Conducting a Lit Review

As with any scholarship, SoTL projects are situated within larger conversations about a) the issues at the heart of the inquiry, b) the discipline (as relevant), and c) what we know about learning. (See the video below for more about “c.”)

Lit reviews in SoTL can be particularly challenging because they take us out of our known disciplinary publications and databases.  Just a few years ago, many of the SoTL journals weren’t yet included in the major library databases, but most are now, so this necessary stage has gotten significantly easier.

Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching and the Jean & Alexander Heard Library have created a SoTL Research Guide, full of resources on the following tasks involved in a lit review:

  • Finding Books: links to Vanderbilt’s ACORN catalog and interlibrary loan sites
  • Finding Articles:  links to the major databases that index articles about teaching and learning, as well as surveys, measures, and questionnaires
  • SoTL Journals:  links to the top SoTL journals, as well as lists of SoTL journals by discipline
  • More about SoTL: links to useful introductory readings about SoTL, as well as links to SoTL’s professional organizations,  the major conferences in North America, and a few SoTL programs (Vanderbilt and elsewhere)
  • Research Funding: databases to search for funding, as well as Vanderbilt’s policies and guidelines

The video below addresses the larger conversation of what we know about how, when, and why students transfer (or don’t) learning.

"Studying Transfer: Relevant Theories of Learning," an online component of the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) 2013 Conference (c/o Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning)

For guidance on this stage of a SoTL project, see
Situating Your Project Within Larger Conversations: Doing a Lit Review.”

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