Design Based Implementation Research

New Special Topic Collection in AERA Open on Research-Practice Partnerships

AERA Open, an Open Access journal of the American Educational Research Association, has just published a special topic collection on Research-Practice Partnerships. The collection, co-edited by Bill Penuel and Heather Hill, features empirical studies of research-practice partnerships dynamics and outcomes. It addresses a growing need for case studies and comparative research on partnerships in the field, as well as an increasing attention to racial equity in partnership work.

Links to each of the special collection articles appear below:


Penuel, W. R., & Hill, H. C. (2019). Building a knowledge base on research-practice partnerships: Introduction to the special topic collection. AERA Open, 5(4), 1-5.


Blazar, D., & Kraft, M. A. (2019). Balancing rigor, replication, and relevance: A case for multiple-cohort, longitudinal experiments. AERA Open, 5(3), 1–18.

Denner, J., Bean, S., Campe, S., Martinez, J., & Torres, D. (2019). Negotiating trust, power, and culture in a research–practice partnership. AERA Open, 5(2), 1-11.

Farrell, C. C., Harrison, C., & Coburn, C. E. (2019). “What the hell is this, who the hell are you?” Role and identity negotiation in research-practice partnerships. AERA Open, 5(2), 1-13.

Ghiso, M. P., Campano, G., Scheab, E. R., Asaah, D., & Rusoja, A. (2019). Mentoring in research-practice partnerships: Toward democratizing expertise. AERA Open, 5(4), 1–12.

Hopkins, M., Weddle, H., Gluckman, M., & Gautsch, L. (2019). Boundary crossing in a professional association: The dynamics of research use among state leaders and researchers in a research-practice partnership. AERA Open, 5(4), 1–12.

Resnick, A. F., & Kazemi, E. (2019). Decomposition of practice as an activity for research-practice partnerships. AERA Open, 5(3), 1-14.

Thompson, J., Richards, J., Shim, S.-Y., Lohwasser, K., Von Esch, K., Chew, C., Sjoberg, B., Morris, A. (2019). Launching PLC networks: Footholds into creating and improving knowledge of ambitious and equitable teaching practices in a RPP. AERA Open, 5, (3), 1–22.

Announcing: DBIR Workshop with UNCG! (May 8-9, 2018)

Looking to attend a workshop to learn more about DBIR?

You’re in luck! As you may have heard, we’ve decided to forego our annual summer workshop this year in order to offer a few workshops in collaboration with other teams across the country. We weren’t sure how many people these workshops would be able to accommodate, however, we just learned that our upcoming workshop hosted with The University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Education has some openings. Register today to secure your spot!


May 8-9, 2018
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

DBIR Faculty

Bill Penuel, University of Colorado Boulder
Dan Gallagher, Shoreline Public Schools
Kylie Peppler, Indiana University
Nichole Pinkard, Northwestern University

Workshop topics

Partnership Development
Collaborative Design in School and Out-of-School Settings
Attending to Research and Scale

Learn more

For more info about registration fees, lodging, and to sign up, please visit the workshop registration page.

We hope to see you in Greensboro, NC!

Are you NEW to DBIR? Join us on 1/31 for a Video Chat on Theory and Methods in DBIR

Are you NEW to DBIR?

Join us on 1/31 for a Video Chat on Theory and Methods in DBIR

DBIR projects always involve joining a fast moving and often turbulent stream. They involve partnering with teachers, schools, leaders, and communities that are constantly changing, and yet we have to plan and carry out research that involves design and implementation of complex innovations. How do we enter the stream? How can we be a guide within the stream? What agile methods can we use and evolve as we learn more about the environment? What do we learn and contribute to the field when we do this?

Join host Jessica Rigby (University of Washington) as she leads a discussion with Megan Hopkins (UC San Diego) and Bill Penuel (CU Boulder) about theory and methods in DBIR.

There will be an opportunity to hear about two examples of DBIR, share ideas with others, and get your questions answered about theory and methods.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018


9-10:30 am pacific / 10-11:30 mountain / 11-12:30 central / 12-1:30 eastern


  • Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: link
  • Or Telephone: US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 669 900 6833 Meeting ID: 279 688 580

Learn about DBIR work at #AERA17!

If you are in San Antonio this week for AERA, you won't want to miss these DBIR-related presentations! Stop by one or more of these sessions to learn more about DBIR and talk with researchers and practitioners engaging in this work. For more information about these sessions and to see who is presenting, please download the resource below. If you know of a DBIR-related presentation that isn't included but should be, please email us the info so we can update the list. Also, feel free to tweet at us @learnDBIR during the conference – we'd love to hear your ideas, lessons learned, questions, or anything else you'd like to share! #AERA17

Follow us on twitter to receive reminders during #AERA17 about these great sessions!

  • Text/Poster

    DBIR Sessions at AERA17

    View File


New Online Summer Course: Open Education Resources in Science Education

Follow link to full-size flyer

Bill Penuel and Katie Van Horne will be offering a graduate level online course through the University of Colorado Boulder from June 5-July 7, 2017 that features Open Education Resources for science teaching. Featured will be resources aligned to the Framework for K-12 Science Education.

The online course will be mostly synchronous and will meet virtually on Mondays 8-11A MT, Friday 8-10A MT.

  • Link the science you teach to students’ everyday lives and experiences
  • Focus on science ideas in greater depth
  • *Give students more responsibility for planning and carrying out investigations
  • Integrate science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts of science into teaching and assessment
  • Improve science achievement in their classes

Course Description

The course will introduce teachers to high-quality, research-based resources that are freely available on the Internet. In addition, teachers will gain practice with using tools to plan instruction anchored in science phenomena and engineering design challenges and with tools to assess three-dimensional science learning. At the conclusion of the course, teachers will have a strong grasp of the vision of the research-based Framework for K-12 Science Education, knowledge of curricular resources available for engaging students in meaningful science learning, and experience with essential tools for adapting resources to their local context. The course may be especially beneficial for teachers implementing new standards such as the Next Generation Science Standards who are seeking materials aligned to those standards.


Bill Penuel is a professor of learning sciences and human development in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. Bill conducts research and leads professional development across the country in science education. His expertise is in the areas of science curriculum and assessment. Much of his current work focuses on supporting implementation of the vision of science teaching and learning of the Framework for K-12 Science Education.

Katie Van Horne is a postdoctoral scholar in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. Katie works closely with teachers to collaboratively design new curriculum materials aligned with the Framework. She has also led professional development in curriculum and classroom assessment.

Register for class #16753 at CU Boulder

Course Costs

For 3 credits

In-state: $1,806

Out of state: ~$3,000

Join us for a Webinar Series to Discuss NEPC Report, "Making the Most of ESSA"

Please join us for a webinar series starting in the new year sponsored by the Research+Practice Collaboratory focused on designing and implementing non-academic indicators of school quality and success under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The series is intended for state and district leaders, as well as research-practice partnerships, who are deciding on what indicators to use and how to implement them in their states.

Webinar 1: Presenting and discussing the report, "Making the Most of ESSA: Helping States Focus on School Equity, Quality, and Climate"

Wednesday, January 4, 2017, 5:30-6:30 PM ET

Hear from report authors Bill Penuel, Liz Meyer, and Michelle Renee Valladares the key conclusions of a National Education Policy Center report detailing the requirements for indicators and possible types of indicators that keep a focus on indicators. We'll discuss these findings and offer a chance for participants to ask questions about them.

Link to January Zoom Meeting

Webinar 2: Examples of Indicators focused on Equity, Quality, and Climate

Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 5:30-6:30 PM ET

This will be an opportunity to hear additional guidance from leading policy institutes about indicators of equity, quality, and climate, and also to hear what states are doing about the indicators they are considering for ESSA. We'll have both presentations and an opportunity for states to share how they are taking up considerations of equity, quality, and climate in selecting their non-academic indicator.

Link to registration for February Zoom Meeting

Webinar 3: A Continuous Improvement Approach to Indicator Development

Wednesday, March 1, 2017, 5:30-6:30 PM ET

Choosing an indicator and expecting it will work immediately is not a good approach to ensuring fairness and equity. In this webinar, we'll discuss the ways to set up a systematic process for adapting, studying the effects of, and revising indicators as part of a state plan.

All webinars will be hosted through the web videoconferencing system, Zoom. You do not need to download software ahead of time for these webinars.

Link to March Zoom Meeting

New Book on Research-Practice Partnerships by DBIR Workshop Faculty Bill Penuel and Dan Gallagher

DBIR Workshop faculty Bill Penuel and Dan Gallagher have a new book coming out in spring 2017, Creating Research Practice Partnerships in Education.

This book is intended to be a resource for educators and researchers seeking to develop long-term collaborations to solve pressing problems of practice together. Bill and Dan describe the purposes for which partnerships may be organized, the forms that these endeavors may take, challenges that they typically face, and strategies for overcoming those challenges. They draw a wide range of examples of partnerships with schools and communities and the book includes tools and routines for working together as well as strategies for ensuring equity of participation in partnerships. It includes a chapter co-authored by Cynthia E. Coburn on the different types of partnerships and includes a foreward by John Q. Easton of the Spencer Foundation, which was a sponsor of the 2016 DBIR Workshop.

The new book can be pre-ordered at Harvard Education Press.

NSF Program Solicitation: CS for All + RPPs

The recent Computer Science for All (CS for All) program solicitation from the National Science Foundation focuses on the importance of researcher-practitioner partnerships (RPPs) in supporting computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) education. Specifically, the program solicitation states:

RPPs aim to strengthen the capacity of an organization to reliably produce valued CS and CT education outcomes for diverse groups of students, educated by different teachers from varied organizational contexts. The focus is on succeeding when implemented at scale. These studies have less prescriptive research designs and methods, with research occurring in rapid, iterative, and context-expanding cycles. They require deep engagement of researchers and practitioners during the collaborative research on problems of practice that are co-defined and of value to researchers and education agencies, for example, a school district or community of schools.

About Research-Practice Partnerships

For partnership development, we recommend that teams check out our Research-Practice Partnership Toolkit, as well as these resources:

Resources for Proposal Development

For proposal development, we have assembled resources from the Research + Practice Collaboratory, LearnDBIR, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching that are directly related to key goals of projects that may be proposed:

For projects studying implementation in the local context:

For projects employing rapid changes in implementation with short-cycle methods:

For projects capitalizing on variation in educational contexts to address the sources of variability in outcomes to understand what works, for whom, and under what conditions:

For projects addressing organizational structures and processes and their relation to innovation:

For projects employing measurement of change ideas, key drivers, and outcomes to continuously test working theories and to learn whether specific changes actually produce improvement:

For projects about reforming the system in which the approach is being implemented as opposed to overlaying a specific approach on an existing system:


In addition, to support those seeking CS for All funding, we have been invited to host three workshops:

January 9-10, 2017: Atlanta, GA Apply to attend

January 12-13, 2017: Los Angeles, CA Apply to attend

January 27-28, 2017: Chicago, IL Apply to attend

At these workshops, participants will have the opportunity to learn strategies for:
+Identifying the focus of joint work in a partnership
+Engaging in collaborative design that includes researchers and educators on the team
+Conducting implementation research

New Work on ESSA and Research-Practice Partnerships

With funding from the National Science Foundation and William T Grant Foundation, the Research+Practice Collaboratory is engaging in new work focused on the role that research-practice partnerships can play in supporting district and state implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). On November 10-11, the Collaboratory will host a convening with key stakeholders — including researchers, state and district leaders, policymakers, funders, intermediaries — to discuss how researchers and practitioners can work together to meet the evidence requirements of ESSA. From this two-day meeting, we will produce resources about ESSA evidence requirements, highlighting how RPPs can support the adoption of evidence-based improvement practices and establishing the role of RPPs as a policy-relevant consideration for years to come. View a short overview video from Bill Penuel here, and stay tuned for new resources in the coming months!

Bill Penuel's "Ed Talk" on Scaling Equitable Teaching and Learning Available

In April, as part of the American Educational Research Association's Centennial Program, The AERA Knowledge Forum, Bill Penuel delivered a TED-style talk on the topic of Scaling Equitable Teaching and Learning. The talk highlighted the need for long-term research-practice partnerships in education to promote and sustain equity in education.

Held as part of AERA’s Centennial year programming, the Knowledge Forum created an opportunity for leading education scholars and policy leaders from a range of sectors to engage in an open, in-depth discussion of cutting-edge research on education and learning using Ed-Talks as catalysts for a series of compelling conversations. Other talks and resources from the Knowledge Forum are available at AERA's web site.

LearnDBIR is a project of the Research + Practice Collaboratory, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant DRL-1238253. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the Foundation. All site content is the copyright of its respective owner. Please do not reproduce materials without explicit permission.