A preliminary study of conducting semi-structured interview as metacognitive assessment in engineering design: Issues and challenges

Harry Budi Santoso, Raymond E. Boyles, Oenardi Lawanto, Wade H. Goodridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Exploring metacognitive skills in students' engineering design activities has merit for better understanding how the students deal with problem solving. This understanding will benefit the students, engineering educators, and curriculum developers. Researchers realize that metacognitive assessment is a complex endeavor that suggests the need of using data triangulation protocols. A mixed-methods approach to research is also needed to gather comprehensive and valid information about student metacognition. Among many other data collection methods, the semi-structured interview is a widely used method. The semi-structured method offers high flexibility and interaction with the students while providing a consistent framework for interviews. The objectives of this preliminary study were to investigate students' activities that reflect their metacognition, and to suggest what preparation should be undertaken during a semi-structured interview. Engineering graphics (MAE 1200) students (n=4) in the College of Engineering, at Utah State University (USU), participated in this preliminary study. Butler and Cartier's Self-Regulated Learning model was used to frame interview questions. Two graduate students in the Department of Engineering and Technology Education (ETE) conducted interview sessions to assess the participants' task interpretations, strategies, monitoring activities, and judgments about their design at the early and final stages of a design project. Participant responses were categorized and tabulated according to interview questions. The results suggest that there was a change in both task interpretation and strategy during the engineering design activity. Additionally, time constraints and skill level with the software affected student monitoring strategies in completing the design task. Most participants were satisfied with their design result. In addition, issues and challenges, as well as suggestions for conducting the semi-structured interview, are discussed in the paper.

Original languageEnglish
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Engineering design
  • Metacognition
  • Self-report assessment
  • Semi-structured interview


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