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Introduction to Literature Reviews

Module titleIntroduction to Literature Reviews
Module codeHPDM095
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Professor Karen Mattick (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

In this module you will learn to undertake a literature search on a clinical education topic and make sense of the information you find.  This is an important activity for clinical educators, in order to find out about new and innovative approaches to teaching, learning and assessment; and to make decisions about clinical education that are grounded in good theory and evidence.  You will learn about the opportunities and challenges associated with incorporating an evidence-based approach to Clinical Education.  The assessment will be a literature review, which we hope some participants will go on to publish in a peer-reviewed journal such as The Clinical Teacher in order to engage with a wider scholarly community.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module aims to support clinical educators to engage with literature to identify innovations and evidence that can inform their own education practice or project work.  It will provide support for those full time postgraduate students who are planning their own Master’s thesis projects and be equally relevant for those part time students who chose not to continue to the thesis stage.  Much of the module content will also apply to clinical practice (as well as clinical education practice), and this will be discussed in the module.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain and critique the different types of literature review
  • 2. Apply the principles of critical appraisal

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Describe literature relevant to current developments in medical eduction
  • 4. Undertake a literature on a healthcare education topic

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Critically evaluate the educational literature and apply this learning to your educational practice
  • 6. Use evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development (HEA UKPSF V3)

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Whilst the module's precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:


Interactive group session, lecture and practical sessions- delivered by practising professional and experts in this area will cover:

• Designing searchable questions about clinical education  (including patient and public involvement) 

• Different types of literature review 

• How to do a literature review 

• Evaluating different types of research study 

• Synthesising the evidence 

• Putting evidence into practice (the theory and the reality) 

• Putting all you have learned in the module into practice 

• Writing for publication


If necessary, in light of Covid19:

-          Face-to-face scheduled lectures may be replaced by short pre-recorded videos for each topic (15-20 minutes) and/or brief overview lectures delivered via MS Teams/Zoom, with learning consolidated by self-directed learning resources and ELE activities.

-          Small-group discussion in tutorials and seminars may be replaced by synchronous group discussion on Teams/ Zoom; or asynchronous online discussion, for example via Yammer or ELE Discussion board

-          Workshops involving face-to-face classroom teaching may be replaced by synchronous sessions on Teams/Zoom; or Asynchronous workshop activities supported with discussion forum

-          Skills workshops involving practical skills acquisition demonstrations may be replaced by short pre-recorded videos as pre-learning; or workshop via Teams/Zoom.

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities44 x 1 hour lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activities84 x 2 hour seminars with student presentations
Scheduled learning and teaching activities42 x 2 hours practical sessions demonstrating student designed assessments
Guided independent study24Reading and activities prior to scheduled attendances
Guided independent study24Web-based research
Guided independent study86Reading, researching, preparing and writing the summative assignment


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Discussion on initial topic and approach to literature reviewWithin the taught sessions1-6Oral feedback from tutor and peers
Completion of pre-course reading and test1-6Online feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Literature review 1002000 words, formatted as per an article in The Clinical Teacher journal1-6Review written work and feedback from module tutors


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Literature review (100%)Updated literature review (2000 words), accompanied by a covering letter explaining how changes had been made in response to the initial feedback1-6Typically within six weeks of the result

Re-assessment notes

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral:


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Greenhalgh T, Howick J, Maskrey N (2014). Evidence based medicine: a movement in crisis? BMJ 2014;348:g3725 

ELE – 



Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources


The Best Evidence Medical Education collaboration  :  

 The EPPI-Centre, Institute of Education, London:

Module has an active ELE page

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

Gough D, Thomas J (2016). Systematic reviews of research in education: aims, myths and multiple methods. Review of Education 4, 84–102.  

 Wong G (2016).    Literature reviews in the health professions: It’s all about the theory. Medical Education 50: 380–382:  

 Wong, G (2015). Literature reviews: who is the audience?, in Researching Medical Education (eds J. Cleland and S. J. Durning), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118838983.ch3

Key words search

Literature, Evidence, Review, Implementation

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date