GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 264-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


SCHERER, Hannah H., Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, Virginia Tech, 270 Litton-Reaves Hall (0343), Blacksburg, VA 24061, CALLAHAN, Caitlin N., Geology Department, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI 49401, MCCONNELL, David A., Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, RYKER, Katherine, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina, 701 Sumpter Street, EWS 617, Columbia, SC 29208 and EGGER, Anne E., Geological Sciences and Science Education, Central Washington University, 400 E. University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926-7418

The Journal of Geoscience Education (JGE) describes literature review articles as those which “synthesize and evaluate the published literature on a topic within geoscience education research or practice.” Most scientific articles include at least a partial review of previous work in order to situate the study within the current body of knowledge. In contrast, a literature review article presents findings from a deep and rigorous interrogation of the literature that addresses a focused purpose or question. A literature review is much more than the summary of the contents of a collection of papers. Consistent with other types of research studies, literature reviews are systematic, methodologically sound, and generate new knowledge that is relevant to the field.

While the nature of literature review articles can provide considerable flexibility to the authors, effective reviews both within and beyond geoscience education research meet the current JGE review criteria and incorporate a thesis question, review methods and time frame, analysis, and conclusions and recommendations. For example, thesis questions could be motivated by a need to bridge a topic in geoscience education with findings from another discipline (e.g. cognitive science) or a need to make sense of the literature in a particular area within geoscience education (e.g. systems thinking). Methods could be deductive (e.g. using an existing theoretical framework to classify articles) or inductive (e.g. open coding and theme development). Rigorous analysis can result in findings that illuminate changes in methodological approaches over time, provide a decision-making guide for practitioners, or highlight gaps in the research.

Drawing on our collective experience in authoring, reviewing, and editing literature review articles for JGE, we provide recommendations and strategies for potential authors. Additionally, we describe the different roles research team members can play, and we discuss effective approaches to managing the varying tasks necessary to conduct a systematic review. Finally, we use research themes in A Community Framework for Geoscience Education Research to illustrate the process of developing a literature review article and the variety of potential reasons for and approaches to conducting systematic reviews.