Building bridges between theory and practice in medical education using a design-based research approach: AMEE Guide No. 60
Medical education research has grown enormously over the past 20 years, but it does not sufficiently make use of theories, according to influential leaders and researchers in this field. In this AMEE Guide, it is argued that design-based research (DBR) studies should be conducted much more in medical education design research because these studies both advance the testing and refinement of theories and advance educational practice. In this Guide, the essential characteristics of DBR as well as how DBR differs from other approach such as formative evaluation are explained. It is also explained what the pitfalls and challenges of DBR are. The main challenges deal with how to insure that DBR studies reveal findings that are of a broader relevance than the local situation and how to insure that DBR contributes toward theory testing and refinement. An example of a series of DBR studies on the design of a teaching portfolio in higher education that is aimed at stimulating a teacher's professional development is described, to illustrate how DBR studies actually work in practice. Finally, it is argued that DBR-studies could play an important role in the advancement of theory and practice in the two broad domains of designing or redesigning work-based learning environments and assessment programs.