Mathematics education as a design science1

Richard Lesh, Bharath Sriraman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We propose re-conceptualizing the field of mathematics education research as that of a design science akin to engineering and other emerging interdisciplinary fields which involve the interaction of "subjects", conceptual systems and technology influenced by social constraints and affordances. Numerous examples from the history and philosophy of science and mathematics and ongoing findings of M& M research are drawn to illustrate our notion of mathematics education research as a design science. Our ideas are intended as a framework and do not constitute a "grand" theory (see Lester, 2005, this issue). That is, we provide a framework (a system of thinking together with accompanying concepts, language, methodologies, tools, and so on) that provides structure to help mathematics education researchers develop both models and theories, which encourage diversity and emphasize Darwinian processes such as: (a) selection (rigorous testing), (b) communication (so that productive ways of thinking spread throughout relevant communities), and (c) accumulation (so that productive ways of thinking are not lost and get integrated into future developments).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-505
Number of pages16
JournalZDM - International Journal on Mathematics Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2005


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