Writing Literature Reviews

A literature review is an argument that also “reviews” or summarizes and evaluates the research you have collected and read on a specific topic. In order to write a literature review, then, you need to have read a number of articles, books, essays, or empirical studies on your topic.

Once you have collected and read a number of sources on your topic, you want to group them into similar categories. Obviously, your sources will have something in common as your argument is a thread that links them together. In addition to your argument, take the similarities of your sources a step further so that you may discuss your research thematically.

In the discussion of each of your sources, grouped thematically, you will want to briefly summarize the main points of the article. If it is empirical research, you will want to identify the methodology the author(s) used to collect and examine their data, and you will want to discuss the results of the study. You may want to evaluate your research in your discussion and point out its usefulness overall.

An excerpt from a Literature Review in APA format

Through the combination of multimodality, visual, and textual rhetoric, multilingual writers are able to construct their identity on the Internet. They are able to accomplish this by providing photographs, gender, and cultural information to project who they are to a global audience. The following research (Lee & Barton 2011; Jwa 2012) reveals the way that multilingual writers use language and rhetoric to construct a global identity.

Lee & Barton (2012) examine 100 Flickr sites using 30 Chinese and 30 Spanish participants to explore the way that multilingual Flickr users negotiate between their physical offline identities and digital global identities. On Flickr, users make creative decisions about rhetoric based on the knowledge of their audience. In this context, audience and Flickr user are in collaboration with each other, and this collaboration is the motivating force. Flickr allows its users the space to, ultimately, contrive a global identity. This means that although the Flickr user may specify English language preferences and project personal identities, it may only be to allow their identity construction to reach a wide audience in the digital world. They do not give up or, necessarily, “own up” to their identities outside of the digital environment.

Fanfiction websites, like Flickr, allow their users to develop multiple possibilities for identity construction through the website's archives. Here, users are able to index hyperlinks to other personal webpages creating more possibilities for their global identity to reach a wide audience. The “communities” and “forums” feature allows fanfiction users to share ideas and collaborate with each other. In a recent study, Jwa (2012) asks what design features of fanfiction discourse help the L2 writers build their voice and, thus, global identity? This case study focuses on two fanfiction writers from the Philippines…
Lee & Barton (2011) and Jwa (2012) offer evidence that multilingual writers design and create their identity in online environments where audience is a motivating force. Each situational context provides different motivators, but the point this research makes is that the textual and visual creative choices multilingual writers make through digital technology, is intentional and reveals the way they wish to be known in the world.

Written by: Rachel Griffo

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