Mathematics education researchers frequently use task-based interviews to gain insight into mathematicians’ practice. However, there are a number of factors that should prevent mathematics educators from extrapolating how individual mathematicians respond to researcher-generated tasks in laboratory conditions, to how mathematicians practice their craft in authentic settings. In this paper we critically analyze the rationality of using task-based interviews to investigate mathematical practice, focusing on how task-based interview studies have been used to inform our understanding of mathematicians’ use of examples in mathematical practice. We discuss four specific generalizations about mathematical practice drawn from these studies, and suggest other types of studies that can be used to corroborate or challenge those generalizations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Mathematical practice
- Task-based interviews