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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison and James Hiebert

In our March editorial (Cai et al., 2018), we considered the problem of isolation in the work of teachers and researchers. In particular, we proposed ways to take advantage of emerging technological resources, such as online archives of student data linked to instructional activities and indexed by learning goals, to produce a professional knowledge base (Cai et al., 2017b, 2018). This proposal would refashion our conceptions of the nature and collection of data so that teachers, researchers, and teacher-researcher partnerships could benefit from the accumulated learning of ordinarily isolated groups. Although we have discussed the general parameters for such a system in previous editorials, in this editorial, we present a potential mechanism for accumulating learning into a professional knowledge base, a mechanism that involves collaboration between multiple teacher-researcher partnerships. To illustrate our ideas, we return once again to the collaboration between fourth-grade teacher Mr. Lovemath and mathematics education researcher Ms. Research, who are mentioned in our previous editorials(Cai et al., 2017a, 2017b).

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison and James Hiebert

In our May editorial (Cai et al., 2018a), we explored how collaborations among teacher-researcher partnerships could harness emerging technological resources to address the problem of isolation in the work of teachers and researchers. In particular, we described a professional knowledge base (Cai et al., 2018b) and a mechanism by which that knowledge base could be continuously populated, updated with data and resources that are useful to teachers and researchers, and shared among partnerships thereby enabling them to work on the same instructional problems. In this editorial, we shift our focus to discuss how data on students' thinking and classroom experiences could be leveraged within such a system to improve instructional practice. We will explore how the knowledge base could serve as a tool to (a) gather, process, and analyze data from individual students; (b) increase our understanding of the effects of students' mathematical learning experiences; and (c) help teacher-researcher partnerships understand and improve students' learning.

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison and James Hiebert

In this editorial, we elaborate our vision of the changing roles of researchers and teachers in a future world in which research has a much more direct and meaningful impact on practice (Cai et al., 2017). In previous editorials, we have described characteristics of this future world, including setting research agendas based on instructional problems teachers want to solve (Cai et al., 2017a), developing authentic partnerships between researchers and teachers and connecting multiple partnerships to solve common problems (Cai et al., 2017a, 2018a, 2018b), using new technologies to collect and analyze data on the relationships between students' instructional and learning histories that would enable teachers to plan more effective lessons (Cai et al., 2018a, 2018b), taking advantage of connected partnerships and new data-gathering technologies to build a knowledge base accessible to all teachers facing similar instructional problems (Cai et al., 2018a, 2018b, 2018d), and creating new incentives to appropriately reward researchers and teachers for improving the learning opportunities for all students across classrooms within their school district or state (Cai et al., 2017a). We have alluded to the changing roles this vision would require, including researchers developing hypothetical learning trajectories for concepts that are implicated in teachers' instructional problems (Cai et al., 2017b) and teachers accepting professional responsibilities for contributing to knowledge that improves instruction in all classrooms in their district or state rather than just in their own classroom (Cai et al., 2017a). In this editorial, we create a more complete picture of the new professional roles of researchers and teachers in this future world that intertwines research and practice.

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison and James Hiebert

We concluded our November editorial (Cai et al., 2018b) with a promise to consider research paradigms that could bring us closer to the new world we have envisioned where research is intertwined with practice. We will call the paradigms we have in mind research pathways to avoid the range of complicated connotations often applied to the term paradigm. By research pathways in education, we mean the collection of assumptions that define the purposes of educational research, the principles that differentiate research from other educational activities, and the guidelines for how research should be conducted.

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer, James Hiebert and Arthur Bakker

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer, James Hiebert and Arthur Bakker

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

In 2002, the National Research Council (NRC) released Scientific Research in Education, a report that proposed six principles to serve as guidelines for all scientific inquiry in education. The first of these principles was to “pose significant questions that can be investigated empirically” (p. 3). The report argued that the significance of a question could be established on a foundation of existing theoretical, methodological, and empirical work. However, it is not always clear what counts as a significant question in educational research or where such questions come from. Moreover, our analysis of the reviews for manuscripts submitted to JRME 1 suggests that some practical, specific guidance could help researchers develop a significant question or make the case for the significance of a research question when preparing reports of research for publication.

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Jinfa Cai, Anne Morris, Charles Hohensee, Stephen Hwang, Victoria Robison, Michelle Cirillo, Steven L. Kramer and James Hiebert

In our March editorial (Cai et al., 2019), we discussed the nature of significant research questions in mathematics education. We asserted that the choice of a suitable theoretical framework is critical to establishing the significance of a research question. In this editorial, we continue our series on high-quality research in mathematics education by elaborating on how a well-constructed theoretical framework strengthens a research study and the reporting of research for publication. In particular, we describe how the theoretical framework provides a connecting thread that ties together all of the parts of a research report into a coherent whole. Specifically, the theoretical framework should help (a) make the case for the purpose of a study and shape the literature review; (b) justify the study design and methods; and (c) focus and guide the reporting, interpretation, and discussion of results and their implications.