Development of metacognitive theory for changing pedagogy remains an essential research activity. A lack of sufficient clear-cut qualitative analysis procedures extracting embedded metacognitive constructs from qualitative data (e.g., narrative focus group interviews) can hinder development of theory. An approach is therefore needed to analyse qualitative metacognitive data exploiting embedded metacognitive constructs for theory development. In an undergraduate fourth-year mathematics education module, two groups of students (Group A: n = 6; Group B: n = 5) participated in a series of focus group interviews. Participants designed and refined mathematics lessons about the concept of place value. We identified metacognitive networks as an embedded construct in students’ metacognitive processes. Findings indicate that metacognitive networks of an individual, social and socially shared metacognitive nature are embedded in qualitative data, and can be exploited to develop new metacognitive theory. We offer a novel three-step process in this methodology paper to extract metacognitive networks using Microsoft Office, ATLAS.ti and NodeXL.


Metacognitive Networks, Focus Groups, NodeXL, Social Network Analysis, Qualitative Research Methodology, Metacognitive Locale

Author Bio(s)

Divan Jagals is Lecturer, Subject Chair of Curriculum Studies, Philosophy and Research Methodology, and ODL Coordinator: Post Graduate Certificate in Education with the School for Education Studies’ Faculty of Education Sciences at North-West University (Potchefstroom). Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Divan.Jagals@nwu.ac.za.

Marthie Sophia Van der Walt is Associate Professor with the School for Curriculum-Based Studies, Mathematics Education’s Faculty of Education Sciences at North-West University (Potchefstroom). Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: marthie.vanderwalt@nwu.ac.za.

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