Research trends in mathematics education: A quantitative content analysis of major journals 2017-2021
Katibe Gizem Yığ 1 *
More Detail
1 Burdur Mehmet Akif Ersoy University, Turkey
* Corresponding Author


This research aims to uncover current trends and key issues by examining the research in mathematics education during the period 2017-2021. For this purpose, five major peer reviewed academic journals indexed by the Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI) in Web of Science (WoS) have been examined in detail: “Educational Studies in Mathematics”, “Journal for Research in Mathematics Education”, “International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education”, “Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education” and “Mathematical Thinking and Learning”. A total of 881 articles were examined within the scope of the research. Bibliometric analysis and social network analysis (SNA) were used in the analysis procedure. Occurrence/co-occurrence combinations of author keywords and concepts in abstract sections have been created in order to perform the relevant analyses. These undirected network combinations were then analysed through NodeXL and VOSviewer software. The results were visualized and interpreted according to link strength, relevance scores, betweenness and degree centrality metrics. According to the common findings from both analysis approaches, in the 2017-2021 period, the most focused and prominent research issues in the field of mathematics education have revealed different main sets: studies related to mathematics teachers and teacher education (and especially teacher noticing topic), equity-culture-gender studies, and studies on mathematical problem posing, problem solving, modelling, STEM and STEAM education. The findings of this study may be useful in identifying current potential research areas in the field of mathematics education. 



  • Anderson, T., & Zawacki-Richter, O. (2014). Conclusion: Towards a Research Agenda. In O. Zawacki-Richter & T. Anderson (eds.), Online distance education: Towards a research agenda (p. 485– 492). AU Press.
  • Baki, A., Karataş, I., Akkan, Y., & Çakıroğlu, U. (2011). Trends in Turkish mathematics education research: from 1998-2007. Hacettepe University Journal of Education, 40, 57-68.
  • Bakker, A., Cai, J., & Zenger, L. (2021). Future themes of mathematics education research: an international survey before and during the pandemic. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 107(1), 1-24.
  • Ball, D. L., Thames, M. H., & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching: What makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59(5), 389–407.
  • Bozkurt, A., Keskin, N. O., & De Waard, I. (2016). Research trends in massive open online course (MOOC) theses and dissertations: Surfing the tsunami wave. Open Praxis, 8(3), 203-221.
  • Bozkurt, A., Zawacki-Richter, O., & Aydin, C. H. (2019). Using social network analysis to review the research in open and distance learning. In Proceedings of The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) 2019 International Convention (pp. 38-44). Retrieved from
  • Cai, J., & Leikin, R. (2020). Affect in mathematical problem posing: Conceptualization, advances, and future directions for research. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 105(3), 287-301.
  • Cai, J., Morris, A., Hohensee, C., Hwang, S., Robison, V., & Hiebert, J. (2017). Clarifying the impact of educational research on students’ learning. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 48(2), 118–123.
  • Callejo, M. L., & Zapatera, A. (2017). Prospective primary teachers’ noticing of students’ understanding of pattern generalization. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 20(4), 309-333.
  • Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education. Routledge.
  • Crossley, N., Bellotti, E., Edwards, G., Everett, M. G., Koskinen, J., & Tranmer, M. (2015). Social network analysis for ego-nets: Social network analysis for actor-centred networks. Sage.
  • Çiftçi, Ş. K., Danişman, Ş., Yalçın, M., Tosuntaş, Ş. B., Ay, Y., Sölpük, N., & Karadağ, E. (2016). Map of scientific publication in the field of educational sciences and teacher education in Turkey: A bibliometric study. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 16, 1097-1123.
  • Daniel, S. J. (2020). Education and the COVID-19 pandemic. Prospects, 49(1), 91-96.
  • Ellegaard, O., Wallin, J.A. (2015). The bibliometric analysis of scholarly production: How great is the impact?. Scientometrics, 105, 1809–1831.
  • Ernest, P., Skovsmose, O., Van Bendegem, J. P., Bicudo, M., Miarka, R., Kvasz, L., & Moeller, R. (2016). The philosophy of mathematics education. Springer Nature.
  • Gokce, S., & Guner, P. (2021). Forty years of mathematics education: 1980-2019. International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science and Technology, 9(3), 514-539.
  • Gutiérrez, R. (2013). The sociopolitical turn in mathematics education. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 44(1), 37-68.
  • Hanna, G., & Sidoli, N. (2002). The story of ESM. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 50(2), 123-156.
  • Hannula, M.S, (2009). International trends in mathematics education research. In M. Lepik (Ed.), Teaching mathematics: retrospectives and perspectives:Proceedings of the 10th international conference (pp.11-16). Tallinn University.
  • Hilton, P. (1984). Current trends in mathematics and future trends in mathematics education. For the Learning of Mathematics, 4(1), 2-8.
  • Huang, C., Yang, C., Wang, S., Wu, W., Su, J., & Liang, C. (2020). Evolution of topics in education research: A systematic review using bibliometric analysis. Educational Review, 72(3), 281-297.
  • Inglis, M., & Foster, C. (2018). Five decades of mathematics education research. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 49(4), 462-500.
  • Kilpatrick, J. (2020). History of research in mathematics education. In S. Lerman (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education (pp. 349-354). Springer.
  • Lesh, R. (2002). Research design in mathematics education: Focusing on design experiments. In Handbook of international research in mathematics education (pp. 39-62). Routledge.
  • Lesseig, K., Elliott, R., Kazemi, E., Kelley-Petersen, M., Campbell, M., Mumme, J., & Carroll, C. (2017). Leader noticing of facilitation in videocases of mathematics professional development. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 20(6), 591-619.
  • Lester, F. K. (Ed.). (2007). Second handbook of research on mathematics teaching and learning: A project of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. IAP.
  • Leydesdorff, L. (2007). Betweenness centrality as an indicator of the interdisciplinarity of scientific journals. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 58(9), 1303-1319.
  • Louie, N. L. (2018). Culture and ideology in mathematics teacher noticing. Educational Studies in Mathematics, 97(1), 55-69.
  • Lubienski, S. T., & Bowen, A. (2000). Who's counting? A survey of mathematics education research 1982–1998. Journal for research in mathematics education, 31(5), 626-633.
  • Rassudov, L., & Korunets, A. (2020). COVID-19 Pandemic challenges for engineering education [Paper presentation]. XI International Conference on Electrical Power Drive Systems (ICEPDS), IEEE, Russia.
  • Rose, S. (2020). Medical student education in the time of COVID-19. Jama, 323(21), 2131-2132.
  • Schoenfeld, A. H. (2000). Purposes and methods of research in mathematics education. Notices of the AMS, 47(6), 641-649.
  • Schoenfeld, A. H. (2020). Reframing teacher knowledge: a research and development agenda. ZDM Mathematics Education, 52, 359–376.
  • Schoenfeld, A. H. (2016). Research in mathematics education. Review of Research in Education, 40(1), 497-528.
  • Shin, D. (2020). A comparative study of domestic and international research trends of mathematics education through topic modeling. The Mathematical Education, 59(1), 63-80.
  • Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those Who Understand: Knowledge Growth in Teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14.
  • Sierpinska, A., & Kilpatrick, J. (1998). Continuing the search. In Mathematics education as a research domain: A search for identity (pp. 527-548). Springer.
  • Simpson, A., & Haltiwanger, L. (2017). “This is the first time I’ve done this”: Exploring secondary prospective mathematics teachers’ noticing of students’ mathematical thinking. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 20(4), 335-355.
  • Smith, M. A., Shneiderman, B., Milic-Frayling, N., Mendes Rodrigues, E., Barash, V., Dunne, C., ... & Gleave, E. (2009). Analyzing (social media) networks with NodeXL. In J. M. Carroll (Ed.), Proceedings of the fourth international conference on Communities and technologies (pp. 255-264). Association for Computing Machinery.
  • Sriraman, B., & English, L. D. (2005). Theories of mathematics education: A global survey of theoretical frameworks/trends in mathematics education research. ZDM, 37(6), 450-456.
  • Taylan, R. D. (2017). Characterizing a highly accomplished teacher’s noticing of third-grade students’ mathematical thinking. Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education, 20(3), 259-280.
  • Tekin-Sitrava, R., Kaiser, G., & Işıksal-Bostan, M. (2021). Development of prospective teachers’ noticing skills within initial teacher education. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 1-24.
  • Türkdoğan, A., Güler, M., Bülbül, B. Ö., & Danişman, Ş. (2015). Studies about misconceptions in mathematics education in Turkey: A thematic review. Mersin University Journal of the Faculty of Education, 11(2), 215-236.
  • Van Eck, N., & Waltman, L. (2010). Software survey: VOSviewer, a computer program for bibliometric mapping. Scientometrics, 84(2), 523-538.
  • van Es, E. A., & Sherin, M. G. (2021). Expanding on prior conceptualizations of teacher noticing. ZDM–Mathematics Education, 53(1), 17-27.
  • Williams, S. R., & Leatham, K. R. (2017). Journal quality in mathematics education. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 48(4), 369-396.
  • Yığ, K.G., & Sezgin, S. (2021). An exploratory holistic analysis of digital gamification in mathematics education. Journal of Educational Technology and Online Learning, 4(2), 115-136.
  • Young, J., & Young, J. (2022). Equity trends in mathematics education: A content analysis of meta-analytic research. International Journal on Studies in Education (IJonSE), 4(1), 24-42.
  • Zhang, J., & Luo, Y. (2017). Degree centrality, betweenness centrality, and closeness centrality in social network. In X. Luo (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2017 2nd International Conference on Modelling, Simulation and Applied Mathematics (MSAM2017) (pp. 300-303). Atlantis Press.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.