Participatory approaches to curriculum design from a design research perspective

Digna Couso*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Conventionally, science education research has largely assumed that there is a fundamental separation between design and implementation processes, which take place in isolation from each other at university and school respectively. This standpoint has proven ineffective, particularly in terms of promoting long-term change that is both locally and globally meaningful. Over the last decades, an increasing amount of research has shown the importance of teachers’ active participation in innovation and its ownership. As a result, different forms of school-university participatory approaches have been proposed, mostly around the idea of professional learning communities (PLCs). Despite proving to be demanding for both teachers and researchers, such initiatives have been shown to be consistent with teacher development, empowerment and sustainability of change efforts. The argument of this paper is that these truly participatory approaches are also particularly suitable within a design research framework for science education research and innovation, being not only compatible but desirable for both the quality and validity of research results and products. However, as the professional development agenda that guides these fruitful collaborative scenarios can be in conflict with a design research agenda, this proposal is not exempt from tensions.
Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationIterative Design of Teaching-Learning Sequences
Subtitle of host publicationIntroducing the Science of Materials in European Schools
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9789400778085
ISBN (Print)9789400778078
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Design-based research
  • Participatory curriculum innovation
  • Professional Learning Communities
  • Teacher professional development
  • Teaching Learning Sequences


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