Critical Literature Review

M.Ed. Completion Dossier Application Product Options

1. Definition of this Option

The purpose of the Critical Literature Review is to apply and deepen knowledge from an area of study and demonstrate proficiency in reviewing, synthesizing, and critically analyzing the research literature in a topic area that relates directly to one of the conceptual framework of the M.Ed. Program: Innovation in times of educational change, innovation grounded in knowledge of students and learning, ethical practice, practice grounded in intellectual and professional communities, dedication to educating diverse students. The Critical Literature Review is an appropriate application product in the completion dossier of students whose career goals include developing and sustaining expertise in a content area, and serving as a resource to other professionals in this topic area, as an integral part of their professional practice.

A Critical Literature Review should average 20-30 pages in length, and review at least 20 key published sources. The topic of the review should be limited to a single cohesive subject within the fields of the conceptual framework of the M.Ed. program. Topics that are overly specific will not provide enough breadth of information to support an argument. Topics that are too broad will not provide enough depth to sustain a convincing argument.

Reviews should summarize and critique a body of literature, applying the frameworks and theories previously studied within courses (core and electives) taken in the M.Ed. program. A substantial portion of the review should be devoted to a critical analysis (not simply a summary) of the literature. This review should be used to build a coherent discussion or argument based on an individual’s own assessment of the literature. Areas of consensus as well as discrepancies and disagreements should be discussed, and questions for future research posed. In preparation for writing the paper, students should study scholarly sources that present arguments based on the review, synthesis, and analysis of a body of literature.

The literature review should follow the guidelines of the American Psychological Association (APA) for presentation of references in the text and the reference list.

2. Eligibility and Approval

UW Bothell students intending to pursue the Critical Literature Review option may register for the elective BEDUC 507, Reviewing the Literature (3 credits) after completing BEDUC 501, Inquiry in Education, and 20 or more credits of required coursework. After the satisfactory completion of BEDUC 507, students finish the review with BEDUC 599 Culminating Project. Prior to registering for BEDUC 599 students must discuss their literature review with their academic advisor and secure the approval of an Education Program faculty member to oversee the project. This person may be the student’s current academic advisor, or the student may need to select a different faculty member to oversee the project. This faculty member, upon agreeing to oversee the project, would become the student’s academic advisor for the duration of the student’s program of study. Prior to registering for BEDUC 599 the student will need to select a second reader of the review, either the instructor of BEDUC 507 or another faculty member.

3. Course Registration Requirements

The Critical Literature Review process begins with registration for the elective, BEDUC 507, Reviewing the Literature. Although this course is open to any M.Ed. student who has completed BEDUC 501, students proposing to use the course to meet requirements for the Critical Literature Review option for the completion dossier must also have completed at least 20 credit hours of required coursework before registering for the course. Students must also have taken BEDUC 501, Inquiry in Education.

All students who develop a Critical Literature Review as their application product will enroll in BEDUC 507 Reviewing the Literature (3 credits). In this course, students will read examples of extensive literature reviews, learn how to locate, synthesize, and analyze professional literature on a topic, and learn how to write a review of that literature. They also will develop an annotated bibliography of scholarly sources that will be in their eventual literature review, plan for thematic development of the literature review, and write a first draft of the review. After the successful completion of BEDUC 507, students will enroll in BEDUC 599, Culminating Project (2 credits, CR/NC), to complete the literature review with the guidance of the academic advisor. Approval of the advisor is strongly recommended prior to enrolling in BEDUC 507 and is required before enrolling in BEDUC 599. 

4. Timelines

BEDUC 507 Reviewing the Literature will be offered each academic year, while BEDUC 599 Culminating Project will be coordinated between advisor and advisee after the successful completion of BEDUC 507. The grade for BEDUC 599 (CR/NC) will be awarded upon the successful completion of the final draft of the Critical Literature Review. The paper will need to be submitted in final form to the student’s advisor no later than the eighth week of the quarter in which the student is enrolled in BEDUC 599.

5. Assessment of the Critical Literature Review as an Application Product

To use the Critical Literature Review as the application product in the M.Ed. Completion Dossier, a complete and revised version of the review must be submitted to the student’s advisor no later than the eighth week of the quarter in which the student is enrolled in BEDUC 599, Culminating Project. During the quarter before the student wishes to graduate, the student will submit a completion dossier plan with the Critical Literature Review listed as the application product.

Incorporates Faculty Decisions through 3/3/11

Did You Know?

UW Bothell ranks second in the state of Washington in terms of bachelor of science graduates in computer science.