PhD candidate ‘Direct or indirect? Telling and Nudging to Foster Self-monitoring and Self-regulation of Text Learning’ (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Updated: 4 months ago

PhD candidate ‘Direct or indirect? Telling and Nudging to Foster Self-monitoring and Self-regulation of Text Learning’ (0.8 - 1.0 FTE)

Job description

As part of an integrated research project (in collaboration with Maastricht University) and funded by the Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO-PROO), the Department of Education at Utrecht University offers a PhD position in Educational Sciences/Educational Psychology. The project aims to unravel, by means of eye tracking and think-aloud research, followed up with experimental interventions, how students can improve their self-regulatory abilities when learning from text.

PhD project

Students’ monitoring and regulation of their learning from expository text is poor, hindering achievement. The root of this problem lies in students’ reliance on superficial information (‘cues’) during monitoring, instead on cues that are truly diagnostic of their understanding (e.g., whether students can explain the causal relations in a text). Interventions to generate more diagnostic cues (e.g., drawing a causal diagram) have been shown to enhance monitoring and regulation somewhat, but leave substantial room for improvement. To further improve students’ monitoring and regulation, students’ actual utilization of diagnostic cues should be promoted.

The objectives for the PhD-project are twofold: (1) unravelling students’ cue-utilization, and (2) translating this into a cue-utilization intervention and testing whether directly telling students what cues to use and/or indirectly pushing (‘nudging’) students towards using such cues (in a fixed or adaptive way) improves monitoring and regulation. As a PhD student, you will be responsible for conducting several studies (including one observational/correlational study and several experimental studies) with secondary school students to reach the objectives.



  • Conducting the research (literature research, collecting and analyzing data, reporting the results), resulting in international scientific publications and a dissertation;
  • Active participation in the research group of the project and of the department;
  • Receiving training (a.o. in the context of inter-university research school ICO and the local graduate school);
  • Teaching (max. 10%) can be part of the position.

  • Master in Educational Sciences, Educational / (applied) Cognitive Psychology, or a related discipline, preferably a research master (completed or nearly completed);
  • Ambition to become a high-potential researcher aimed at excellent scientific research;
  • Social and organizational competencies;
  • Good communication skills (written and oral) and statistical skills;
  • Proficiency in Dutch and English (for foreign applicants: the intention to reach proficiency in Dutch within a short period of time);
  • Ambition to collaborate with (inter)national partners and pay visits to these partners;
  • Preferably experience or affinity with eye tracking and experimental research.


The PhD position will be for an initial period of one year starting June-Sept 2019 (depending on the availability of the candidate) with an extension of three years after positive evaluation of capabilities and compatibility for 1.0 FTE. The appointment must lead to the completion of a PhD thesis within four years. A 0.8 FTE for 5 years is also an option. The gross monthly salary starts with €2,325 in the first year and increases to €2,972 in the fourth year (scale P of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) of employment with a full-time appointment.

In addition, we offer attractive and flexible secondary terms of employment  such as an annual holiday pay of 8%, an end-of-year bonus of 8.3% per year and partially paid parental leave. Finally, we also provide an attractive working environment and a vibrant research climate. More information is available at: working at Utrecht University .

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University , the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.


The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the Netherlands.


The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences  is one of the leading faculties in Europe providing research and academic teaching in cultural anthropology, educational sciences, interdisciplinary social science, pedagogical sciences, psychology, and sociology. Research and teaching activities are concentrated in five areas:

  • Behaviour in Social Contexts;
  • Child and Adolescent Studies;
  • Cognitive and Clinical Psychology;
  • Education and Learning and
  • Methodology and Statistics.
More than 5,600 students are enrolled in a broad range of undergraduate and graduate programmes. The Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences has some 850 faculty and staff members, all providing their individual contribution to the training and education of young talent and to the research into and finding solutions for scientific and societal issues.
Additional information

For more information about the PhD position and a summary of the project, please contact Dr. J.E. van de Pol, telephone +31 30 253 1796, email .


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Please upload a motivation letter and your curriculum vitae

The application deadline is 17/04/2019
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