EDUCATION INSPIRING RESEARCH? EMBEDDING DESIGN BASED RESEARCH IN EDUCATIONAL CONTEXT

N. Van Ceulebroeck1, B. Dehertogh1, C. Mertens2, C. Van Kerckhove2, E. Verstraete3

1University College AP Antwerp (BELGIUM)
2University College Ghent (BELGIUM)
3University Ghent (BELGIUM)
The presentation focuses on experiences of the interaction between a schools needs and educational reality and the logics of research. We will discuss how schools and researchers co-create in a large scaled design based research on study choice in Ghent and Antwerp (Belgium) and how this way of working enhances the chances of a durable outcome for both schools and research.

The context is a four-year research project called Transbaso. It is aimed at enhancing the educational and social efficiency of the transition between primary and secondary education. By doing interventions in schools, we look for innovative ways of diminishing social inequality in this transition. 36 schools in the 2 largest cities in Flanders, Antwerp and Ghent, are involved. Qualitative and quantitative research give insight in this process of study and school orientation of pupils and in the effects of the interventions. The project is currently in its third year.

At the beginning of the project, a research model was set up by consulting literature and by including fieldworkers’ ideas. The research model was based on a strong and active link between education and research, and initiates 4 tracks of innovation:
(1) didactics and assessment,
(2) communication between all stakeholders,
(3) networking and collaboration between organisation/schools, and
(4) mapping facts and figures in today’s policy.

From the start of the project, schools are an active key player in the research, since all interventions are discussed within schools to persue the highest possible efficiency and efficacy. The interventions are developed together with local (school)actors in order to formulate the best answer to the existing needs. As such, schools are co-owner of the experimental design and the data collection.

In reality, the 4 tracks of innovations set out in the initial design, seemed to merge together. By making the schools co-owner of the research project, the research model gets stretched to the maximum. The four tracks were reconsidered and reframed from the schools’ point of view.
In the presentation, we will give more specific examples and talk about how daily reality in education modifies the research model and how valorization and research can strengthen or restrict each other.