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ERIC Number: EJ878860
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 18
ISSN: ISSN-0021-8251
Reflections of an Accidental Theorist
Schoenfeld, Alan H.
Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, v41 n2 p104-116 Mar 2010
This "Research Commentary" explores the roles of theoretical and empirical work in the development of productive lines of research by elaborating on 3 main points. First, the dialectic between theory and empirical practice is highly productive for both: Theory is enriched by close attention to data, and one's understanding of empirical issues is deepened when one attends closely to theory. Second, an effective mechanism for making systematic progress is to focus on cases at the edge of one's (and the field's) collective theoretical understanding. Third, close observations of empirical phenomena often raise issues that have theoretical import and that give rise to new lines of work. These 3 points, and implications, are illustrated with examples from my research. (Contains 1 figure and 3 footnotes.)
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. 1906 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1502. Tel: 800-235-7566; Tel: 703-620-3702; Fax: 703-476-2970; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A