An integrative review of transitions to school literature

Tess Boyle, Susan Grieshaber, Anne Petriwskyj

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


An integrative literature review critiques and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in order to reveal new perspectives. An analysis of extant reviews (2002–2013) of transitions to school literature led to the identification of four theoretical perspectives of transitions: developmental, ecological, socio-cultural, and critical; and six recurrent concepts across these perspectives. These perspectives and concepts were used to develop the conceptual framework for the integrative review of transitions literature published between 2000 and 2015. Subsequent to the critique and analysis processes required by an integrative literature review, the findings revealed three significant shifts across this period of time: i) ecological and socio-cultural perspectives and relationships concepts now influence concepts of transitions more strongly than developmental perspectives and readiness concepts, ii) an evolving representation of critical perspectives that offers new insights into socially just approaches to transitions to school, and (iii) the emergence of the concept of continuity. Finally, the paper reports new perspectives of transitions to school that seek to address persistent concerns of (dis) continuity within the literature. By reframing the review findings as relational, practical and policy continuity, the paper concludes by suggesting ways these concepts could be applied to innovative approaches to and research about transitions to school.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-180
Number of pages11
JournalEducational Research Review
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Continuity
  • Integrative literature review
  • Multi-theoretical perspectives
  • Transitions to school

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