Math for Teaching: Research Problem

It is critical to pick a research problem of genuine and lasting interest, otherwise your thesis work can become difficult to sustain. Whatever you do for your Math for Teaching thesis project should be something you will want to continue learning about well after you have graduated from the program.

A Math for Teaching thesis is often project-based. In lieu of starting with a research hypothesis, your thesis work might involve investigating a particular problem or situation related to math education, creating something to address this, and analyzing/testing the result.

To establish your research problem you should

  • Provide a history/background of the issue
  • Document what is known, as well as what has been tried out to address it

In your thesis you will

  • Suggest solutions or approaches for solving the problem
  • Provide evidence to support or otherwise test your solutions

In selecting a problem for your thesis project consider the following:

  1. What has been documented about this problem already?
  2. Which aspects remain unexplored or unresolved?
  3. Is there a new technology or teaching technique that might address the issue?
  4. If you were to study this problem, how complex would this make your project?

Your thesis project should involve some significant math content - at an appropriate level for a middle or high-school class in mathematics - and it should have a connection to teaching mathematics.

For those who are currently teaching - your school might be willing to have you do work for them that would qualify as a significant thesis project.

  • You will need to ensure that anything to do with your project can be made public without violating your school’s privacy policies (or the privacy of other teachers or students) – please see the section on Using Human Subjects.