# Rethinking Characterizations of Beliefs

## Abstract

In this chapter we consider beliefs and the related concepts of conceptions and knowledge. From a review of the literature in different fields we observe that there is a diversity of views and approaches in research on these subjects. We report on a small research project of our own attempting to clarify the understanding of beliefs among specialists in mathematics education. A panel of 18 mathematics educators participated in a panel that we termed “virtual”, since the participants communicated with us only by e-mail. We sent nine characterizations related to beliefs, selected from the literature, to the panelists, asked them to express their agreement or disagreement with the statements, and also asked each to give their own characterization of the term. The answers were analyzed, searching for the elements around which the concept of beliefs has developed along the years. We discuss issues on which there was agreement and disagreement and conjecture what lies behind the differences. As a final step we make some suggestions relating to characterization of the term belief and ways of dealing with it in future research.

## Keywords

Mathematics Education Belief System Mathematics Learning Objective Knowledge Affective Component## Preview

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