INGLIS, M. and FOSTER, C., 2018. Five decades of mathematics education research. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, in press.
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.
This paper is closed access.
This research was partially supported by a Royal Society Worshipful Company of
Actuaries Research Fellowship.