## AbstractPurpose: In the paper, I discuss how Ernst Glasersfeld worked as a scientist on the project, Interdisciplinary Research on Number (IRON), and explain how his scientific activity fueled his development of radical constructivism. I also present IRON as a progressive research program in radical constructivism and suggest the essential components of such programs. Findings: The basic problem of Glasersfeld’s radical constructivism is to explore the operations by means of which we assemble our experiential reality. Conceptual analysis is Glasersfeld’s way of doing science and he used it in IRON to analyze the units that young children create and count in the activity of counting. In his work in IRON, Glasersfeld first conducted a first-order conceptual analysis of his own operations that produce units and number, and then participated in a second-order analysis of the language and actions of children and inferred the mental operations that they use to produce units and number. Further, Glasersfeld used Piaget’s concept of equilibration in the context of scheme theory in a second-order analysis of children’s construction of number sequences and of more advanced ways and means of operating in the traffic of numbers. Research Implications: The scientific method of first- and second-order conceptual analysis transcends our work in IRON and it is applicable in any radical constructivist research program whose problem is to explore the operations by means of which we construct our conceptions. Because of the difficulties involved with introspection, conducting second-order conceptual analyses is essential in exploring these operations and it involves analyzing the language and actions of the observed. But conceptual analysis is only a part of the research process because the researchers are by necessity already involved in creating occasions of observation. The “experimenter” and the “analyst” can be the same person or they can be different people. Either case involves intensive and sustained interdisciplinary thinking and ways of working if the research program is to be maintained over a substantial period of time as a progressive research program. Key words: scientific research program, attentional model, conceptual analysis, radical constructivism ## CitationSteffe L. P. (2007) Radical Constructivism: A Scientific Research Program. Constructivist Foundations 2(2-3): 41–49. Available at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/2/2-3/041.steffe Export article citation data: Plain Text · BibTex · EndNote · Reference Manager (RIS) ## ReferencesIn the garden of choices. In: Smock C. D. & Glasersfeld, von E. (eds.) Epistemology and education. Follow Through Publications, Athens GA: 125–142. Literacy acquisition and the representation of language. In: Kamii C., Manning M. & Manning C. (eds.). Early literacy: A constructivist foundation for whole language. NEA Professional Library, Washington DC: 31–55.http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/1/1/009.glasersfeld Thirty years constructivism. Constructivist Foundations 1(1): 9–12. Available athttp://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/1/2/061.glasersfeld A constructivist approach to experiential foundations of mathematical concepts revisited. Constructivist Foundations 1(2): 61–72. Available at An attentional model for the conceptual construction of units and number. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 12(2): 83–94.http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/070.1 An introduction to radical constructivism. In: Watzlawick P. (ed.) The invented reality: How do we know? W. W. Norton, New York: 17–40. Available athttp://www.vonglasersfeld.com/034 Piaget and the radical constructivist epistemology. In: Smock C. D. & Glasersfeld E. von (eds.) Epistemology and education. Follow Through Publications, Athens GA: 1–24. Reprinted in: Glasersfeld, von E. (1987) The construction of knowledge: Contributions to conceptual semantics. Intersystems Publications: Seaside CA. Available at The concept of equilibration in a constructivist theory of knowledge. In Benseler F., Hejl P. M. & Kock W. K. (eds.) Autopoisis, communication, and society. Campus Verlag, Frankfurt/M.: 75–85.http://www.vonglasersfeld.com/077 An interpretation of Piaget’s constructivism. Revue Internationale de Philosophie 36(4): 612–635. Available athttp://www.vonglasersfeld.com/074 Subitizing: The role of figural patterns in the development of numerical concepts. Archives de Psychologie 50: 191–218. Available athttp://www.vonglasersfeld.com/114 Constructivism in education. In: Husen T. & Postlethwaite N. (eds.) International encyclopedia of education (Supplementary Volume). Pergamon, Oxford: 162–163. Available at Radical constructivism: A way of knowing and learning. Falmer Press, London. The early growth of logic in the child. The Norton Library, New York. Radical constructivism, autopoiesis & psychotherapy. The Irish Journal of Psychology 9(1): 25–82. Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programs. In: Lakatos I. & Musgrave A. (eds.) Criticism and the growth of knowledge. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 91–195. Constructivism and education. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. Curriculum and evaluation standards for school mathematics. Author, Reston VA. Principles and standards for school mathematics. Author: Reston VA. The construction of an iterative fractional scheme: The case of Joe. Journal of Mathematical Behavior 20: 413–437. From fractions to rational numbers of arithmetic: A reorganization hypothesis. Mathematical Thinking and Learning 1: 279–314. The child’s construction of reality. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London. Some convergences between formal and genetic analyses. In: Beth E. W. & Piaget J. (eds.) Mathematical epistemology and psychology. D. Reidel, Boston: 259–280. First published in 1965 by Presses Universitaires de France, Paris as Volume XIV of the “Études d’ Épistémologie Génétiqué” Genetic epistemology. Colombia University Press, New York.http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/1/1/001.riegler Editorial. The constructivist challenge. Constructivist Foundations 1(1): 1–8. Available at Constructivism in education. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale NJ. Quantitative comparison and class inclusion as readiness variables for learning first grade arithmetic content. Technical Report No. 9. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED144808. Project for Mathematical Development of Children, Tallahassee, FL. Radial constructivism and mathematics education. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 26(6): 711–733. Children’s multiplying schemes. In: Harel G. & Confrey J. (eds.) Multiplicative reasoning in the learning of mathematics. SUNY Press, Albany NY: 3–39. A new hypothesis concerning children’s fractional knowledge. Journal of Mathematical Behavior 20: 267–307. Construction of arithmetical meanings and strategies. Springer, New York. Children’s counting types: Philosophy, theory, and application. Praeger, New York. Fractions and multiplicative reasoning. In: Kilpatrick J. & Martin G. (eds.) Research companion to the NCTM Standards. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Washington DC: 95–114. An integrated study of children’s construction of improper fractions and the teacher’s role in promoting that learning. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education 30: 390–416. | ||