Credit points


Campus offering

Find out more about study modes.

Unit offerings may be subject to minimum enrolment numbers.

Please select your preferred campus.

  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Online Unscheduled



Unit rationale, description and aim

Literature reviews are usually written before a research project begins as they provide context for the research, avoid duplication by identifying what is already known, and identify gaps in our existing knowledge about an issue or problem. Developing a good literature review enhances understanding and improves research design.

This unit provides students with the knowledge, skills, and opportunity to develop a literature review on a topic of their choice with unit content organised into the sequential stages of the writing process. This begins with defining the core issue or problem, sourcing and evaluating high quality literature to better understand the seminal research already conducted, and finally summarising and synthesising this previous research to inform the direction and shape of any subsequent research project.

This unit aims to provide the foundational knowledge and skills that allow students to critically examine relevant research findings in a specific area and use this knowledge to construct an extended, logical, well-structured literature review that demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the field in relation to a particular issue or problem.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Utilise skills required to search and identify high quality research literature related to a specific topic, issue or problem (APST HA 6.2; APST Lead 7.1, 7.2, 7.4)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC9, GC10, GC11
LO2Analyse and synthesise quality educational research literature on a specific topic, issue or problem (APST HA 6.2; APST Lead 7.1, 7.2, 7.4)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO3Identify possible gaps in the scholarly literature that can inform further research on a specific topic, issue or problem (APST HA 6.2; APST Lead 7.1, 7.2, 7.4)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11
LO4Conduct a small-scale literature review related to a specific topic, issue or problem (APST HA 6.2; APST Lead 7.1, 7.2, 7.4)GC1, GC2, GC3, GC7, GC8, GC9, GC11


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

6.2 Engage in professional learning and improve practice

Plan for professional learning by accessing and critiquing relevant research, engage in high-quality targeted opportunities to improve practice and offer quality placements for pre-service teachers where applicable.


On successful completion of this unit, students should have gained evidence towards the following standards:

7.1 Meet professional ethics and responsibilities

Model exemplary ethical behaviour and exercise informed judgements in all professional dealings with students, colleagues and the community

7.2 Comply with legislative, administrative and organisational requirements

Initiate, develop and implement relevant policies and processes to support colleagues’ compliance with and understanding of existing and new legislative, administrative, organizational and professional responsibilities.

7.4 Engage with professional teaching networks and broader communities

Take a leadership role in professional and community networks and support the involvement of colleagues in external learning opportunities.


Topics will include:

Module 1. Sourcing quality literature

  • Refining your topic, issue or problem
  • Criteria and rankings used to determine quality research literature
  • Data-base searching

Module 2. Evaluating, critically engaging with single and multiple texts

  • Locating and critically appraising quality research literature
  • Reviewing, synthesising, and engaging with texts
  • Writing descriptive and analytical forms of review

Module 3. Understanding the building-blocks of a literature review

  • Identifying key authors, arguments, and publications
  • Addressing aspects of a topic, issue, or problem from various points of view
  • Locating issues and gaps in the research literature

Module 4. Writing your Literature review

  • Defining the scope and sources
  • Organize the literature review into sections, themes, and trends
  • Amalgamating your synthesis and evaluation in extended discursive prose

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is based on the principles of adult andragogy and experiential learning which positions adult learners with responsibility for their own learning engaging with content that is enquiry-based, learner-focused and student centred. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, online discussion, webinars, case studies podcasts, workshops, self-directed learning tasks and assignments. At times the unit content will consider controversial subjects or topics. While students are not required to agree with the viewpoints shared by others, it is expected that an approach based on respect and academic inquiry of varying perspectives will be used.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total.

Mode of delivery: This unit will be offered in one or more of modes of delivery described below, chosen with the aim of providing flexible delivery of academic content.

  • On Campus: Most learning activities or classes are delivered at a scheduled time, on campus, to enable in-person interactions. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Intensive: In an intensive mode, students require face-to-face attendance on weekends or any block of time determined by the school. Students will have face-to-face interactions with lecturer(s) to further their achievement of the learning outcomes. This unit is structured with required upfront preparation before workshops. The online learning platforms used in this unit provide multiple forms of preparatory and practice opportunities for you students to prepare and revise. 
  • Multi-mode: Learning activities are delivered through a planned mix of online and in-person classes, which may include full-day sessions and/or placements, to enable interaction. Activities that require attendance will appear in a student’s timetable.
  • Online unscheduled: Learning activities are accessible anytime, anywhere. These units are normally delivered fully online and will not appear in a student’s timetable. 
  • Online scheduled: All learning activities are held online, at scheduled times, and will require some attendance to enable online interaction. Activities will appear in a student’s timetable.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes. In addition, the tasks represent an opportunity to align with the needs of students and their professional and research contexts. An emphasis on tangible real-world assessment will support the praxis-based approach taken in this unit as the assessment is based on applying specific skills needed to plan, organise, and develop a literature review. Given the central role of literature reviews in all educational research projects, the goal of the assessment is to provide students with the opportunity to assess of the current state of research related to a specific issue or problem, identify seminal research in the area, and critically synthesise this material into the coherent discursive prose employed in the writing of educational research literature reviews.

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate achievement of each of the learning outcomes. In addition, the tasks represent an opportunity to align with the needs of students and their specific professional and research contexts. There are two pieces of assessment which provides an opportunity to employ specific skills required in the planning and writing of a literature review. The goal of this activity is therefore to thoroughly contextualise content covered in the unit through meaningful and real-world tasks undertaken by all researchers when conducting an educational research project.

In order to pass this unit, students are required to demonstrate achievement of the unit learning outcomes by submitting all assessment tasks, obtaining a combined final mark of at least 50 per cent, and receiving a passing grade on Assessment Task 2.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1

Written Task: Annotated bibliography and Critical review of a single text.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Assessment Task 2

Written Task: Literature Review related to a specific topic or problem.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Booth, A., Papaioannou, D., & Sutton, A. (2016). Systematic approaches to a successful literature review (2nd ed.). Sage.

Creswell, J., & Guetterman, T. (2019). Educational research: Planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (6th ed.). Pearson.

Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2011). Handbook of qualitative research (4th ed.). Sage.

Denzin, N. K., Lincoln, Y. S., & Smith, L. T. (Eds.). (2008). Handbook of critical and indigenous methodologies. Sage.

Fink, A. (2013). Conducting research literature reviews: From the internet to paper (4th ed.). Sage.

Galvan, J. L., & Galvan, M. (2017). Writing literature reviews: a guide for students of the social and behavioral sciences (7th ed.). Routledge.

Hobson, C., & McCartan, K. (2015). Real world research (5th ed.). Wiley.

Johnson, B., & Christensen, L. (2009). Educational research quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method approaches (3rd ed.). Pearson Education.

McGregor, S. (2018). Understanding and evaluating research. Sage

Newman, M., & Gough, D. (2020). Systematic Reviews in Educational Research: Methodology, Perspectives and Application. In O. Zawacki-Richter, M. Kerres, S. Bedenlier, M. Bond, K. Buntins (Eds) Systematic Reviews in Educational Research. Springer

Silverman, D. (2010). Doing qualitative research: A practical handbook (3rd ed.). Sage.

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs