Reviewing the literature on scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL): An academic literacies perspective: Part 2
AffiliationUniversity of Gloucestershire; University of Chester
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AbstractThere are few sources that critically evaluate the different ways of reviewing the literature on scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL). We use an academic literacies perspective as a lens with which to explore the different ways that literature reviews may be undertaken. While reviewing the literature is often presented as a scientific, objective process; the reality is much messier, nuanced, and iterative. It is a complex, context-dependent procedure. We provide a practical, critical guide to undertaking SoTL literature reviews. By adopting an academic literacies perspective, we argue that undertaking a synthesis of the literature is a socially constructed process. There is no one way of reviewing the SoTL literature. We distinguish between embedded reviews that present a review contextualising the research that follows, as in most SoTL research articles; and freestanding reviews that synthesize research on specific topics. We discuss the nature of embedded reviews, and evaluate systematic and narrative review approaches to undertaking freestanding reviews. We contend that some of the claims of the superiority of systematic reviews are unjustified. Though critical of systematic reviews, we recognise that for the most part narrative and systematic reviews have different purposes, and both are needed to review the SoTL literature. We suggest that narrative reviews are likely to continue to dominate the SoTL literature, especially while most SoTL studies use qualitative or mixed methods. It is important that contextually-sensitive judgements and interpretation of texts, associated with narrative reviews, are seen as central to the reviewing process, and as a strength rather than a weakness. This article complements a separate one, where we apply an academic literacies lens to reviewing the literature on searching the SoTL literature (Healey and Healey 2023). Together they present a narrative review of searching and reviewing the SoTL literature undertaken systematically. We conclude the current article by discussing the implications for the further development of an academic literacies perspective to searching and reviewing the SoTL literature. We call for studies investigating the lived experiences of SoTL scholars as they go about searching and reviewing the literature. We illustrate this argument with an auto-ethnographic account of the often-serendipitous nature of our hunt for sources in preparing this review and the way our thinking and writing evolved during the writing of the two articles.
CitationHealey, M., & Healey, R. L. (2023). Reviewing the literature on scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL): An academic literacies perspective: Part 2. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 11. https://doi.org/10.20343/teachlearninqu.11.5.
JournalTeaching & Learning Inquiry
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