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Yeo, J. B. W., & Yeap, B. H. (2010). Characterising the cognitive processes in mathematical investigation. International Journal for Mathematics Teaching and Learning, 2010.
Many educators believe that mathematical investigation is open and it involves both problem posing and problem solving, but some teachers have taught their students to investigate during problem solving. The confusion about the relationship between investigation and problem solving may affect how teachers teach their students and how researchers conduct their research. Moreover, there is a research gap in studying the thinking processes in mathematical investigation, partly because it is not easy to define these processes. Therefore, this article seeks to address these issues by first distinguishing between investigation as a task, a process and an activity; and then providing an alternative characterisation of the process of investigation in terms of its core cognitive processes: specialising, conjecturing, justifying and generalising. These will help to clarify the relationship between investigation and problem solving: an open investigative activity involves both problem posing and problem solving; but the problem-solving process entails solving by the process of investigation and/or by using "other heuristics". In other words, mathematical investigation does not have to be open. The article concludes with some implications of this alternative view of mathematical investigation on teaching and research.
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