The Intellectual Structure of Metacognitive Scaffolding in Science Education: A Co-citation Network Analysis

Kai Yu Tang*, Chia Yu Wang, Hsin Yi Chang, Sufen Chen, Hao Chang Lo, Chin Chung Tsai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The issues of metacognitive scaffolding in science education (MSiSE) have become increasingly popular and important. Differing from previous content reviews, this study proposes a series of quantitative computer-based analyses by integrating document co-citation analysis, social network analysis, and exploratory factor analysis to explore the intellectual structure of the MSiSE literature (i.e. the relationships within and between subfields of MSiSE). Co-citation refers to any two articles that are jointly referenced in other articles. After the computation of co-citation analysis, 27 articles that have been co-cited at least once by follow-up studies as references were identified as the final set of core articles. The whole co-citation profile of 27 cores with the 434 links was then visualized in a network through social network analysis, representing an overview for the intellectual structure of core MSiSE studies. The most cross-referenced underpinnings in the network focused on adaptive scaffolding for self-regulated learning to enhance students’ conceptual understanding and on younger students’ metacognition in online science inquiry learning environments. Furthermore, two emerging topics in the network were identified through an exploratory factor analysis as “non-technological metacognitive scaffolding media,” and “behavior patterns & task analysis in technology-infused environments.” Overall, the study provides an innovative review method of scholarly communication in the MSiSE literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-262
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Document co-citation analysis
  • Exploratory factor analysis
  • Literature review
  • Metacognitive scaffolding in science education (MSiSE)
  • Social network analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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