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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

American and Australian Doctoral Literature Reviewing Practices and Pedagogies
by Green, Rosemary, Ph.D., Deakin University (Australia), 2009, 271; 3468159
Abstract (Summary)

The literature review is fundamental to the doctoral enterprise of academic disciplines, yet research into how the doctoral literature review is learned, taught or experienced is limited. Responding to an apparent under-examination of the literature review as a critical feature of doctoral learning, this thesis investigates the doctoral literature review process as experienced by American and Australian doctoral candidates, doctoral supervisors and academic librarians. The research followed a qualitative approach shaped by two questions: “How is the doctoral literature review process learned?” and, “What is learned by doing a doctoral literature review?” Data were generated from in-depth interviews conducted with 42 participants in education, nursing and the physical and biological sciences. Critical literacy, critical pedagogy and critical information literacy provided frameworks for interpreting participants’ experiences and perspectives on literature reviewing practices, disciplinary influences and mutually associated doctoral literacies.

The doctoral literature review is traditionally considered to be two segregated events—literature seeking and writing in an academic genre. The study findings challenge this perspective, proposing instead that doctoral literature reviewing is a complex, comprehensive process characterised by interdependent activities in a cycle of gathering, reflecting upon and synthesising literatures. Moreover, these findings indicate that, by engaging with disciplinary literatures and the literature review process, doctoral researchers become familiar with an array of critical doctoral literacies—disciplinary literacy, information literacy and reading and writing literacies. Thus, the doctoral literature review can be conceptualised as a pedagogy through which candidates acquire the lived practices and craft skills of disciplinary-specific research; learn to manage large bodies of information, literature and knowledge; and learn to read and write as scholars in their disciplines.

This project reconceptualises traditional perspectives on doctoral literature reviewing and recommends further exploration into its pedagogical potential. By approaching the doctoral literature review as a pedagogical process, the inquiry attempts to unpack literacies embedded within the doctoral enterprise, thereby exposing them as explicit aspects of doctoral learning. Becoming aware of the interrelatedness of critical doctoral literacies can mobilise supervisors, librarians and candidates to exploit the literature review process more fully. Ultimately, this research contributes to an international focus on a central feature of the doctorate and, as such, more broadly informs and supports doctoral pedagogy, particularly for those involved in American and Australian doctoral education.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Macauley, Peter
School: Deakin University (Australia)
School Location: Australia
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Library science, Pedagogy, Information science, Higher education
Keywords: Critical literacy, Doctoral students, Literature reviews
Publication Number: 3468159
ISBN: 978-1-124-81115-4
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