Searching for metacognitive generalities: Areas of convergence in learning to write for publication across doctoral students in science and engineering
Journal article, 2021

What aspects of writing are doctoral students metacognitive about when they write research articles for publication? Contributing to the recent conversation about metacognition in genre pedagogy, this study adopts a qualitative approach to illustrate what students have in common, across disciplines and levels of expertise, and the dynamic interplay of genre knowledge and metacognition in learning to write for research. 24 doctoral students in STEM were recruited from subsequent runs of a genre-based writing course and were interviewed within a two-year period when they submitted an article for publication, 3 to 11 months after course completion. Over time and across disciplines, doctoral students’ metacognition converges on four main themes: genre analysis as a “tool” to read and write; audience and the readers’ mind; rhetorical strategies; and the writing process. Further, these themes are extensively combined in the students’ thinking, confirming conceptualizations of expertise as an integration of knowledge types. Metacognition of these themes invoked increased perceived confidence and control over writing, suggesting key areas where metacognitive intervention may be promising.

academic writing

writing pedagogy

writing in STEM

regulation of writing

scientific writing

genre theory


Raffaella Negretti

Chalmers, Communication and Learning in Science, Language and Communication (Chalmers)

Written Communication

0741-0883 (ISSN)

Vol. 38 2 167-207

Writing that works: investigating university students’ transfer of writing skills to authentic academic tasks

Magnus Bergvalls Stiftelse, 2017-02-23 -- 2018-12-31.

Åke Wibergs Stiftelse, 2017-02-23 -- 2018-12-31.

Subject Categories


General Language Studies and Linguistics

Applied Psychology

Specific Languages

Learning and teaching

Pedagogical work



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