Initial Publication Date: November 21, 2008

Research Agenda on Elucidation of the Metacognitive Strategies of Expert Geoscientists or 'What on Earth are we thinking?'

Group Members: Helen King, Dave Mogk, Mimi Fuhrman, Thomas Brown

Statement of Need

Geoscience has developed, and continues to develop, a deep understanding of the Earth systems. There have also been considerable advances in understanding how people learn both generically and within the geosciences. However, less has been done to explore how geoscientists actually think and process their knowledge about the Earth.

There is a real need for the geosciences to articulate the 'rules of engagement' - the epistemology of geoscience - in order to formally validate and communicate what we do as appropriate scientific activity.

There are domains of interest in the geosciences such as deep time, complex systems and spatial reasoning, in which explicit articulation of ways of knowing / metacognitive strategies which geoscientists use would enhance the communication of geoscience from experts to novices.


To elucidate the metacognitive strategies of expert geoscientists in order to enhance the communication of geoscience to students, the public and policy makers.

Action Plan

This discussion has illustrated the extent of the need in an area that should be settled business but has not actually been formally addressed by the geoscience community in any substantial way.


Email List - for resources, ideas, anecdotes, discussion etc.

Bibliography: Link to Master reference list - identify keyword for this subset.

Need to develop a solid base on which to build a research proposal e.g write a 'state of play' paper (link to concept crystal); link to other relevant research projects etc.

Collecting anecdotal conversations with colleagues in the department, at meetings etc. (critical incident interviews etc.)

Meeting to brainstorm further and focus areas for research.

Development of research proposal(s).


Coordinators - Helen King and Mimi Fuhrman

Develop planning group from email list community.