# On the theoretical, conceptual, and philosophical foundations for research in mathematics education

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## Abstract

The current infatuation in the U.S. with “what works” studies seems to leave education researchers with less latitude to conduct studies to advance theoretical and model-building goals and they are expected to adopt philosophical perspectives that often run counter to their own. Three basic questions are addressed in this article:*What is the role of theory in education research? How does one's philosophical stance influence the sort of research one does?* And,*What should be the goals of mathematics education research?* Special attention is paid to the importance of having a conceptual framework to guide one's research and to the value of acknowledging one's philosophical stance in considering what counts as evidence.

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