Writing a Pedagogical Literature Review: A Brief Summary, Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Writing a Pedagogical Literature Review: A Brief Summary

Several certificates in the CITL Teaching Certificate Program require a review of literature. The following provides a brief summary of the expectations for this component of the certificates.

Teacher Scholar Certificate
In this review of pedagogical literature in your discipline, you begin an exploration of the themes, research methods, and findings of the literature about how your subject matter is taught and learned.

Certificate in Technology-Enhanced Teaching
In this review, you examine the literature on teaching with technology. The review may focus on one of the following areas: the use of a particular educational technology, the use of technology in your discipline, or the use of technology for a specific purpose.

Citizen Scholar Certificate

In this review of selected literature on service-learning pedagogy, you explore a theme or issue related to the use of service-learning pedagogy in higher education or in your discipline.

A pedagogical literature review is a synthesis of what has been published by scholars and researchers on some aspect of teaching and learning. The purpose of the written review is to summarize, synthesize, and evaluate published material on a problem or issue. A literature review is not an annotated bibliography or set of summaries of articles on a topic.

You should begin by casting a wide net to get a sense of the topics that scholars in your discipline are investigating related to teaching and learning in your discipline, technology-enhanced teaching, or service-learning pedagogy. You can scan the titles of articles in pedagogical journals to identify common topics, trends, and significant scholars before narrowing your focus to one theme that is most interesting or relevant to you. You may also consult the reading lists on our webpage. You should include articles from more than one journal.

Select articles that make the best contribution to understanding the topic. Identify trends and patterns, relationships among studies, and gaps in the literature, always with an eye to how the articles inform teaching in your discipline.

Your bibliography should list articles from scholarly journals or peer-reviewed on-line journals, or chapters from books. You may use any reasonable format for entry (APA, MLA, etc.) as long as it includes the title of the article or book chapter.

Your final paper should be a well-written coherent synthesis of the literature. You should refer to at least 5-6 articles or book chapters and your paper should be approximately 6 pages long.