Metacognition and Data Analysis

Metacognition and Data Analysis




The paper defines metacognition through and it also looks into ways in which it can be measured. The hypothesis was that metacognition is the cognizance of cognition it can also be defined as the ability to think about thinking. The investigation uses computer software to gather metacognitive statistics. Metacognition was established to be an understanding and knowledge that relies on cognition. The aim of the result of the definition was achieved and the effects of hypermedia on cognitive processing were also established as an appropriate means on analyzing metacognition.

Metacognition and Data Analysis


            The ability of an individual to understand his or her own learning processes and to reflect upon them indicates metacognition. Therefore, it can be seen as two distinct processes. The first one is having the knowledge of cognition (Schraw & Dennison, 1994). The second one is the ability to regulate cognition that is brought about by the aspect of reflection. The Knowledge on cognition has three facilitative aspects. The first aspect is declarative knowledge and it reflects in the self. The second aspect is the procedural knowledge which defines the strategies on cognition. The third aspect is conditional knowledge and it regulates an individual on how and when they are going to use the strategies. Regulation cognition also includes some sub processes that define the learning process (Schraw & Dennison, 1994). They include evaluation, debugging strategies, planning, information management and comprehension.

            People who are metacognitively aware have a better ability to perform because they formulate and influence strategies (Schraw & Dennison, 1994). The awareness improves ones ability to sequence, monitor and plan. Metacognitive ability is different from intellectual ability. Although, a previous research showed that metacognitive awareness had an impact on the ability of school children to solve mathematical problems (Schraw & Dennison, 1994). Children who have the awareness have an edge because they are able to form problem forming strategies better that the children who lack the awareness. As a result, it is very difficult for researchers to properly identify metacognition on individuals. Therefore, there is need to properly define it for purposes of proper identification and distinction.

            It is important to gauge the ability of people to asses and monitor their own understanding. Previous research works indicate that there is a correlation between the degree of confidence and the accuracy of information (Flemming & Lau, 2014). Individuals who are confident with the knowledge they have are more accurate in their pronouncements. For that reason, it can be said that the more knowledgeable is the more confident he or she is. Metacognitive accuracy is the ability to discriminate the reliability and the accuracy of correlation. On the other hand, metacognitive bias is defined as an over and under calibration of knowledge (Flemming & Lau, 2014). Bias and sensitivity are important aspects of metacognitive judgments. However, it is very difficult to distinguish the two aspects in the interpretation of data. Separating facts and aspects of metacognition is critical to establishing a measure.

            The kind of task performed has an effect on metacognitive sensitivity. Consequently, the measure is also affected. An individual can demonstrate great metacognitive sensitivity in one task and poor in another (Schraw & Dennison, 1994). The distinction lies in the nature of the tasks, some are complex and others are simple. The efficiency of an individual in accomplishing a task determines the level of his or her sensitivity on the matter. A good metacognitive measure should encompass the factor of sensitivity. A relation should be established between the efficiency and the feeling of accurate cognition.

            Metacognitive judgments are the assessments self performance after, before and during a task. Judgments are made in many ways. The most common way is the use of ranges of confidence (Schraw, 2009). The judgment range is from zero confidence to total confidence. The successful and unsuccessful dichotomy is also used to ascertain the level of confidence (Schraw, 2009). Judgments can also be made against a set of standards. The standard might be local or even international. An appropriate metacognitive measure should define the parameters of the judgment. The aspects of metacognition make it very difficult to analyze and measure. However, a meticulous understanding of the aspects provides an insight on appropriate definition and measurements.


            The method used to interpret the results is qualitative analysis. The sample size of the research was seven respondents. Data was gathered from individuals using a screen based video software that captured and individual interaction with it. The video captured was replayed to the individual after the session. The individuals were then tasked to explain how and why the reacted in the manner that they did. The video recordings acted as a stimulation recall for the respondents. The selection of the individuals was random because they were volunteers from a sample frame of twelve. The sampling frame was decided on for two very specific reasons. The first reason is that all the individuals were engaged in online occupations. The second reason is that the individuals had to have necessary technical skills to install the capture software and transfer the video to a CD-ROM. Each respondent was required to interact with the software from their homes.

            The task involved a series of assessments that were structured according to topics. Respondents were required to choose a topic that they had never encountered in their lives. The courseware used had an allowance for choosing an appropriate topic for each respondent. The software allowed the respondents to move to the next phase of the assessment in a linear structure. Numbers were used as navigational aides for the respondents. Movement back to a previous section was not restricted. The interface on each of the screens was very consistent so not to confuse the individuals. However, the graphics some screens had multiple graphics while others did not have any.

            The respondents were advised to place the cursor in the area that they are working on each time for purposes of analysis. The individuals were required to move the cursor down as they read. The recorded part of the interaction formed the initial part of the analysis. The software allowed a framework to review the first data. The video files of each respondent were viewed and recorded in a table that had four columns. The first column had the graphic that was selected by the respondent. The second column had an indication on whether or not the user engaged that particular screen on whether he or she decided to bypass it. The third column showed the utterances that were made by the respondent that were captured by the recording. The fourth column displayed a record of the user transactions that were indicated by the recording. The table indicated the preference of the navigational path of each respondent. The final step in the investigation was to align the transactions of each user with the taxonomy of metacognition.


            The first metacognitive skill to be assessed was planning. Planning involves the use of strategy to process information gathered. The skill set that clearly outlines planning is the ability to set goals. Consequently, activities such as skimming through text before reading, generating questions and carrying out a task analysis problem demonstrated the skill. The respondents demonstrated the skill by removing unnecessary parts on the screen and opening up the notepad software before beginning the challenge. Monitoring skill was also seen form the data. Monitoring is the skill of ascertaining the comprehension. Therefore, one of the skills being assessed for monitoring was checking on the attention of the respondents as they were reading the text. Secondly, the self testing skills of the respondents were being noted. Finally, the speed of the respondents was also assessed. The respondents displayed the monitoring ability by making using the software glossary, reading the text more than once and carrying out some self assessment activities to analyze their progress. 

            The evaluation strategies were also seen in the results. The skills included Rereading to check on the comprehension. Some respondents took longer times to read difficult texts. The individuals also took time to review some aspects of the material. Some materials were also skipped and then referred to in latter stages. Comprehension was demonstrated by note taking. Information management was demonstrated by their ability to elaborate the information. The respondents commented on the aspects that were difficult to comprehend.


            Several aspects were learnt from the trial on the definition and analysis of data concerning metacognition. However, some challenges were encountered in trying to find a distinction between metacognitive and cognitive aspects. The challenge was heightened in the recall and stimulation part of the investigation. The data collected had aspects of both metacognitive and cognitive processes. Therefore, it can be said that some aspects can be both cognitive and metacognitive.  Future investigations should analyze the correlation between cognitive aspects and the metacognitive. The investigation proved futile in that aspect.

            The results of the investigation indicated that there is need to establish a convenient way of classifying metacognitive activities. The activities that are drawn from the process are the best ways of defining it. Defining the metacognitive is controversial because of the difficulty of relating them with specific activities. Most of the actions associated with the process are very ambiguous because they can be associated with many processes. Therefore, it is almost impossible to ascertain the process that is responsible for triggering the said action. However, the taxonomy developed in the investigation brought up some facts that can be generalized upon.

            The metacognitive process should be defined as reflecting, understanding and controlling ones learning ability (Schraw & Dennison, 1994). Each of the respondents was able to demonstrate that ability to some extent. However, some of the respondents were more advanced than others. The cognitive sensitivity in the investigation was checked when the respondents were told to choose the challenges that they were not familiar with. That ensured that the level of difficulty was the same for all the respondents. The hypermedia method of data collection and qualitative analysis are a good method of analyzing data on metacognitivity. The method is very sound and it can be a very useful tool upon further refinements. However, further efforts need to be put in proper classification of metacognitive activities for purposes of analysis.


Fleming, S. M., & Lau, H. C. (2014). How to measure metacognition. Frontiers in human neuroscience, 8, 443.

 Schraw, G., & Dennison, R. S. (1994). Assessing metacognitive awareness. Contemporary educational psychology, 19(4), 460-475.

Schraw, G. (2009). A conceptual analysis of five measures of metacognitive monitoring. Metacognition and Learning, 4(1), 33-45.

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