Mathematics Education Ph.D. Qualifying Study
The Qualifying Study is intended to provide an early experience in conducting research. It should be a valuable learning opportunity prior to planning and conducting your dissertation research. It might serve as a pilot study for your dissertation, or it might lead you to select another area of research for your dissertation. Although it will be a small-scale study, it should be of sufficient quality that it could produce a conference presentation and could be submitted for publication.
You will consult regularly with your advisor (as well as other students and faculty) as you plan and conduct your study, but you will be the principal investigator.
Your Qualifying Study begins in Year One when you will identify the research questions that will guide your planning for the Study during the spring and summer before Year Two. You will present your research questions during a session of EDUC 838 in spring of Year One. Data collection for your Qualifying Study will likely occur during fall or early spring of Year Two.
You will present your Qualifying Study in at least two public presentations and a written paper. One public presentation will be during a session of EDUC 838 in fall of Year Two and the second presentation will be during a session of EDUC 838 in spring of Year Two. The fall presentation should focus on the research questions, the rationale for the questions, including a review of the literature in which the questions are situated, and the methods that will be used to investigate the questions. The spring presentation should include the analyses that have been conducted along with, at least, tentative results. You should be clear about the claims you are making and the evidence that supports these claims.
The committee of three faculty members in mathematics education who prepare and evaluate your Qualifying Examination will attend both of the EDUC 838 presentations of your Qualifying Study. Although they will not provide a formal evaluation of your presentations, they will provide advice as you design, carry out, and write up your Qualifying Study for the Qualifying Exam. In your final write-up, you are expected to explain how you incorporated (or rejected) the advice given to you by the committee during your fall and spring presentations. Ideally, you will also present the Study at a professional conference in Year Three. For your EDUC 838 presentations, be sure to include a clear statement of the research question(s), your rationale for choosing the question(s) which includes a review of the relevant literature, the methods you used to investigate the question(s), the results of the study, your interpretation of the results relative to your question(s), and the contributions the study makes to the literature. By the end of your presentation in spring of Year Two, the audience should know exactly what claims you are making and what evidence you believe support these claims.
A written paper reporting your Qualifying Study will be submitted as part of your Qualifying Examination (usually taken during the summer of Year Two). The paper should include all the aspects identified in the previous paragraph for your oral presentation. A good model for this paper is the “Brief Report” of research appearing occasionally in the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education.