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Summary & Review Guidelines

Note: These guidelines are revised from time to time (the current incarnation is available through my web site,

Consider the following questions when reading articles, papers, essays, and other material about mathematics and/or science education. As you read, think about the questions and make some brief notes. If a particular question does not apply to a given article, put N/A for ``not applicable." After you have made notes, write an essay with an intro paragraph, body paragraph(s) that answer the questions in prose form (it is not necessary to address them in the order given here), and a concluding paragraph. At the top of the essay include an annotated bibliographic citation of the work. For example:

Boaler, Jo (2002). Exploring the nature of mathematical activity: Using theory, research and `working hypotheses' to broaden conceptions of mathematics knowing. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 51, 3-22.

Annotation: Boaler synthesizes many ESM publications on mathematics education research. Article's theoretical emphasis is on Jeremy Kilpatrick's ``proficiency" model (understanding, fluency, competence, reasoning, and disposition) and on Deborah Ball's ``practices" model (know-how, including but not limited to content knowledge, for learning and understanding mathematics). Article's practical emphasis is on relying on working hypotheses about how research might inform practice, and vice versa, in the creating and reporting of meaningful investigations of mathematics learning and teaching.
First, some general questions that will apply to most readings.

1. Is this a research article, a ``think piece" (e.g., theory), a survey article, or something else?
2. What did you learn from the article, e.g., a new concept, a new theoretical framework, new empirical facts, something else, not much?
3. Is there anything in the article that you disagree with and would like to question or challenge? Give some reasons/evidence for your disagreement. This can be from personal experience (but keep this brief!).
4. Do you know of other papers that speak to the same topic? Compare them. Does the article suggest any (further) studies/investigations that could be made?
5. Are there implications for teaching in the article? What are they? Are these actually based upon the study/investigation or upon the literature reviewed in the paper or on something else?
6. Did you have questions about the meaning of any of the words? What words? Look them up. What are their meanings?
7. To what degree is the study/information presented ``generalizable"? That is, to what degree is there enough information about the participants for you to feel you could tell whether some other participants are very similar?
8a. Was the evidence (whether or not it supports the conclusions) presented in an easy-to-read and easy-to-understand way? Consider both the words and the tables/figures.
8b. Were biases discussed/evident? What were they? How do you know?
8c. What sense of voice and/or perspective did the author communicate?

For research articles, all of the above AND the following:

9. What was the research question(s) or research problem(s)?
10. What was the answer(s) or partial answer(s)?
11. What evidence (data) was provided to back up the answer(s)?
12. How was this evidence (data) gathered, i.e., what was the methodology of the study? Does it seem appropriate?
13. How was the analysis of the data done? Does the analysis seem adequate? Does the discussion of the analysis seem adequate? Why or why not?
14. Was there a theoretical framework? If so, was it appropriate? Did its use aid in understanding the results? How?
next up previous contents
Next: Course Readings: Books Up: Graduate Course - Teaching Previous: Graduate Course - Teaching   Contents
Shandy Hauk 2007-01-18