Learning from the literature: some pedagogies: David N. Boote
Unarticulated assumptions rarely help our students. The assumption that students can learn to do high-quality literature reviews without guidance from program faculty is surely unhelpful. And our failure to articulate our performance expectations further deprives students of guidance. With most doctoral programs unwilling or unable to teach students to write high-quality literature reviews, students have turned to other sources. Unfortunately, those other sources often misdirect students and inculcate unproductive habits. Academic librarians have specialized knowledge and skills that are invaluable for our students. However, my experience is that they tend to focus on searching library databases, which is rarely a productive way to start. Similarly, most of the published research methodology textbooks and literature review reference books tend to focus on database searching (Onwuegbuzie and Leech, 2005). Taken together, it would be easy for students to conclude that “the review of literature is a preliminary, cursory exercise that must be endured prior to the start of the ‘real’ study” (Dellinger, 2005: 52).