CHIL 500 (3) Research in Children’s and Young Adult Literatures


MACL students: this is a required course; no pre-requisites.
MLIS/Dual students: completion of MLIS core, and preferably some familiarity with children’s literature (i.e. previous MLIS or other course work).
Other students (PhD, MAS, etc.): please seek permission from course instructor.


By taking multidisciplinary approaches to principles, practice, and current trends in academic research in children’s literature, this course invites students to map — and begin participating in — the ecosystem that shapes, sustains, and critiques the perceived canon of children’s and young adult literature in the English-speaking world: the prizes and best-seller lists that confer prestige and accelerate sales, the professional organizations and conferences that support research, the processes through which scholarship is produced and disseminated, and the forums where scholarly work ultimately appears in print. Through seminar activities and scaffolded assignments, members of this seminar will first familiarize themselves with the field and then enter an apprenticeship as researchers. By pursuing a project that entails reviewing relevant scholarship, developing a research question, proposing and delivering a conference-style paper, and writing an article-length manuscript, participants will practice the disciplines most frequently used scholarly genres with the goal of producing some original scholarship.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • Describe the awards and scholarly systems that contribute to and help to reshape the perceived canon of children’s and young adult literature;
  • Identify major venues for publication of research on children’s and young adult literature, their relative prestige, and their editorial and theoretical orientations;
  • Identify supports for scholarship available to early-career researchers in children’s and young adult literature;
  • Describe the role of the peer review system in disciplinary gatekeeping and knowledge construction;
  • Conduct and respond to scholarly peer review;
  • Identify circumstances under which ethics approval is necessary for conducting research in children’s and young adult literature;
  • Gauge the suitability of different venues — e.g., academic conferences, journals, edited collections — for the dissemination of their own research;
  • Apply the disciplinary knowledge-making practices and academic genres that characterize scholarly research in children’s and young adult literatures.


  • Exploring and critiquing the canon of children’s literature;
  • Prizing in children’s literature;
  • Children’s literature organizations and journals;
  • Theory and methodology in children’s literature research;
  • Responding to calls for papers;
  • Scholarly writing in children’s literature;
  • Conducting and responding to peer review.
On this page