Exploring the process of teaching literature review: Possibilities and challenges

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


In this exploratory Action Research, the teacher researcher aimed to study his own practice in supporting students engaged with some of the processes and skills required for undertaking effective literature reviews for their Masters Dissertations in an Islamic Seminary. The study aimed to understand, document and improve processes used by the teacher researcher to teach literature review to students. Eight Masters' Students, five males and three females, specializing in Islamic law, Islamic history and Arabic literature were introduced to thesis statements, theoretical aspects of literature review, argumentation analysis and evaluation of sources. These guidelines were derived from a literature review evaluation rubric designed by Boote and Beile (2005). Facilitation took the shape of nine group workshops interspersed with individualized face to face sessions with the teacher researcher to address any issues or queries raised by students. Findings of this insider Action Research were validated by multiple sources of data including reflective notes, student written work and correspondence, observation of student behaviors, collective and individual discussions with students and reflections of critical friends. Data revealed that engaging students with skills required to undertake literature reviews led to students' re-conceptualizing a literature review from randomly collating what others have said and taking literature at face value to using and critiquing sources in light of a conceptual framework. The dual format of workshops interspersed with individualized sessions led to enhanced understanding and opportunities for application of skills learnt. Language of instruction and pedagogy proved significant challenges for the teacher researcher. This study provides rare insight into the professional practice of a novice teacher of literature review trying to document and improve his craft, and contributes to the sparse research-based scholarship on teaching literature review.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library