The process of reviewing the literature is one of the crucial parts in research work. It gives directions to you further research and provides a broad understanding on whether to investigate a particular topic or not. As noted by Vickers and Offredy (n.d.) literature review ‘provides an up-to-date understanding of the subject and its significance to (your) practice’. Indeed, access to international researchers’ ideas, understandings, methods and findings gives us an opportunity to develop a complex set of skills as a young researcher. Once, on the course of “Educational reforms in Kazakhstan” our professor Sulushash Kerimkulova said that ten resources are enough for the final paper. All of us were so relieved, as it seemed not so much for us. However, after a while, the professor continued that, in order to find these ten resources, we need to read hundreds. A Russian researcher Sergey Vavilov agrees with it and says that a modern man stands in front of the Himalayas libraries in the position of the gold prospector, who must find a grain of gold in the mass of sand. So, finding a relevant literature is a hard work and needs a strong will-power, however, the more literature you reviewed, the richer and more resourceful will be your research.
My thesis is aimed to investigate the competence of primary year teachers on teaching in inclusive classrooms. In order to receive a broader range of teachers’ experiences and better understand the challenges they face in teaching students with special educational needs I decided to review studies conducted not only in Kazakhstan, but also discussions of the international literature of teachers’ competence in inclusive classrooms. This topic has been investigated a lot and it was easy for me to study it from different perspectives. However, in order not to be buried under the mass of literature I found, I decided to allocate the primary and secondary sources into different folders, such as “Kazakhstani experience” and “Other countries”. Moreover, I designed a mind map where I wrote the authors’ names and date, their key findings and methodology they used. The picture above illustrates exactly how I see the process of reviewing relative literature on the investigated topic. It helped me to see the parallels of different researchers work and then to do my own parallel. For instance, I cited Yeun, Westwood and Wong (2004, as cited in Frolin, 2010) who claims that as teaching is getting ‘progressively more multifaceted’ (p.161) a teacher has totally different role in a regular classroom, recent studies demonstrate that a lot of classroom teachers are not confident in integrated lessons with special-needs students and do not reflect willingness to have inclusive education in their lessons. Indeed, from my personal conversation with the teacher, who teaches a student with cerebral palsy as me, says that teachers are more confident in teaching students with SEN and have more positive attitude when they are aware of appropriate teaching approach and have enough skills and knowledge. A proper literature review will lead to a good comparison for your own research findings (Vickers & Offredy, n.d.).
As for challenges in my thesis now, I found difficult to paraphrase correctly. It needs a lot academic skills and proofreading. Moreover, literature reviewing requires an analytical view, which is, in my opinion, also the skill of professional researchers. The Literature Review in my thesis is divided into three subtopics so far, which are teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education in Kazakhstan, teachers’ attitudes towards inclusive education in other countries, and teachers’ competence in teaching inclusive classrooms. Now I am working on enriching the last subtopic, and I would like to add more findings of other international researchers and their methodologies and while reading develop my own analytical view.
Vickers P., Offredy M., (n.d.). Writing a research proposal. Retrieved from http://www.health.herts.ac.uk/immunology/Web%20programme%20-%20Researchhealthprofessionals/
Yeun, M., Westwood P. & Wong G., (2004). Meeting the needs of students with specific learning difficulties in the mainstream education system: data from primary school teachers in Hong Kong. International Journal of Special Education.