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Linguistics: Language and Power: Framing your Topic

Course guide for Professor Sue Hopewell

Initial Thoughts

  • What literature review topic are you considering? (more than one is okay!)

  • Based on what you know now, what do you think is the best scope for this topic? i.e. what's too broad, what's too narrow?

  • What have you struggled most with when looking for sources in the past?

  • Do you prefer reading and note-taking with print or electronic copies?

  • How do you currently save/organize articles (if you do)?

How can we structure complex topics into a definable scope? How do we develop strong keywords for comprehensive searching?

Keywords and Related Terms

Keywords: The topic of your literature review will generate keywords and related terms.

Research question Example: What is the impact of accent discrimination on code-switching behaviors among native Spanish speakers in K-12 schools?

  • K-12 AND Spanish speakers AND code-switching AND impact
  • Spanish speakers students AND code-switching OR  language alternation AND effect
  • K-12 AND  Spanish speakers AND language varieties OR multilingualism AND consequences
  • linguistics

 

Search Samples

  • linguicism AND theoretical approaches OR conceptual framework
  • K-12 public school* AND race AND US OR identity OR bilingual education OR accent discrimination 
  • xenophobia OR conversation OR performance OR law OR policy
  • multilingualism AND youth culture AND code-switching OR translanguaging
  • primary school* AND bilingual education AND domestic policies AND US
  • linguicism OR linguistic nationalism
  • minorities AND linguistic profiles
  • intersectionalities AND linguicism OR isms OR dominant narratives
  • identity formation AND power dynamics OR biases
Read more about keywords and related terms and their use in your research strategy on the University Libraries' libguide page on Strategies: Search Terms.

Keyword Grid

Keyword Grid with the research question example:

What is the impact of accent discrimination on code-switching behaviors among native Spanish speakers in K-12 schools?

Activity: Having your topic in mind, think of keywords and related terms that will help you with your search.

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