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Literature Review--A General Overview

Key Elements to a Literature Review 

Introduction/Background -- Define your topic and provide a background to put the issues into context. 

Categories/Themes  -- Highlight the baseline understanding and concepts of current knowledge on the topic. There is no preset number of categories. Categories will be determined by literature found and the focus of your article. 

Gap/Study Question -- Identifies the gaps in research and question your study will answer.  

General Notes On Style  

  • Literature reviews are written in third person. 
  • Summarizing and Paraphrasing are preferred. Direct quotes are rarely used. 
  • It is common to summarize  multiple articles with same viewpoints. When you have multiple articles that are making the same point about a topic, you can cite all the articles in the same parenthetical citation. Different articles are separated by semi-colons within the parenthesis.

Here are two paragraphs from the literature review for: 
Race and ethnicity in sign language interpreter education, training and practice
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The first paragraph highlights several examples of multiple authors with same viewpoints cited in same parenthetical reference (the article uses British spellings). 

     The relationship between the deaf community and interpreters has been a complex and multi-faceted one where issues of actual and perceived power, discrimination and exploitation have played a significant part. Interpreters via their training and practice have sought to distance themselves from their roots in social work and welfare provision which was generally viewed as patronising and controlling (ScottGibson 1991; Tate and Turner 2001). Literature on the changing relationship between interpreters and the deaf community (Pollitt 2000; Ladd 2003; Cokely 2005) has also acknowledged the way that deaf people have been exploited or overshadowed by those who are supposed to be performing the interpreting role.

The second paragraph highlights authors with different perspectives cited individually (the article uses British spellings). 

     Tate and Turner (2001) provide an analogy of deaf people being preceded through life’s doors by hearing people saying ‘what he/she wants is...’ a kind of ‘does he take sugar?’ syndrome. Early efforts in increased empowerment for deaf people resulted in conduit or machine like (Roy 2002) approaches to interpreting with the aim of minimising the ‘visibility’ of the interpreter and so reducing the opportunity for the deaf person to be ignored in favour of the hearing person interpreting for them.