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ERIC Number: EJ900759
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 31
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 58
ISSN: ISSN-1098-6065
Mathematics Majors' Perceptions of Conviction, Validity, and Proof
Weber, Keith
Mathematical Thinking and Learning: An International Journal, v12 n4 p306-336 2010
In this paper, 28 mathematics majors who completed a transition-to-proof course were given 10 mathematical arguments. For each argument, they were asked to judge how convincing they found the argument and whether they thought the argument constituted a mathematical proof. The key findings from this data were (a) most participants did not find the empirical argument in the study to be convincing or to meet the standards of proof, (b) the majority of participants found a diagrammatic argument to be both convincing and a proof, (c) participants evaluated deductive arguments not by their form but by their content, but (d) participants often judged invalid deductive arguments to be convincing proofs because they did not recognize their logical flaws. These findings suggest improving undergraduates' comprehension of mathematical arguments does not depend on making undergraduates aware of the limitations of empirical arguments but instead on improving the ways in which they process the arguments that they read. (Contains 4 tables, 2 figures, and 8 footnotes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A