Evaluating Metacognitive Self-reports: Systematic Reviews of the value of self-report in metacognitive research

Kymberly Craig, Daniel R. Hale, Catherine Grainger, Mary Elizabeth Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)
155 Downloads (Pure)


Metacognitive skills have been shown to be strongly associated with academic achievement and serve as the basis of many therapeutic treatments for mental health conditions. Thus, it is likely that training metacognitive skills can lead to improved academic skills and health and well-being. Because metacognition is an awareness of one’s own thoughts, and as such is not directly observable, it is often measured by self-report. This study reviews and critiques the use of self-report in evaluating metacognition by conducting systematic reviews and a meta-analysis of studies assessing metacognitive skills. Keyword searches were performed in EbscoHost, ERIC, PsycINFO, PsycArticles, Scopus, Web of Science, and WorldWideScience.org to locate all articles evaluating metacognition through self-report. 24,396 articles from 1982 through 2018 were screened for inclusion in the study. Firstly, a systematic review of twenty-two articles was conducted to review the ability of self-report measures to evaluate a proposed taxonomy of metacognition. Secondly, a systematic review and meta-analyses of 37 studies summarizes the ability of self-report to relate to metacognitive behavior and the possible effects of differences in research methods. Results suggest that self-reports provide a useful overview of two factors – metacognitive knowledge and metacognitive regulation. However, metacognitive processes as measured by self-report subscales are unclear. Conversely, the two factors of metacognition do not adequately relate to metacognitive behavior, but subscales strongly correlate across self-reports and metacognitive tasks. Future research should carefully consider the role of self-reports when designing research evaluating metacognition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-213
Number of pages59
JournalMetacognition and Learning
Issue number2
Early online date9 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • Cognitive ability
  • Factor structure
  • Metacognition
  • Psychological theories
  • Self-report
  • Student characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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