Creating a quality literature review is fundamental to doctoral student professionalization, yet research into how the literature review is taught, learned, or experienced is limited. Responding to this under-addressed but critical key to doctoral education, the focus of this mixed methods study is on students’ perceptions of a year-long course, co-taught by a faculty member and embedded librarian, devoted specifically to addressing the literature review. Analysis of students’ course evaluations and written reflections/feedback over an eight year period revealed four primary themes: 1) Entering students’ technological know-how does not guarantee effective information literacy skill and without the requisite skills one-shot library workshops are insufficient for making learning whole; 2) Rather than conceiving of the literature review as a product, constructing a literature review represents a pivotal process in doctoral students’ research and literacy skill development; 3) Creating a literature review, and the process it entails, signals in students the development of their professional researcher identity, involving movement beyond “how to” to address questions of “why” and “for whom”; 4) The literature review course was experienced as a substantively different course than is typical in the doctoral experience, mirroring the course’s foundational assumption that librarians, instructors, and learners share agency in creating the literature review process. The course curriculum is framed by two simultaneous learning streams: information literacy competencies and student research agenda. The course curriculum aligns information literacy competencies and research methodology with the goal of exploring and purposefully integrating creativity and curiosity in the search and research construction process.
Copyright (c) 2016 Deborah S. Garson
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