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.

For detailed guidance and resources, consult the following:

  • This SoTL Guide blog post written during Margy MacMillan’s workshop on the SoTL lit review provides specific strategies for searching.
  • This SoTL Research Guide curated by Caitlin McClurg (liaison librarian for the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning at the University of Calgary) provides links to key resources in SoTL and various disciplines.
  • This SoTL Annotated Literature Database curated by Nicola Simmons provides brief annotated bibliographies of some key issues as a “‘point of entry’ into relevant higher education topics to provide a starting point for your inquiries.”

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”


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

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