Call for Papers: Special Issue - Approaches to Investigating Young Children’s Mathematical Activity

Volume 34 (Issue 3) September 2022


The focus of the Special Issue is on the evolving and emerging qualitative methodologies for researching the mathematical behaviours, thinking and dispositions of young children – from birth up to about 10 years of age. As highlighted in a recent review of research, researchers have been developing innovative methodologies to “… ‘make visible’ the ways in which young children experience mathematics. It is anticipated that these studies will spark future research adopting similar methodologies ….” (Downton et al., 2020, p.235). Therefore, the main purpose of the Special Issue is to gather together a set of papers that provide explications of a range of research methods that are particularly well-suited to the particularities of research with children, for the benefit of other researchers.

The Editor

Dr Jennifer Way is an Associate Professor of mathematics education at the University of Sydney, Australia. Her current program of research investigates the development of young children’s mathematical representations and the roles they play in learning mathematics. She has substantial experience as a chief-editor for several journals and books.


The Special Issue will be undertaken as per the usual submission and reviewing processes of MERJ.

The Special Issue Editor is seeking scholarly, evidence-based papers that collectively report a variety of approaches suitable for investigating young children’s mathematical activity. A range of research themes and mathematics domains are envisaged, but a common characteristic of the papers will be the emphasis on explaining and justifying the methodological perspective, with the use of examples from empirical research to illustrate how the approach or specific method can be effectively applied. Possible themes and categories include:

  • Theoretical perspectives and how they relate to research with young children. For example, embodied learning, representation theories, developmental theories.
  • Issues in researching young children’s mathematical development in particular age groups, particularly 0 to 3 years.
  • Specific methods that attempt to reveal a child’s viewpoint, such as lenses for observing play, task-based interview, digital photography, drawing.
  • Development of creative data analysis techniques.
  • Researching with children in different contexts, such as the home, classrooms, outdoors, cultural groups.
  • Investigating particular domains or sub-domains of mathematics.

Expressions of Interest via submission of extended abstract (600 words)

Your abstract should include:

- Title | Author (s) | Key Words.
- Brief mention of key literature and your research question(s) or reason for paper.
- Theoretical / Methodological Framework directing the study.
- Evidence to be included to address research question.Findings / Discussions.
- How your paper adds to domain knowledge and the implications of the research.

Email extended abstracts to


This Special Issue of MERJ will be published as Issue 3 September 2022.

Please email if there are any questions about submissions.

30 June 2021

Submission of extended abstracts.

Editors will consider suitability of abstracts and invite accepted authors by 31 July 2021 to submit a full paper.

30 November 2021

Submission of full papers through Editorial Manager.

31 March 2022

Decision by Guest Editors based on reviewer’s comments sent to authors.

31 July 2022

Submission of revised manuscripts.

September 2022

Publication of the Special Issue.


Downton, A., MacDonald, A, Cheeseman, J., Russo, J., & McChesney, J. (2020). Mathematics learning and education from birth to eight years. In J. Way, C. Attard, J. Anderson, J. Bobis, H. McMaster & K. Cartwright, Research in Mathematics Education in Australasia 2016-2019. pp. 209-244. Springer Nature: Singapore.