Five Decades of Mathematics Education Research

Author:
Matthew InglisLoughborough University

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Colin FosterUniversity of Leicester

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Mathematics educators have been publishing their work in international research journals for nearly 5 decades. How has the field developed over this period? We analyzed the full text of all articles published in Educational Studies in Mathematics and the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education since their foundation. Using Lakatos's (1978) notion of a research programme, we focus on the field's changing theoretical orientations and pay particular attention to the relative prominence of the experimental psychology, constructivist, and sociocultural programmes. We quantitatively assess the extent of the “social turn,” observe that the field is currently experiencing a period of theoretical diversity, and identify and discuss the “experimental cliff,” a period during which experimental investigations migrated away from mathematics education journals.

Contributor Notes

Matthew Inglis, Mathematics Education Centre, Loughborough University, Schofield Building, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, United Kingdom; m.j.inglis@lboro.ac.uk

Colin Foster, School of Education, University of Leicester, 21 University Road, Leicester LE1 7RF, United Kingdom; colin.foster@leicester.ac.uk

(Corresponding author is Inglis m.j.inglis@lboro.ac.uk)
(Corresponding author is Foster colin.foster@leicester.ac.uk)
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