Final Project – Written Literature Review

As part of your assignment for this lesson, you will be required to submit the research question that you will be using for the proposal. In order to do that, you need to spend some time coming up with a research idea.

By this time, you should have a broad understanding of the study of linguistics, and you should be able to apply linguistic theory to real-world situations. Your Final Project is to present a proposal for a hypothetic linguistics research project. The project will be divided into two parts: a written literature review and a narrated PowerPoint. The written component will present a review of the literature that pertains to your topic and a list of the references you used. The narrated PowerPoint should describe what you would do for your hypothetical research project and what you hope to accomplish. Remember, you won’t be actually conducting the research. You are just proposing what type of research you would like to do.

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Picking a Topic:

Think about something that you would like to know about your language of interest. How could you design a study to gather data about your topic?

Don’t pick a topic that is too general (i.e. How was the Chinese writing system developed?, Where did the Spanish language come from?, Why do men speak differently from women?) These topics are very general and the answers are readily available. You need to think of more specific topics (How do Chinese speakers adapt to the influx of English words in their language, Is the Spanish of (insert specific country or city here) different from other varieties of Spanish. How do social factors (education, gender, economic status, etc.) affect the (phonology, phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics) of a specific place or group of speakers.

The Literature Review:

Now that you have an idea, you will need to summarize other academic research that has been published on your topic, and explain the relevance of that research to your topic. You can start with your textbook, but you must consult at least two additional academic sources. Then, summarize your findings in 250-350-word literature review. If you mention a source in your review, the complete citation needs to be included in the reference list. The reference list needs to include at least three sources (one of them being the textbook). You may include more if you choose. You may use either APA or MLA style.

As a warning, random web sites (Wikipedia,, or any other generalist site) are not academic and you will lose points for using them. Magazine and newspaper articles are also NOT academic and may not be used. You need to use professional linguistic resources that you can find in the Rio Salado Online Library.

Here is a guide to finding sources for your literature review:

What information can you find in the textbook that relates to your topic? Include definitions and/or explanations of linguistic terms that you included in the first paragraph.
Consult at least two academic sources in addition to your textbook and write about what you found. The Rio Salado Online Library is the best source for authoritative, validated research articles on your topic. Please follow the guidelines below to find the academic sources for your essay:
Go to the Rio Salado Library homepage.
The default tab is Articles. Click Search.
From the alphabetical list of databases, select Academic Search Premier (EBSCO).
Before getting started with your search, check the Full Text box in the Limit your results field. This will ensure that all of the articles that appear in your results list contain the full article rather than just a summary of the article. You should also check the Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) Journals option, which will limit your results to those articles which contain original research.
Enter your search term(s).
(TIP: You can enter a broad search term like “comparative linguistics,” but this will generate A LOT of results. A better strategy is to narrow your search by adding one or more additional keywords separated by the word AND, for example, “comparative linguistics AND Spanish.” The more specific you are about telling the database what you want, the more relevant your results will be. A search like “language acquisition AND brain development AND bilingual children” will return very specific results.)

Once you have found an article you are interested in, click on it. You will see options to download, print, and email the article. Also note the citation tool, which will generate the citation in both MLA and APA format. *Always check citations generated with these tools against examples in the most recent MLA or APA style guides, as they are not always 100% accurate.
In many cases, research articles are only available in PDF format (a scanned version of the original document, which maintains the images, charts and graphs, and other important visual elements). In these cases, you will have to click on PDF Full Text to read the entire article.
There are other databases that you may wish to explore for this assignment, such as Academic OneFile and JSTOR, both of which contain scholarly articles from a broad range of academic disciplines.
It is extremely critical that you cite your sources when appropriate. You are required to submit a works cited slide at the end of your presentation in either APA or MLA format
Did you find a lot of research articles on your topic? Did you encounter any research similar to what you are proposing?

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