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Matthew Inglis and Lara Alcock

We recently reported a study in which undergraduate students and research mathematicians were asked to read and validate purported proofs (Inglis & Alcock, 2012). In our eye-movement data, we found no evidence of the initial skimming strategy hypothesized by Weber (2008). Weber and Mejía-Ramos (2013) argued that this was due to a flawed analysis of eye-movement data and that a more fine-grained analysis led to the opposite conclusion. Here we demonstrate that this is not the case, and show that their analysis is based on an invalid assumption.

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Matthew Inglis and Lara Alcock

This article presents a comparison of the proof validation behavior of beginning undergraduate students and research-active mathematicians. Participants' eye movements were recorded as they validated purported proofs. The main findings are that (a) contrary to previous suggestions, mathematicians sometimes appear to disagree about the validity of even short purported proofs; (b) compared with mathematicians, undergraduate students spend proportionately more time focusing on “surface features” of arguments, suggesting that they attend less to logical structure; and (c) compared with undergraduates, mathematicians are more inclined to shift their attention back and forth between consecutive lines of purported proofs, suggesting that they devote more effort to inferring implicit warrants. Pedagogical implications of these results are discussed, taking into account students' apparent difficulties with proof validation and the importance of this activity in both schooland university-level mathematics education.

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Matthew Inglis and Colin Foster

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.

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Mark Hodds, Lara Alcock and Matthew Inglis

In this article, the authors report 3 experiments demonstrating that a simple booklet containing self-explanation training, designed to focus students' attention on logical relationships within a mathematical proof, can significantly improve their proof comprehension.