An investigation on theses and dissertations on mathematical modeling in Turkey in the last two decades.

Koç, Dilek
In line with the developing science and technology, mathematical modeling which links up real life and mathematics has become increasingly popular, and the number of studies conducted on mathematical modeling has increased recently. This study aimed to investigate master thesis (MS) and doctoral dissertations (Ph.D.) completed over the last two decades in Turkey to understand the portrait of mathematical modeling, by particularly focusing on the Models-and Modeling Perspective (MMP). The features and nature of modeling research that this study focused on involves level of the graduate studies (i.e., MS thesis and Ph.D. dissertations), the completion years, the university contributions, the employed research methods, the participants, the amount of the modeling research involving mathematical modeling activity, and the extent of which mathematical modeling activities reflecting the six design principles of Models-and Modeling Perspective. Data set of the study involved 70 modeling studies (MS/Ph.D.) that were published between 2000 –2019 on mathematics education field and that were gathered from the database of Higher Education Council. Document analysis and content analysis, the two qualitative data analysis methods, were utilized to investigate the features and the nature of these modeling studies. The data analysis was deepened by investigating 42 modeling studies (among 70) comprising of at least one modeling activity through a concept-driven coding frame. Consequently, it was revealed that the type of modeling studies published in the mathematics education field were mostly master thesis. The first modeling study was published in 2005 as a master thesis. The number of modeling MS and Ph.D. studies was gradually increased from 2000 to 2020, and there was a rapid increase in conducted modeling studies after 2013. Twenty-four different universities in Turkey contributed to the academic work about modeling in this field. The most used research method in modeling studies was qualitative research method which was followed by mixed and quantitative research methods, respectively. The participants of modeling MS and Ph.D. studies differed from 4th grade to 9th grade students along with pre-service teachers and in-service teachers; the major focus appeared to be on pre-service teachers. 19 out of 42 modeling MS and Ph.D. studies, almost half of them, included 3-6 modeling activities whilst the rest of 23 modeling MS and Ph.D. studies involved various number of modeling activities. With this study, it is expected to provide a portrait of the modeling studies that was conducted as MS thesis and Ph.D. dissertations in Turkey, which is hoped to be informative for researchers in mathematical modeling.