EARLI: On shifting positions in DBR

I’m happy to announce, that I will be going to Finland on the EARLI (European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction) conference this year with a contribution to a roundtable discussion.  My colleagues Lea Tilde Rosenlund, Charlotte Wolff and I had our proposal accepted with the following comments:

This makes for an interesting round-table, being conscious of the possible influences of shifting roles and perspectives are of the utmost importance in DBR – any type of research for that matter. I think the discussion at this round-table will be fruitful.

The question of the (shifting) role of the researcher in Design-Base Research is an important and understudied question. The proposed round table could provide a welcome contribution to the discussion. The round table format fits the described purpose very well.

The topic for our roundtable discussion is on the shifting positions of the researcher within Design-Based Research. You can see our proposal here: EARLI submission round table 2017

You can find out more about the EARLI conference here: https://earli.org/earli-2017

Hope to see you there

Submission for EARLI 2017

Are you going to participate at EARLI 2017?

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Well hopefully, I am. I just co-authored a submission to a roundtable discussion about the earlier stated interest in Shifting Positions. The aim is to get more input on the topic. In the following,  you will find the abstract that we hope will be accepted.

We wish to portray and negotiate different perspectives of participation as a basic condition when conducting Design-Based Research.  The position of the researcher is not fixed and must adjust and adapt in-process, and in collaboration with practitioners. Although the literature on Design-Based Research addresses perspectives on roles of the researcher, and the co-designers or practitioners, we find that focus is often on skills needed, e.g. being an expert in the field, rather than on the phenomena of shifting positions in the phases and contexts of research. We propose the phenomenon of shifting positions as consequential to the scope and outcomes of a project. Discussing these shifts in relation to benefits and challenges particular to the Design-based Research approach is necessary to stimulate awareness of these issues. As these issues are  valuable to both researchers and practitioners, considering them may generate  recommendations on how to prepare for these shifts when conducting Design-Based Research. To illustrate how positions shift in actual practice, we draw upon two empirical studies conducted in the context of Teacher Education Programme. We present one case where the researcher is positioned as a second teacher within the classroom, and another case where the researcher needs to renegotiate his position as co-designer and researcher after an intervention in the design experiment. Our goal is to gather ideas and contributions through discussion of the concept and characterisation of shifting positions, collectively considering how this concept may advance Design-based research.  

If you are indeed participating I hope you will join the discussions.

Study trip to the Open University Netherlands

Recently I travelled along with my colleagues to visit the Open University of the Netherlands and a group of researchers who were particularly interested in Practice-Based Research and Networked Learning. In the following is just a short wrapup from the trip.

We were very well received by our colleagues there and they had planned a great week for our stay as shown in the table below:

skaermbillede-2016-10-08-kl-16-15-37As part of the programme, we collaborated a conference where both research teams could present different parts of their research to a broader audience (mainly masters students at the university and colleagues). I have written briefly about the conference in an earlier post:

Confrence on Practice-based research methods

At the conference, I had the chance to give a presentation on the “Concepts of transfer and transformation in designing for situated knowledge across contexts”
My presentation was mainly on presenting different views and positions on the concept of transfer and relate those views to my own research. In my presentation, I did partly describe and problematise the concept of transfer and argued that transfer should not be seen as an isolated phenomenon but in correlation to learning and transformation of knowledge situated in contexts
You can see my slides here:

Concepts of transfer and transformation in designing for situated knowledge across contexts from Roland Hachmann

As part of the workshop, questions arose on the concept of participation and how we actually are able to identify which contexts participants bring into and across social constructions. How are we able to know, which prior experiences and knowledge, participant bring into a situation and how actions are related to them. These kinds of questions are important for my study and I will need to engage further with these perspectives.

Another hot topic at the conference was on the notion of quality in empirical research and who should actually conduct this kind of research. On one hand, it was argued that universities were perfectly able since research is not dependent on a specific practice or limited to specific contexts, and on the other hand it was argued that research should indeed take into consideration and recognise practice as complex and research as an entangled part of this complexity, which could not be neutral. Again a topic that will be both important and interesting for me to elaborate on. Right now there is a similar discussion on, whether research conducted by professionals at Departments of Applied Science (At University Colleges) do a special kind of research that differs from Universities hence the strong commitment and involvement in practice. At this point, I’m not sure where I stand. I will be back on this topic in another post

Workshop: Methodology and instruments for practice & participatory-based research

As another activity, I, together with my Ph.d.-fellow Lea and dutch colleague Arnoud, planned a workshop on a topic that we think as highly influencing Participatory research or in my case, Design-Based Research.

The main focus of the workshop was on locating benefits and challenges on engaging into studies from a participatory or design-based perspective. We wanted to have a focus on which qualities others saw in Participatory- or Design-Based Research and especially on shifting positions of the participants in a research design.
In short, literature on Design-Based Research often addresses perspectives on roles of the researcher as well as the co-designers/practitioners, but the focus being on skills needed, e.g. being an expert in the field, rather than on the phenomena of changing positions in the phases and contexts of research. As researchers, we find this insufficient and lacking understanding the social construct of empirical research. 

To facilitate the discussion we divided the two teams into three groups discussing the following:

 

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After discussing the input from the three groups we presented two examples (dilemmas) to illustrate how positions, shift in actual practice, we (Lea and I) drew upon two empirical studies from our own research conducted in the context of Teacher education programme. The first example shows how the professional background of the researcher influences the participants’ positioning of the researcher. The second example shows how the position of the researcher is questioned by the co-designer while developing a practice with and through the design. Both examples provide cases where the position of the researcher is not fixed, and thereby not limited to being the expert, nor does it take a neutral or invisible stance in the setting.

The two examples are shown below:

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Special issue to come:
To repeat and summarise  all points of discussions would be too much in this post, but as a result of the trip, we agreed to collaborate further on a special issue where we will present, discuss and reflect upon the various topics from our week. Lea and I are, in collaboration with Charlotte Wolff writing on an article the focuses on shifting positions as a phenomenon and we are looking forward to publishing it next year. For now, we are still in the  investigation phase, but since publishing articles undergo a long process the actual writing process will soon begin.

More to come on the account as well.

Below you can see the two research teams from Denmark and The Netherlands:

SDU team:
Nina Bonderup Dohn
Jens Jørgen Hansen
Stig Børsen Hansen
Lea Tilde Rosenlund
Roland Hachmann

OUNL team:
Maarten de Laat
Steven Verjans
Emmy Vrieling
Femke Nijland
Arnoud Evers
Rob Martens
Charlotte Wolff