Using Published Material to Trace the History of Sex Education in England: Conducting a Critical Literature Review


This case study offers reflections on our experience of conducting a critical literature review. We focus on a historical review of articles published in Health Education Journal from the journal’s first publication in 1943 to the present day, with a specific focus on debates and perspectives about sex education. In this case study, we outline the three stages involved in the literature review and discuss the inclusion and exclusion criteria we developed for it. We also discuss the merits of adopting an exploratory, inductive approach to analysis and provide an example of this form of analysis from our review. Finally, we offer reflections on the practical lessons learned during the process of conducting this particular critical literature review.

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