Connecting theories is a normal activity in the practice of mathematics education researchers and the theories come from within the field of mathematics education (”home-brewed” theories) or from outside (psychological, sociological, anthropological; philosophical, linguistic etc. theories). Thus, the researcher needs methods and strategies for connecting theories; e.g. comparing/contrasting and integrating/synthesizing. I argue that a meta-language is also needed in order to move from bricolage to professionalism in the work of theory connection. Drawing on Radford’s morphology of theories as triplets of principles, methodologies and research questions, I suggest a set of quality criteria for research papers and reports which focuses on the explicitness in reporting theory connection.
Tine Wedege is professor in mathematics education at the School of Teacher Education, Malmö University, Sweden and professor II at the Department of Mathematical Sciences, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. Her main research interests are people’s motivation/resistance to learn mathematics, mathematics in the workplace and the research field as such.