Babies, bathwater and straw persons: a response to menon

Bourke, S.
Mathematics Education Research Journal, Australia

I have found writing this response to be a difficult task, as evidenced by my inability to resist the combination of clichés in the title. As I read Menon's article I found myself agreeing with much of what he had written, although sometimes I wondered why it was considered to be worth stating. Then Menon would take a more extreme line which had not really been justified by what had preceded it, and I found myself frustrated by the lack of continuity as much as by the extreme view itself. I will give some examples of what I found to be problems with Menon's position, based around the themes of (a) was it worth saying anyway; (b) the function of over-statement; (c) methodology and the role of theory in educational research; and (d) the proposed ideal world of educational research. IN this response I have taken research in mathematics education to be entirely subsumed in educational research generally.

The CAUSE Research Group is supported in part by a member initiative grant from the American Statistical Association’s Section on Statistics and Data Science Education