Writing a literature review

Writing a literature review is one of the most challenging parts of a project because it is necessary to chose out all the information that exists on a given topic the one which is the most relevant to my project. After finding and reading all these sources, it is also important to present them in a coherent and logical way so that the reader would understand the background and actuality of the theme which I study, as well as why this theme is worth of studying. Organization of the main ideas plays an important role here. After reading a number of sources I decided to structure my paper in the following way. First of all, I would like to begin my literature review from defining main notions and terms which I use in it. So, I start from explaining what dyslexia is, what are its main symptoms, characteristics and causes. Then I move on to presenting the bigger picture about it, in particular, to what extent it is wide spread in the world. After that I narrow my focus to Kazakhstan. Due to the reason that it is extremely difficult to find material on dyscalculia among Kazakhstani population I provide an overview of attitudes and strategies concerning inclusive education in general in our country. I end my literature review with looking at  how others countries deal with student who suffer from it, what are the special programs for these students and what place students with dyscalculia have in inclusive education settings.
The main challenges in finding resources were about finding information in Kazakhstan. Also, there is not enough data on effectiveness of some programs, as many of them have been launched quite recently.
Now I am in the middle of the process. I found all my main sources, but I did not write much about situation in Kazakhstan and I need to revise the part about programs used in other countries because I constantly keep finding some new material.
The texts which I would like to share with you are “Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Mathematics: A practical guide” and “Dyscalculia: From Brain to Education” by Brian Butterworth, Sashank Varma and  Diana Laurillard.

The first one provides a detailed and very clear overview of dyscalculia as well as some useful strategies about how to deal with students who suffer from it. In particular, this book provides detailed guidelines on how to deal with various Math topics, for example, fractions, operations with numbers and so on. Also it constantly emphasizes importance of raising awareness about dyscalculia among the teachers. The second text provides a useful insight about the causes of dyscalculia from the neural perspective, in particular what changes happen in the brain of a child with dyscalculia. It also provides details on how special software, such as Number Race and Graphogame Maths can be used to help such students.

References:

Butterworth, Varma and Laurillard. (2011). “Dyscalculia: From Brain to Education” by Brian Scienc”, 332, 1049-1053.

Henderson, A. (2014). Dyslexia, Dyscalculia and Mathematics: A practical guide. London: Routlege.

5 thoughts on “Writing a literature review

  1. Thanks, Dinara.

    Your post is complete and offers the reader a pretty good sense of your understanding of the LR and the specific characteristics of the one you are writing for your thesis. I’m slightly concerned about the grammar errors that are sprinkled throughout the writing. I hope that even in informal writing settings like this, you will take the time to proofread and double check before you post. Can you find and correct the mistakes below?

    Writing a literature review is one of the most challenging parts of a project because it is necessary to chose out all the information that exists on a given topic the one which is the most relevant to my project. (verb form and preposition)

    I end my literature review with looking at how others countries deal with student who suffer from it, what are the special programs for these students and what place students with dyscalculia have in inclusive education settings. (plural adjective, singular noun, word order in indirect questions)

    Due to the reason that it is extremely difficult to find material on dyscalculia among Kazakhstani population I provide an overview of attitudes and strategies concerning inclusive education in general in our country. (Wordy “that” phrase. Try a noun phrase like “difficulty of v-ing”)

    Also it constantly emphasizes importance of raising awareness about dyscalculia among the teachers. (Missing comma, missing article)
    4/5

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  2. Dear Dinara, I agree that the literature review is an essential part of an overall study. Choosing the sources might be quite a challenging task indeed. The way you decided to present this section (starting from dyscalculia in general, moving to inclusive education context and so on) is clear and easy to follow. You mention dyslexia in this post, is it a typo or do you want to incorporate it in your work as well? Also, I think the word “suffer” might be better replaced with “experience” in relation to having dyscalculia. In general, this is a very interesting topic and I would love to learn more about your progress with the thesis.

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  3. Dear Dinara, thank you for this great insight into your writing journey. It is very challenging indeed to find relevant and quality sources on most topics in the field of inclusive education in the context of Kazakhstan. I faced the same issue trying to find information about inclusive higher education. My suggestion is to create a general picture from the international experience to further prove or disprove it with the findings of future research. In order words, based on the experience of different countries you can create a hypothetical view on dyscalculia in Kazakhstan and see whether it is true with your study. As for the organization of ideas, I fully agree that following a general-to-specific pattern builds a logical and coherent narrative that allows researchers communicate ideas easily.

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  4. Dear Dinara,
    Thank you for such a descriptive post about your literature review progress. The way you organized the steps and explained the structure gives us a full picture of what you are going to do and where are you now. I am not an exception to say that a lack of literature review in Kazakhstani context has become an issue for all of us. I bet many people in Kazakhstan have no idea what dyslexia mean and its symptoms although we have it in practice in our country. That is why I am glad that you chose this particular topic and I am excited to read your study in future. According to the resources, I would suggest to contact Gulnar, a mentor teacher in one of NIS schools in Astana who made a research and wrote a thesis having a similar topic during her studies in England. I am sure she will be happy to share with her experience and help you to find more about dyslexia in Kazakhstan as her mother had dyslexia as well. If you are interested, email me. I will be glad to help and share her contacts.

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