This course provides education practitioners in the doctoral program with research skills and strategies for conducting a literature review. Critical thinking skills, synthesis of information, and application of the literature are emphasized to support the feasibility and relevance of a research study.
For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.
A literature review is a comprehensive investigation of previous research and scholarly articles on a topic. Beginning with a theory that serves to frame, or orient, the study, Chapter Two continues with a comprehensive review of the literature that addresses sufficient directly and indirectly related bodies of literature to show the reader that the researcher has a complete understanding of the topic. By conducting a thorough review, the researcher identifies any gaps in the literature and, therefore, a need for a study. Literature reviews are not merely listings or descriptions of the literature but are critiques of the literature that, when synthesized, create a conversation, or dialogue, among the various scholars that comes alive and inspires your reader to be even more interested in the topic and to be ready to consume the study’s findings. Poor literature reviews reflect poorly on the scholar, and, in the case of Christian scholars, reflect poorly on Christianity. As such, the need for Christian scholars to generate exemplary literature reviews is paramount to representing God as the supreme authority and creator of all knowledge.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the candidate will be able to:
- Identify a general topic of interest for dissertation research.
- Use theory to frame the proposed research.
- Develop an outline of the literature review.
- Differentiate between summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing the literature.
- Write a literature review on his/her dissertation topic.
Textbook Readings and Presentations
The Claxton and Dolan (2021) textbook is used for this course and includes any readings necessary for the candidate to ensure competence with basic literature review development. Additionally, the Galvan and Galvan (2017) text will be used for supplemental material. Finally, the latest APA Style Guide and dissertation templates are required for this course.
Course Requirements Checklist
As the first activity in this course, the candidate will read the Syllabus and Student Expectations and complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the candidate will complete the discussions in two parts. First, the candidate will post a new thread of 400-500 words in response to the provided discussion prompt. Then, the candidate will reply to at least two classmates, 150-200 words each reply. (MLO: A, E)
Literature Review: Topic Identification Essay Assignment
The candidate will submit a document containing two paragraphs identifying his/her proposed topic for the dissertation. The first paragraph will identify and discuss the topic, including a brief summary of its social and historical contexts, as well as its relationship to education. The second paragraph will give an explanation as why the candidate considers this a worthwhile topic, which may include personal experience and research goals. At least two scholarly, peer-reviewed articles published within the past five years must be cited in the essay with an appropriate reference page attached. (MLO: A, E)
Literature Review: Overview Assignment
The candidate will submit a document containing a one-paragraph overview for the literature review. The overview will follow the template provided, be written in present tense, and be specific to the candidate’s topic from Module 1 (based upon professor feedback). (MLO: E)
Literature Review: Theory Identification Essay Assignment
The candidate will identify 1-2 theories related to the selected topic of study and write a 2-4 paragraph essay. The first paragraph for each theory will explain the theory using the publication(s) of the primary theorist and at least one other work. In the second paragraph, the candidate will justify why the theory was chosen and connect it to the topic. A correctly formatted reference page must be included. (MLO: B, E)
Literature Review Outline Assignment
The candidate will develop a complete literature review outline that will include an improved overview and identify the theory (or theories) of the Theoretical Framework section based on previous professor feedback. The outline must include a title page, the four required level 1 headings (Overview, Theoretical Framework, Related Literature, and Summary), a one-paragraph (improved) Overview, and the name(s) of the theory (or theories) in the Theoretical Framework. The outline must also include the level 2 and 3 APA headings (headings only) identifying the themes and subthemes of the Related Literature section, the Summary section, and the completed reference list., The outline should be 2-3 pages in length, excluding the title page and reference list section. (MLO: A, B, C, E)
Literature Review: Theoretical Framework Section Assignment
The candidate will write the theoretical framework section of the literature review and include it in the working literature review document with the title page, revised Overview, revised Related Literature outline headings (with sources only, no written content), revised Summary, and reference list pages. The assignment should be a total of 2-3 pages, excluding title and reference list pages. (MLO: B, E)
Literature Review: Synthesis Essay Assignment
The candidate will demonstrate an understanding of how to synthesize literature by researching at least 5 sources related to his/her topic, identifying 2 themes evident across those 5 sources, and synthesizing the concepts and source material related to those two themes. Synthesizing and writing concisely are learned skills, and this assignment is an opportunity to practice those skills. This essay must follow APA standards and will include a title page, 2-3 full pages of content, and a reference list. (MLO: D, E)
Literature Review Rough Draft Assignment
The candidate will develop a rough draft of the literature review including the title page, Overview, Theoretical Framework, Related Literature section, Summary, and reference list. All work must be updated and developed based on previous professor feedback. While the Related Literature section may not include content under every level 2 (or level 3) APA heading, all headings must be updated per professor feedback, and the Summary section must be revised. The document must include a minimum of 4 full pages of content (excluding the title and reference list pages). (MLO: C, D, E)
Literature Review Final Assignment
The candidate will develop a final draft of the literature review containing a minimum of 8 full pages of content (excluding the title and reference list pages). The literature review must also use appropriate APA format, incorporate professor feedback. (MLO: E)
Each quiz will cover the Learn section material for the module in which it is assigned. Each quiz will be open-book/open-notes; contain multiple-choice, true/false, or checklist completion questions; and have a 1-hour time limit. (MLO: D, E)