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  1. Background: The history of engineering education perpetuates a cultural inertia favoring dominant groups. Engineering education research on broadening participation implies a change towards a desired outcome: increased diversity, equity, and inclusion in the engineering profession. However, many research designs focus on knowledge generation without centering a process of change within research activities or collaborations. Purpose: In this theoretical article, we critically examine the current norms of qualitative research on broadening participation to center research designs that push towards change. Scope: First, we present a simple change model as a way of discussing prototypical qualitative research designs in terms of their component parts. We find that these research designs are limiting in terms of enacting significant change. Next, we point to a variety of institutional norms and values that inherently limit research innovation and impact in these contexts, including the traditional policies, practices, and values that shape our work. Lastly, we draw from experiences in our own work to introduce alternative approaches that center change for equity and inclusion within broadening participation research designs and frame this discussion using the same change model concept to highlight those features. Conclusion: In conclusion, we call for more innovation in qualitative research design and suggest some strategies for innovation that push beyond traditional approaches to instill change. 
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  2. Paper presented in the Education Research and Methods Division of ASEE 
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