#132 Research in Action 9: PhDs and maths textbooks with Beth Woollacott

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This Research in Action series of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast is kindly supported by Oxford Revise GCSE Maths.

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Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, with me Craig Barton.

This is an episode from the Research in Action mini series, where I interview a researcher from the Mathematics Education Centre at Loughborough University about their chosen area of interest, and the implications for maths teaching and learning.

On today’s episode I was lucky enough to speak to Beth Woollacott

Beth completed her BSc in Mathematics at Royal Holloway University of London, and then received a four year studentship from the ESRC DTP and came to Loughborough in October 2017. In her first year, she completed a Masters in Social Sciences, and she is now just beginning her PhD in the second year of her studentship.

In this conversation we discussed:

  • What is life doing a PhD in educational research like, and what tips does Beth have for anyone considering it
  • Beth’s main focus – textbook design and exposition
  • What do students actually value in a textbook? And there are fascinating insights into the role of the Split-Attention Effect and active voice.

You can find out more about Loughborough University’s funded PhD studentships in the Mathematics Education Centre here 

Beth’s Big 3
1. Barbara Sarniker – The writing workshop
2. Understanding maths textbooks using reading oriented theory
3. Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure



My usual plugs:


One thought on “#132 Research in Action 9: PhDs and maths textbooks with Beth Woollacott

  1. Thanks for this interesting podcast on textbooks. I can confirm that textbook use and perception is quite different in England from e.g. France (where I’m from). I wrote about it here:

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