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How to write a literature review for a research article. April 17 2008. Writing the literature review. What is the purpose of a literature review? Does a ‘literature review’ have to review literature? Theoretically v. practically justified research. Quantity of references.

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how to write a literature review for a research article

How to write a literature review for a research article

April 17 2008

©2008 Richard Watson Todd

writing the literature review
Writing the literature review
  • What is the purpose of a literature review?
  • Does a ‘literature review’ have to review literature?
  • Theoretically v. practically justified research
quantity of references
Quantity of references
  • Theoretically based research
    • e.g. Applied Linguistics
    • 40-100 references per article
  • Practically based research
    • e.g. Forum
    • 5-20 references per article
  • Quantity of references is not a basis for deciding on article type or evaluating research
justifying your research
Justifying your research
  • YOUR argument is more important than the literature
  • References to the literature are used to show that YOUR argument is valid
  • The literature only takes precedence over YOUR argument when you are explaining necessary background knowledge
one process for writing a literature review
One process for writing a literature review
  • Make YOUR rough argument
  • Read 3 or 4 key texts of relevance
  • Remake YOUR rough argument
  • Identify points needing support
  • Find references covering those points
  • Match references to YOUR argument
  • Revise your argument if necessary
finding references
Finding references
  • Key resources
    • BALD
    • Google Scholar
    • Scopus
  • Follow up on references in articles you read
principles for the literature review
Principles for the literature review
  • Do not be biased (it’s not persuasive)
  • Present both sides of an argument and show why your side is more important
  • Acknowledge problems, weaknesses and assumptions
  • Mix argument with explanations
  • Write at the level of your audience
  • Move from general to specific
  • Use a more specific heading than ‘Literature Review’
citation styles
Citation styles
  • Sentence-initial citations
    • Prensky (2004) argues that mobile phones have become a part of most students’ identities.
  • Clause-final citations
    • Mobile phones have become a part of most students’ identities (Prensky, 2004).
  • Rough rule: 80+% of citations should be clause-final
  • Sentence-initial citations are used mainly for in-depth explanations of theory
citation styles1
Citation styles
  • Use multiple citations
    • Most extant mobile phone-based applications in language learning concern discrete points of language. These include SMS messages sent to students of the a-word-a-day variety (Chinnery, 2006; Lu, 2006; McNicol, 2004; Prensky, 2004; Song and Fox, 2005), mini-lessons either sent via SMS or accessible through the web (Chinnery, 2006; Prensky, 2004; Thornton and Houser, 2004, 2005), short closed-ended quizzes available through SMS, the web or downloads (Attewell, 2005; Chinnery, 2006; McNicol, 2004; Uther et al., 2005), and a downloadable game (Kam et al., 2008; Marshall, 2007). Other applications include using mobile phones to talk with tutors (Chinnery, 2006) and classroom applications such as a medium for information-gap tasks and recording students' speech for later analysis (Watson Todd, 2006).
an example mobile mazes
An example: Mobile Mazes
  • Background
    • Mobile Mazes (MM) are a mobile phone assisted language learning (MPALL) game that Ajarn Saowaluck and I designed
    • We conducted interviews and think aloud protocols with users to investigate:
      • motivations in downloading and using MM
      • where and when to use MM
      • technical issues
justifying research into mobile mazes
Justifying research into Mobile Mazes
  • What do we need to justify?
    • Value of making an MPALL game
    • Value of Mobile Mazes as an MPALL game
    • Value of investigating certain aspects of MM
value of making an mpall game
Value of making an MPALL game
  • Ubiquity of mobile phones
  • Importance of mobile phones to students
  • Potential of mobile phones as a language learning device
  • BUT dangers of technology-driven innovations
value of mobile mazes as an mpall game
Value of Mobile Mazes as an MPALL game
  • Previous work in MPALL
  • Drawbacks with previous applications
  • What needs to be improved
  • Note: This section will be stronger with a coherent framework
    • CALL in the 1980s
value of investigating certain aspects of mobile mazes
Value of investigating certain aspects of Mobile Mazes
  • Difficulty of investigating learning from MPALL
  • Need to confirm benefits of MPALL identified in previous research
  • Need to fill gaps in MPALL literature
  • Need to investigate key features of MM (e.g. motivating gameplay)
  • Lead to Research Questions
things to look for
Things to look for
  • Emphasis on literature v. emphasis on own argument
  • Arguments for and against
  • Sentence-initial v. clause-final references
  • Justifying MPALL v. justifying Mobile Mazes v. justifying aspects to investigate
purposes of paragraphs
Purposes of paragraphs
  • Intro: Overview of article + justification of why MPALL
purposes of paragraphs1
Purposes of paragraphs
  • MPALL:
    • Defining area (MPALL)
    • Review of previous MPALL
    • Analysis of previous MPALL
    • Criticisms of previous MPALL
purposes of paragraphs2
Purposes of paragraphs
  • MPALL and 80s CALL
    • Introduction to section
    • Criticisms of 80s CALL
    • Parallels between MPALL and 80s CALL based on criticisms
    • Directions for improving 80s CALL
    • Applying directions to MPALL
purposes of paragraphs3
Purposes of paragraphs
  • Mobile Mazes
    • Justification of MPALL game
    • Describing MM
    • Describing MM and limitations
    • Limitations of MM
purposes of paragraphs4
Purposes of paragraphs
  • Investigating MM
    • Why not investigate learning outcomes
    • Justifying investigation of motivations (RQ1)
    • Justifying investigation of when/where MM is used (RQ2)
    • Justifying investigation of technical issues (RQ3)
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