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School of Education

Staff Profile

Publication details for Prof Adrian Simpson

Inglis, M., Mejia-Ramos, J.P. & Simpson, A. (2007). Modelling mathematical argumentation: the importance of qualification. Educational Studies in Mathematics 66(1): 3-21.

Author(s) from Durham


In recent years several mathematics education researchers have attempted to analyse students’ arguments using a restricted form of Toulmin’s [The Uses of Argument, Cambridge University Press, UK, 1958] argumentation scheme. In this paper we report data from task-based interviews conducted with highly talented postgraduate mathematics students, and argue that a superior categorisation of genuine mathematical argumentation is provided by the use of Toulmin’s full scheme. In particular, we suggest that modal qualifiers play an important and previously unrecognised role in mathematical argumentation, and that one of the goals of instruction should be to develop students’ abilities to appropriately match up warrant-types with modal qualifiers.