Option 1: Culminating Literature Review
Overview. A literature review is designed to help you learn to find, synthesize and analyze research about a topic related to the area of language, literacy, and/or bilingualism. You are to select and review empirical articles on your topic from peer-reviewed journals. The goal of the final paper is for you to summarize what is known about the topic, and what next steps researchers interested in this topic should take. Both critical analysis and integration of information are central to this undertaking. Your paper is to be scholarly in tone, substance and presentation, including use of American Psychological Association (APA) style.
Process. Use these steps to guide your process.
1. Choose a topic of your interest that is related to an area of language and/or bilingualism. It must be a topic that is related to material that has been covered in class or that is covered by the course readings and has been approved by Prof Chris.
a. Choose a topic that you are interested in, and would like to learn about in reater depth.
b. You may find it helpful to craft your literature in the frame of a question and then use your literature review to address your research question.
2. Narrow down your topic. For example, if youre interested in translanguaging, that is still too broad. Narrow it down to a particular age/grade level, geographic region, and/or language. Once youve narrowed it down begin your literature review. Review the literature search tips and ideas from the article review assignment to help you.
a. If your search yields way too many articles think of more ways to narrow it down. For example, maybe you want to read literature from a certain time period (setting like a specific year range). However, you decide to narrow, be sure to have a reason to justify. For example, maybe you choose to read about bilingual education programs in MA deciding to limit your articles from 2017 forward would limit you to just focusing on research since the English-Only reversal. Alternatively, you could do a range like 2002-2012 which could focus specifically on the first decade under the English-Only policy.
b. Be sure to read abstracts and sort out articles that arent really about your topic.
c. Your goal should be somewhere between 7-10 articles.
d. If you still have a lot of hits, then you can set additional inclusion/exclusion criteria (see Prof Chris for help), just be sure to justify your criteria for inclusion/exclusion in the paper.
3. Read the articles! I suggest making a table to help you sort your ideas and help with writing (see below for a suggested table)
4. Begin writing your paper! Your paper should have the following sections and use headings to separate sections (see APA guidelines):
a. An introduction to your topic and a description of why this is an important topic to study. You should back this up with additional research.
b. A method section that includes a description of the process you went through to locate and select the articles that you used for this literature review. You should have justifiable reasons for your selection criteria.
c. A findings section will be the bulk of your paper. What did you find? Are there related themes? What general, broad conclusions can you draw from this body of literature and research? How do different articles compare to each other? It is up to you how you choose to organize and present what you find, but there are some general guidelines to keep in mind. You will to organize and synthesize what you find so that it is cohesive. For each article that you include you will want to include a brief description of the purpose, method, and findings of each.
d. A discussion section that is based on the analysis of these research, what are important questions to ask in future studies? This section should include implications for teaching and/or future research. (i.e., what do you recommend for future research studies on this topic and why; how does it relate to what weve covered in this class regarding language and literacy development?).
e. All references that you use in your paper should be included in your reference page; this should all follow APA format.
For more details on writing a literature review you can visit:
Remember: the scope of your literature should be reasonable and achievable. Examples of topics you might want to investigate:
– Any topic that you loved discussing or reading in class!
– Bilingual education programs in a particular geographic region and/or language
– Particular language policy
– Seal of Biliteracy
– Language revitalization for a certain language (or geographic region)
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