Date of Completion


Embargo Period



proof learning computer science students

Major Advisor

Robert McCartney

Associate Advisor

Sanguthevar Rajasekaran

Associate Advisor

Jinbo Bi

Field of Study

Computer Science and Engineering


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


Guided by constructivism, which posits that students assimilate new knowledge into what has made sense to them previously, we researched student conceptualizations of proof. We used the qualitative research methods of thematic analysis and phenomenography to learn and categorize student conceptualizations of proof, and of mathematization more generally. Our published work exhibited an explanatory connection between publications of others in the mathematics education community and the computer science education community. The connection we found is lack of understanding of proof by mathematic induction as an argument, as occurs among students of mathematics and of computer science, explains lack of understanding of how re- cursive algorithms work. We used these phenomenographic categories to intuit ideas whose emphasis might be helpful for students development of deeper understanding of proof.