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Section 1

Example Design and Development Research: Problem, Purpose, and Research Questions

Sample DDR Problem Statement, Purpose Statements, and Research Questions

ADE students must ground their study in the research literature finding a current problem worthy of study. It is in this aspect that DDR differs from commercial product and tool design. Problems in DDR research are increasingly complex as conditions are rapidly changing in practice in a myriad of contexts, politically, economically, societally, and technologically (PEST). Newly emerging technologies during constantly evolving PEST conditions are creating many research worthy problems in contexts where there is little or no research or products, tools, or models. For example, in 2020 the COVID pandemic forced dramatic changes in the delivery of learning across industries resulting in the need for problem-based research focused on online synchronous and asynchronous delivery using new devices, new tools, and new instructional strategies.

Below are three examples of DDR problem statements, purpose statement, and research questions. Additional resources are available in the library using design and development research in a keyword search.

Example Design and Development Problem, Purpose, and Research Questions

Example 1: From Johannes (2020) Problem Statement:

The general problem is that there is a lack of motivation among high school students in America (Ford & Roby, 2013). Motivation is closely linked to a person’s basic needs (Shefi, 2015).  Students' educational motivation is defined as the “drive and inner state that energize educational activities, facilitate learning and channel behavior toward achieving educational goals” (Öqvist & Malmström, 2018, p. 155).  There is very little known about what fuels educational motivation (Öqvist & Malmström, 2018).  The research literature on the effects of the lack of motivation indicated that when high school students are not motivated, it can lead to a higher probability of dropping out of school (Fan & Wolters, 2014).  Dropping out of school creates negative psychological, economic, and social consequences for these young people (Khalkhali, Sharifi, & Nikyar, 2013).

There is ample scholarly research that links personalized text messaging to a positive effect on a student’s academics and engagement (Chen & DiVall, 2018; Jeong & Lee, 2017).  Researchers find Snapchat, specifically, as a beneficial support intervention for students, especially since its usage is widespread globally (Dobies & Nelson, 2016; Freyn, 2017; Jeong & Lee, 2017; Sashittal, Damar, & Jassawalla, 2017; Vaterlaus, Barnett, Roche, & Young, 2016).  Although researchers showed the use of technology tools in the classroom improves student motivation and student learning experience, additional research warrants further evaluation in the use of new and emergent technologies (Cudney & Ezzel, 2017; Hoffman & Ramirez, 2018).  It is not known how Snapchat contributes to motivation when used as a classroom teaching tool, with teachers using it as a way to communicate more effectively with their students.  The specific problem to be addressed in this study is the lack of motivation in the high school classroom, which could lead to life-long negative consequences.  The study introduces Snapchat as a motivational teaching tool for high school students.  This study will be conducted within a classroom of primarily minority students.  Minority students continue to score lower on national standardized testing than non-minority students (National Center for Education Statistics, 2018).  The consequences for not finding solutions to the lack of educational motivation among high school students is a possible increase in the dropout rate, which creates an undesirable, escalating effect on their well-being (Khalkhali et al., 2013; Johannes, 2020)

Example 1: Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this qualitative, design and development, single-case study was to describe the process used to integrate and evaluate Snapchat as an educational tool into an existing curriculum and its motivational influence on one cohort of teenagers.  The goal is to understand the effect Snapchat has on student motivation in class through the experiences of a classroom teacher and students when Snapchat is integrated into the course curriculum.  Teenagers are described as being "digital natives" who are eager to engage in a new style of education (De Bruyckere, Kirschner, & Hulshof, 2016). To explore the significance of integrating a digital tool as a contributor to motivation was worth exploration and consideration.  There are over 4 million American high school students expected to attend high school, and approximately 10% of all high school students will attend private schools (National Center for Education Statistics, 2018).  From this aggregate group, a cohort of high school students from a private high school in Pensacola, Florida, will be selected for this study.  Because there is a lack of research examining the dynamics of whether students' motivation from a time earlier in high school might be used to predict their status as a dropout in their final year (Fan & Wolters, 2014), senior-level students were chosen for this case study (Johannes, 2020).

Example 1: Research Questions

RQ1.  How will Snapchat, as an educational tool, be integrated into the traditional course design?
RQ2.  How will the students react to the addition of the Snapchat educational tool into the class?
RQ3.  How will the addition of the Snapchat tool and specific uses of the tool affect student motivation?
RQ4.  How will the teacher(s) perceive the addition of the Snapchat educational tool as having an influence on student motivation in the class? Why did the teacher(s) perceive this? (Johannes, 2020)

Example 2: From Johnson (2020) Statement of the Problem

The general problem is NP programs in the United States have difficulties in obtaining clinical placement for advanced practice training for their students (Doherty et al., 2020). Nurse educators are considering alternative strategies to address the decline in available clinical sites by using incentives for student preceptors (Webb et al., 2015), increasing the one-to-one model to one-to-two (Clark et al., 2018), and using a simulated patient encounter where students apply their skills during a prescribed scenario (Drayton-Brooks et al., 2017). The use of a simulated encounter has improved NP students’ communication skills (Defenbaugh & Chikotas, 2016), enhanced their confidence (Schwindt & McNelis, 2015), and developed their clinical competencies (Johnson et al., 2014). However, positive student outcomes associated with the use of a simulation-based instructional tool has not occurred; therefore, simulation cannot count towards the required NP hours (NONPF, 2010). Nevertheless, a simulated patient encounter used at the undergraduate level showed positive results as a teaching strategy to meet learning outcomes (Strickland & March, 2015), thus resulting in counting the time in simulation towards the clinical hours required for undergraduate nursing students (Hayden, Smiley, Alexander, Kardong-Edgren, & Jeffries, 2014). Research is needed to determine if a simulated patient experience augments the learning goals and outcomes for NP students (Drayton-Brooks et al., 2017), leading to the use of simulation as an adjunct for the required clinical hours. The specific problem addressed by this study is the lack in the breadth and depth of research indicating the value of using a simulated-based instructional tool to meet student NP learning outcomes and goals. Without research data showing how NP students benefit from a simulated patient encounter, the ability to count this experience towards their total clinical hours cannot be justified (Johnson, 2020).

Example 2: Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this qualitative design and development case study was to understand and describe the development process of creating and implementing a simulation instructional tool involving a simulated complex patient encounter for NP students to apply knowledge in managing the patients’ care as the healthcare provider. The study also involved comparison of student learning outcomes between the students who use the simulation instructional tool and those who do not, in a single semester cohort of NP students during their Primary Care of Adults II course taught in a private Christian university in the southeast United States. For the purpose of this study, a simulated instructional tool is defined as a tool that provides an innovative pedagogical approach that approximates or “simulates” real-world experiences or scenarios based on realistic models (Lioce et al., 2015). After receiving university site permission and institutional review board (IRB) approval, this qualitative design and development case study was based on the Richey and Klein (2007) qualitative case study design to identify the elements and decisions surrounding the development of the instructional tool. The case study also included evaluation of the value of the simulated experience on the learning outcomes and goals for the NP students (Johnson, 2020).  

Example 2: Research Questions

RQ1. How did the designers create the instructional tool, a complex patient simulation for the nurse practitioner students?
RQ2. Why did the designers create the instructional tool the way they did?  
RQ3. How did the nurse practitioner students who used the instructional tool rate the tool and its effect regarding their learning experience?
RQ4. How did the course professor evaluate the value of using the instructional tool compared to classroom instruction only for achieving student outcomes? 
RQ5. How did the learning outcomes on an identical validated unit exam compare between the students who participated in the simulation with those who only experienced classroom instruction? (Johnson, 2020)


Clarke, V. & Braun, V. (2013) Teaching thematic analysis: Overcoming challenges and developing strategies for effective learning. The Psychologist, 26(2), 120-123

Johannes, J. L. (2020). Snap—They learn: A case study using snapchat to motivate high school students (Order No. 27957887). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2404596535). Retrieved from

Johnson, C. H. (2020). Simulated real-life encounter for nurse practitioners: A design and development case study (Order No. 28095679). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (2456816775). Retrieved from

Richey, R. C. & Klein, J. D. (2007). Design and Development Research. Routledge