only his own generation
Remains always a child.”
Cicero (in Orator)

REFERENCES [URL’s shortened by and accessed on 20 June 2011.]

Hake, R.R. 2011. “Design-Based Research: Old PER Wine in a New Bottle,” online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at Post of 20 Jun 2011 13:16:58-0700 to AERA-L and NetGold. The abstract and link to the complete 17 kB post are being transmitted to various discussion lists.

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