Call for Papers: Bridging the gap between theory and practice


Call for Papers: Bridging the gap between theory and practice, GER volume 11 (2024), Issue 1

Editors: Mario Schmiedebach & Claas Wegner, Bielefeld University, Germany

Scholars at universities plan, conduct and evaluate all types of research in the field of education and didactics. Quite often, they plan interventions to evaluate theory-based educational settings, such as the effect of certain methods on student motivation or subject involvement. The interventions and results are part of research projects, published in journals or books and – if you are lucky – cited and used as an inspirational source by other researchers. However, the real question is how and to what extent all this research effects the common educational practice in schools. Do practitioners actually benefit from educational research or are research and teaching two dichotomous words?

Especially in the last years, Design-Based-Research (DBR) has been used to decrease the discrepancy between theoretical-driven research projects and practical-oriented needs of educators. DBR combines the development of innovative solutions for educational problems with gaining empirical insights of the problem and its possible solutions (Shavelson et al. 2003). This is achieved by focusing two goals at the same time: on the one hand, DBR focusses on solving educational problems brought up by educators; on the other hand, DBR is looking to develop new or to refine theories about education (Lehmann-Wermser & Konrad 2016). Hence, there is a benefit for both researchers and practitioners at the same time (Ruthven et al. 2009).

Design-Based-Research is an iterative process based on problems directly from the field, for example the question of how we can design beneficial online education for students. Teachers or other practitioners as experts from the field and experts of theories and research design, such as scholars from university, work together to develop approaches that are evaluated. By doing so, practitioners are included in developing interventions that can be implemented in schools but at the same time, researchers work in a theory-based manner to legitimate their empirical studies (Plomp 2013). Furthermore, DBR is a broad method that does not determine what kind of research has to be done as long as it is a problem-oriented approach to develop innovative interventions that are evaluated and improved iteratively (DBR Collective 2003; Fischer et al. 2003). Rather it is stated that, “Design research is not defined by methodology. All sorts of methods may be employed. What defines design research is its purpose: sustained innovative development” (Bereiter 2002, 330).

With the help of a special thematic issue, “Bridging the gap between theory and practice,” our current objective is to obtain a global perspective on design-based-research projects to explore how effective the collaboration of researchers and practitioners can be in order to encourage other researchers to start DBR research projects. With the intent to not only illustrate a bigger picture of what is possible, but also desirable, we welcome descriptions of DBR projects, their findings and their experiences. Furthermore, research projects focusing on bridging the gap between theory and practice with other research methods than DBR are also welcomed in this thematic issue. The overall aim is to highlight possibilities for researchers to strengthen collaboration with practitioners in order to develop meaningful interventions for educational settings. Therefore, submissions may present projects, entailing both the conceptualization and evaluation of educational programs, concerning the following aspects:

  • Description of the different stages of in-field research.
  • Experiences with DBR or other practitioners-involved projects (e.g. potential problems that can occur, evaluations of the participants in the DBR projects, …).
  • Empirical and practical findings of those projects.
  • Institutional anchoring of in-field research (e.g. with DBR) in teacher education.

Please send an abstract of no more than 300 words in length with at least ten literature sources as an additional attachment and contact information for all authors to and by February 15th, 2023. Abstracts will be reviewed for fit. You will be informed if the manuscript is invited for review by March 1st, 2023. Full manuscripts are due by June 1st, 2023.

Authors of articles invited for review are required to participate in a blind review of two articles submitted for publication in the same issue.