Determining Literature Review Structure

Mood: chillin chilling
Now Playing: Ishq Hua Kaise Hua (Ishq)

I’ve been looking at my literature review – and I just don’t feel the structure is right. I am redrafting it – but still trying to figure out how’s the best way of presenting the work because I got so many ideas and topics I’m discussing but don’t know whether they fit in or I’m just blabbing about them because I should.

Let me list what I need to talk about:

  • Conceptual, procedural and declarative knowledge
  • Self-explanations
  • Bandura’s social cognitive theory – in particular to do with self-efficacy
  • Deep and surface approach
  • Linkages between learning, attitudes and deep/surface approach

Now additionally I have talked about previously in my literature:

  • Vygotsky’s instrumental method with respect to psychological tools
  • Internalization
  • Distributed cognition
  • Instrumental Genesis
  • A passing mention of activity theory
  • Linking working memory with internalization
  • Linking internalization to self-explanations

Now, I’ve been trying to determine whether I should even mention Vygotsky and all the other theories that came out from it (instrumental genesis, distributed cognition, and activity theory) – although initially I was mentioning it because when people learn with tools they often talk about one of these theories … although Mayer and Renkl’s work uses tools in the multimedia theories … they don’t usually rely on this but go straight into cognitive load theory. I don’t know what to do … I know my department likes Vygotsky (or a passing mention of him), so wanted to say something about that … but I am not analysing my work in a Vygotskian framework at all. I think my intention was to show that whilst I’m using an individual approach to analysis it could still be linked to Vygotsky’s work. So, what’s my structure? Still uncertain.

I think I’ve got to tell my reader that I’m approaching the thesis from an individual learning perspective – there is a paper on Bandura’s, Vygotsky’s and Piaget’s theories written by Tudge and Winterhoff, which indicates that all theories are linked – and that whilst Bandura and Piaget works with the individual as the unit of analysis and Vygotsky’s at a more social level of collaboration etc, it does not mean that they’re not inter-related.

So, let’s see how the structure should be. I should start with my introduction (always a good place :D) – ok what should my introduction say – I mean what I’m trying to do in this chapter – I should talk about that conceptual/procedural knowledge was introduced in the previous chapter which showed that self-explanations aided in helping the conceptual/procedural knowledge. Right, got that bit. Next up, the research focuses on the individual cognition and draws from cognitive psychology such as self-explanation and Bandura’s social-cognitive theory in particular work to deal with self-efficacy. Further, that self-efficacy is linked to high academic performance and that it may be linked to a deep/ surface approach to learning.

Ok here is where it gets complicated!. Most work with tools and learning (activity theory, distributed cognition and instrumental genesis) have developed via Vygotsky’s instrumental method, where the focus have been on the physical tool – however, this thesis would show to some extent that the cognitive tool such as self-explanations can join to Vygotsky’s instrumental method and it is a theory that can be linked to the same body of literature, thus, this work is not in isolation but indicates why the cognitive tool tack is taking instead. 

Now, should I put the Vygotsky bit first or last? That’s what has been bothering me – I mean I should end on a high not a low … so, thinking should talk about this bit first – probably could call it a “Different take on Vygotsky” and then move on to the bits that I want. Perhaps, in the introduction we should talk first that learning with tools have often derived from the Vygotskian framework and using several tools, however, this thesis takes the look of the individual and first indicates that this is not very different from putting the individual first. Then, we would move onto about the individual’s cognitive stuff such as conceptual/ procedural etc – but I need to discuss conceptual and procedural knowledge in depth before I moved onto Vygotsky … hmm, I could probably say before I can show the link, it is necessary to discuss conceptual and procedural knowledge in depth as it is through this that the links are being made. Sounds good – let’s go with that 🙂 .


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