Scholarly Teaching Series Part 2: Consult Literature

This is the second post in the Scholarly Teaching Series. Building off the work of Richlin (2001), we will highlight various projects at the MN-COP to illustrate each step in the Scholarly Teaching process.ST Figure Step 2

Consult Literature

After you have Observed a Problem or Opportunity and Documented the Baseline, the step 2 in the Scholarly Teaching process is to Consult Literature. While diving into the literature may be intimidating, it is essential to know what has been done in pharmacy education and other disciplines. You may gain insights into your own work or discover something new. Consulting the literature both in and outside of your field will illustrate how your work uniquely contributes to the broader SOTL conversation.

Emotional Intelligent Leadership in Pharmacy Students

Dr. Kerry Fierke is part of a collaboration between MN-COP and Regis University School of Pharmacy, Emotional Intelligent Leadership (EIL) in Pharmacy Students, which joins the concept of Emotional Intelligence with Leadership. This project arose from what Dr. Fierke found in the literature. She states:

This work actually began as an Emotional Intelligence (EI) project for our classrooms.  By consulting the literature, we learned that there are several EI models with various definitions.  After examining them all, and their instruments, we settled on one that would help us give students a preliminary base for EI.  That’s what the the EIL model and its instrument provides. It appeared to be an unique blend of two important development areas for pharmacy students.  Consulting the literature resulted in us broadening our scope and designing a project that actually ended up embedding EI with the Leadership curricula of two institutions.

Dr. Fierke and her team found consulting the literature to establish a foundation for their work was more beneficial than simply selecting an available instrument. She explains:

Kerry Fierke
Kerry Fierke

Anyone can grab an assessment instrument from an article or purchase it from a vendor.  But, what are these instruments designed to do?  Which will best meet our students’ needs?  The literature helped us to identify a model and instrument that was right for us.  In addition, by examining the literature, we could see where previous work had stopped and where ours could pick up.  While there was some previous validation work, we chose to add to this by creating a crosswalk between the CAPE outcomes and the instrument’s items to see exactly how much this instrument was “covering”.  We learned that it was an opportunity to begin the conversation with students. The assessment provides a focus for students to explore their own Emotional Intelligence as it relates to Leadership.

The Connection to Your Work

If you have not spent a lot of time in the SOTL literature, you may wonder where to begin. Pharmacy has four primary education focused venues for SOTL work:  American Journal of Pharmacy Education, Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning, Pharmacy Education (FIP) and Innovations in Pharmacy-Education Section.  

In addition, your colleagues at the Wulling Center are available to consult with at any stage of your scholarly project related to teaching and learning. The library staff at an academic institution is also a great resource for beginning a search of the literature.

If the idea of diving into the SOTL literature is still intimidating, consider the parallels with pharmacy practice. Pharmacists regularly practice Evidence-Based Medicine. Appraising the literature’s evidence and applying the findings is a learned skill and integral to being a successful pharmacist. Similarly, practicing Evidence-Based Teaching contributes heavily to teaching and learning successes.

For more information

Project Team: Kerry Fierke, Ed.D., Kristin Janke, Ph.D., Claire Kolar, Pharm.D., Michael Nelson, Ph.D., Robert Haight, Ph.D., Brandon Sucher, Pharm.D.


Richlin, L. (2001). Scholarly Teaching and the Scholarship of Teaching. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 2001(86), 57–68.Scholarly Teaching Series Logo