Students will carry out a literature survey of recent research. This will acquaint you with the various types of research pursuits in a particular domain of applied linguistics and communication and bring into focus your own research interests. At the same time, the skills acquired through this exercise will serve as a foundation for the detailed reading of the research literature you will be expected to do for your other modules. In the process of this exercise students will develop information search skills and become familiar with the formal properties of research reported in journal articles. It will also provide an opportunity for the student to develop a focused area of interest from the range of topics currently being explored in applied linguistics and communication.
In order to carry out this assignment you must define a topic of interest to serve as the focus of you survey. You are required to locate current articles from academic journals publishing research in your chosen topic area. You will inspect published articles only from the last five years. Read only the abstracts of the articles (typically provided directly after the title and authors but sometimes at the end.) Close reading of the actual articles is not necessary for this exercise. The objective is to become acquainted with the nature of research interests and domains in a particular strand of research in applied linguistics and communication rather than an understanding of the research findings. While carrying out your survey, focus on details provided in the article abstracts referring to what the object of study was and how the research was carried out. Note any technical terms which are highlighted.
One of the challenges this assignment presents is how to select representative papers from within the research area and summarize them concisely. In using electronic database searches you may initially identify a very large number of articles on your topic but you must present a snapshot of the key work in the field. Careful selection of key words for refining searches and determining a coherent set of articles will be an important step. Another challenge is to ensure that your survey presents a clear picture of the themes or issues of interest in this field of research. Therefore identify key ideas or methodological approaches that are highlighted and use these themes to present your material in a well structured and logical manner.
The written presentation of your survey will have an introduction which sets out the topic. You should include a description of the procedures used to locate articles such as selection of keywords and databases or search engines as well as any inclusion/exclusion criteria. The body of the essay will present a summary of the emerging pattern of interests reflected in the commonalties found in the literature and a synthesis that gives a picture of current research concerns in your chosen topic.
All sources must be cited in the text and referenced in the bibliography. Direct quotes must be indicated with “…” in the text, and page number of the source provided
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