Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences


Andrew E. Walker


Practically speaking, a well-conducted review of literature is central to a scholar’s ability to pose pertinent and timely questions within their field. As part of the culminating written assessment of a Ph.D. candidate, the dissertation literature review provides a unique vantage point to explore future scholars’ preparation. In spite of its central role within the research process, research about how future scholars are taught the doctoral competencies necessary to conduct a review of the literature for the dissertation or how the dissertation literature reviews are assessed is limited.

In two separate studies, this research uses the Boote and Beile’s Literature Review Scoring Rubric as a framework to explore the textbooks used in the early stages of doctoral education and the quality of dissertation literature reviews from a field of education research. In the first study, seven of the top selling education research methods textbooks from 2010 were analyzed to determine how well they cover the 12 performance criteria on the rubric. While the results were varied, the majority of textbooks were not adequate in their coverage of the performance criteria identified by Boote and Beile. In short, the materials used to prepare doctoral students may not be equal to conveying critical components of the literature review.

Efforts were then devoted to a replication study of exploring the end results of doctoral training and preparation. In the second study, the Literature Review Scoring Rubric was used to assess the quality of 30 randomly selected dissertation literature reviews from Instructional Technology. The scores of the dissertation literature reviews were also varied. While some dissertation literature reviews in this study were of high quality and scored well, the majority of them were of a lower quality.




Publication made available electronically December 21, 2011.