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Topic: Math Education Research Doesn't Exist? Response to Schremmer
Replies: 1   Last Post: Nov 7, 2012 12:46 AM

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Clyde Greeno @ MALEI

Posts: 220
Registered: 9/13/10
Re: Math Education Research Doesn't Exist? Response to Schremmer
Posted: Nov 7, 2012 12:46 AM
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In my own meaning of "research", math-education research is commonplace. Other (perhaps more stringent) meanings of the word might exclude its existence.

Re: acceptance of the NRC document. As logic would have it, accepting any body of principles as being "consistent" with scientific research merely judges that none of them directly conflict (are inconsistent) with the actual nature of scientific research. That does not say that all six conditions are even *necessary* aspects of all scientific research ... much less saying that all six are *sufficient* to ensure that such research qualifies as being "scientific".

My own interpretation of the six statements is that the committee poses them as being essential ingredients of scientific research in any field ... that they are *necessary* conditions. I have no quarrel with that assertion ... those six are ambiguous enough to be easily defended.

Rather, the dilemma arises through recognizing that all too many educational researchers have not studied enough mathematics to know the difference between *necessary* conditions and *sufficient" conditions. That also appears to be the case with the scholars behind the report. [For a polygon to be a square, it is *necessary* for the polygon to be a quadrilateral ... but being a quadrilateral is not *sufficient* to ensure that it is a square.]

It is certain that many educational researchers will claim that their research works/findings are *scientific* because they are "consistent" with those six principles (i.e. no violations) ... or even because they have met all six "criteria." The rub is that, as criteria go, those six principles are (at best) only *necessary" conditions ... and by no means *sufficient* to ensure that their research is genuinely scientific. And the purpose of the NRC report was to *define* "Scientific Research in Education" ... to specify the *necessary and sufficient* (iff) conditions that determine when educational research qualifies as being "scientific."

My earlier statement that the committee's six principles are "glibly superficial and
badly unknowing about the nature of science" is simply an observation that those six principles in no way *suffice* as criteria for distinguishing scientific from non-scientific educational research ... as evidenced in the report's Block 5-5. Tragically, much of educational research now can use the NRC publication as a basis for so polluting the name of "scientific educational research" that distinguishing genuine scientific research from the rest will be a very cumbersome task,

From: Richard Hake
Sent: Tuesday, November 06, 2012 4:31 PM
Subject: [math-learn] Math Education Research Doesn't Exist? Response to Schremmer

Some subscribers to Math-Learn might be interested in a recent post
"Math Education Research Doesn't Exist? Response to Schremmer" [Hake
(2012)]. The abstract reads:

ABSTRACT: MathEdCC's Alain Schremmer at <> opined
that: (a) research in mathematics education does not exist; (b)
physics cannot be taught as lecture only; (c) Hake (2002b) at
<> disagreed with Greeno (2002a) at
<> because Hake is unfamiliar with math education
and thinks its problems are similar to those in physics education.

I argue in opposition to the above that:

(a) Research in mathematics education *does* exist, see e.g., the 18
entries preceded by double asterisks ** in the REFERENCE list of my
*complete* post at <>.

(b) Physics *has been* taught essentially as lecture only (where
*taught* does not mean *learned*), witness the fourteen "traditional"
(T) courses (N = 2084) in Hake (1998a) at <>.

(c) I disagreed with Greeno, *not* because of my unfamiliarity math
education, but because Greeno denounced as "glibly superficial and
badly unknowing about the nature of science" the six guiding
principles suggested in "Scientific Research in Education" at
<>, as underlying all education research; whereas
I think those principles *are* consistent with the nature of science
as I have experienced it and as has been explained by Ziman (2002) at

To access the complete 21 kB post please click on <>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: <>
Academia: <>
Blog: <>
GooglePlus: <>
Twitter: <>

"He . . . .[or she]. . . . that wrestles with us strengthens our
nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper."
Edmund Burke (1790)

REFERENCES [URL shortened by <> and accessed on 06 Nov 2012.]
Burke, E. 1790. "Reflections on the Revolution in France." Available
as a 2006 edition by Dover; information at
<>. Online at <> thanks to
McMaster University, See also the Wikipedia entry at

Hake, R.R. 2012. "Math Education Research Doesn't Exist? Response to
Schremmer," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at
<>. Post of 6 Nov 2012 11:12:48-0800 to AERA-L
and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the complete post are being
transmitted to several discussion lists and are also on my blog
"Hake'sEdStuff" at <> with a provision for

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

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