Agile research




research methods, agile, exploratory research, teaching research


In this paper we ask: “how might we take the ideas, the methods and the underlying philosophy behind agile software development and explore applying them in the context of doing research — even research that does not involve software development?” We look at some examples of agile research methods and think about how they might inspire the design of even better methods. We also try to address some potential criticisms of an approach that aims to minimize a need for Big Design Up Front by developing tighter iteration cycles, coupled with reflection and learning as part of a process for doing research.

Author Biographies

Michael Twidale, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Michael Twidale is a Professor in the School of Information Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and director of the Master of Science in Information Management. 

His research interests include computer supported cooperative work, computer supported collaborative learning, human computer interaction, search based technical problem solving, usability and security and museum informatics.

Current projects include studies of informal social learning of technology, technological appropriation, collaborative approaches to managing data quality, the use of mashups to create light- weight applications, collaborative information retrieval, ubiquitous learning and the usability of open source software.

His approach involves the use of interdisciplinary techniques to develop high-speed, low- cost methods to better understand the needs of people, and their difficulties with existing computer applications as part of the process of designing more effective systems.


Preben Hansen, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences, Stockholm University

Preben Hansen is Associate Professor in the Department of Computer and Systems Sciences at Stockholm University. Dr. Hansen is also Head of the Design and Collaborative Technologies Group and a Honorary Research Fellow at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is co-editor of Collaborative information seeking: Best practices, new domains and new thoughts (Springer International Publishing, 2015).




How to Cite

Twidale, M., & Hansen, P. (2019). Agile research. First Monday, 24(1).