Metacognitive Exercises

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The metacognitive exercises provide students with opportunities to become more aware of their research process and opportunities to make meaningful adjustments. Each metacognitive exercise is self-contained and can be assigned separately or in combination with other exercises. Each exercise begins with a brief rationale about the importance of metacognition and instructions for the exercise are followed by several question prompts.

Using Metacognitive exercises in CUREs

The metacognitive exercises are designed to work with the EvaluateUR Method, in both independent undergraduate research and in course-based undergraduate research (CUREs). In each case, strengthening metacognitive habits can help improve self-assessment of learning outcomes and focus additional efforts in specific areas. As with the knowledge and skills in each of the EvaluateUR categories, metacognitive habits will serve students long after their research projects are complete.

View the Collection of Metacognitive Exercises


Guidance for Use with the EvaluateUR Method

Independent Undergraduate Research

For those engaged in EvaluateUR, the exercises can help student/mentor pairs deepen student self-assessment throughout the research process. For example, students can complete metacognitive exercises in conjunction with their pre-research reflection, their outcome category assessments, conversations with their mentors, or ongoing journal entries.

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CUREs (Course-Based Undergraduate Research)

For those engaged in EvaluateUR-CURE, this guide can help instructors determine when and how to provide students with opportunities to build metacognitive skills. These exercises would typically be completed by students outside of class. Student answers need not be overly long. Consistent practice asking metacognitive questions is as (or more) important that in-depth engagement on a particular occasion. To reduce mentor workload, it is recommended that the activities be graded as "completed/incomplete."

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Suggestions for Using the Exercises

Paired Exercises

In each pair, the first exercise is a general introduction, and the second exercise applies it to the research process.

Learning from past projects

Developing project management skills

Thinking about how to ask good questions

Thinking about how to ask good research questions

Building resilience

Building research resilience

Reading with a purpose

Reading for research


Recommended Timing in the Research Process

Near the beginning of the research experience

  • Thinking about how to ask good research questions
  • Reading for research

After research has been going on for several weeks

  • Developing project management skills
  • Building research resilience
  • Thinking about the self-assessment process

Anytime during the research experience

  • Learning from past projects
  • Thinking about how to ask good questions
  • Building resilience
  • Reading with a purpose (could be given with every reading assignment)
  • Better together: teamwork and collaboration
  • Building effective communication