Thinking outside the box: Senior scientists’ metacognitive strategy knowledge and self-regulation of writing for science communication


  • Raffaella Negretti Chalmers University of Technology
  • Carina Sjöberg-Hawke Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Maria Persson Chalmers University of Techonology
  • Maria Cervin-Ellqvist Chalmers University of Technology



self-regulation, writing regulation, metacognition, Science dissemination, scientific writing


Academics are increasingly engaged in writing genres with purposes and for readers outside of academia—a variety of science-based communication practices that fall under the term science communication. These practices often span different modes, genres, and even languages, requiring high degrees of rhetorical flexibility, strategic knowledge, and regulation of writing. In this study, we probe the self-regulation and specifically the metacognitive strategy knowledge (MSK) of seven senior scientists who regularly and actively engage with writing for science communication. We argue that understanding their MSK can illuminate how strategic knowledge is transferred across written genres, and importantly offer useful insights for the training of future scientists. Using data derived from in-depth, narrative interviews with a recall component, we identify a variety of strategies for task conceptualization/analysis, planning and goal setting, monitoring, and evaluating the writing of different genres. Task analysis appears particularly crucial in science communication writing, due to the great variety of purposes and readers that fall under this umbrella. Interestingly, our participants underscore storytelling strategies, and seem to transfer language and style monitoring strategies to and from science communication and publication. We map the strategies identified and discuss the implications of our study for further research and science communication pedagogy.


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How to Cite

Negretti, R., Sjöberg-Hawke, C., Persson, M., & Cervin-Ellqvist, M. (2023). Thinking outside the box: Senior scientists’ metacognitive strategy knowledge and self-regulation of writing for science communication. Journal of Writing Research, 15(2), 333–361.