Literature Review Writing

Historical Background

The learner autonomy was initially defined by Henri Holec in 1980s as the capacity to assume responsibility of one’s self learning. Since then a growing interest regarding learner autonomy has been experienced in language training and studying over the past 25 years and a lot more has been published in this area in an attempt to establish a clear understanding both practice and theory of learner autonomy. In addition, learner autonomy for long has been regarded as an important constituent for generating effectual language learning. Learner autonomy has evolved consequently from a specialist interest area into conventional language learning via its function of increasing learner competency as effective communicators. Language learning is regarded as a social activity necessitating interaction with others and this has progressively more resulted to autonomy being re-characterized in terms of interdependence. The essentiality of this concept has been continuously reinforced by its definition as a significant aspect, not simply of autonomy, but in addition broadly in the advancement of communicative skills (Little, 1997).

Question 1

There is no general layout for a dissertation. Most institutions provide comprehensive guiding principles in their dissertation manuals. Usually, though, the details are left to the prudence of the Dissertation committee. A majority of dissertations are normally structured into five to six chapters; nevertheless there are numerous variants on these models. The dissertation proposal generally comprises of the initial three chapters (in a five-chapter layout) or the initial two chapters (in a four chapter layout (Randolph, 2011).

Literature review is usually found in the second chapter of the dissertation. A literature is an explanation of what has been written on an issue by accredited researchers and scholars and aims to create a theoretical foundation within which the researcher is founded. In literature review writing, the goal is normally to convey to the reader the knowledge and ideas that are written about the topic, and in addition, their strengths and weaknesses. As a writing part, the literature review ought to be guided by a guiding concept. Depending on the literature review scope, it might require to be divided into a few sections. Ideally, keeping up with the literature within the course of the research is prudent, and if notes concerning essential papers have been made then this simplifies the task.

Basically, at the initial point, themes chosen must be extremely fluid and flexible to change. The process of reading articles and attempting to fit information into the themes will assist create the awareness whether the themes need to change. There exist huge pieces of information in an article and which is does not fit into the available themes. This makes it mandatory to create fresh themes or changing the theme structure slightly to hold new information.  The rationale is to find as much useful information as possible (Randolph, 2011)

The literature review consists of approximately a third of the whole dissertation. There are thirty-five to forty pages of the literature review in the dissertation.  The numbers of probable pages of a literature review are thirty to forty.

Question 2

Extract one

It is extremely difficult to precisely define learner autonomy since there exists a number of dissimilar interpretations of the phrase. The deficiency of coherency could reduce the relevance of learner autonomy, particularly from the teacher’s viewpoint, thus, making it hard to implement and functionalize in the classroom. However, the common objective for teachers and researchers is to critically evaluate the dissimilar views of learner autonomy, analyze their strong and weak areas founded on the present teaching and learning techniques.

The multiple definitions create a confusion of what really is meant by learner autonomy. This indicates that there is no specific approach to learner autonomy. Rather, it should be defined according to the prevailing conditions surrounding the learner. The fact that the teacher input is unavailable indicates a deficiency in the definitions. Any researcher ought to be concerned of the existence of multiple definitions. This shows that there still exists room for more research to be carried out concerning the learner autonomy. Researchers should devote their research in trying to locate the precise definition and its functionality in class environments (Sinclair, McGrath, & Lamb, 2000).

It is clear that learner autonomy is abroad subject. The research carried out overtime has provided essential details about the learner autonomy but to my view the existence of multiple definitions indicates incoherency. Additionally, it means no researcher really understands the concept of learner autonomy. More research should therefore be encouraged. Collaboration of researchers in tackling the issue should be highly considered.

The author indicates a general consensus in the readings that autonomous learners are the ones who understand the goals of their learning programme, acknowledge accountability for their learning, adopt appropriate learning plans, plan opportunities and consistently review and examine their progress. The author further states that the multiple definitions offer the reader a holistic view of the learner. Whereby the learner is seen as a decision maker and is linked to the studying process. The articles evaluate the learner’s political aspect, the learner owns the freedom to control and make choices regarding their learning. The articles additionally analyze the philosophical aspect of the learner, whereby, choice and autonomy in learning are perceived vital in training learners in a speedily transforming society. However, the author observes that the definitions are insufficient since they disregard the teacher’s role and classroom aspect of learner autonomy.

The author argues that extent to which learners can be considered autonomous and be accountable of their learning relies on the relations with the teachers. Learner autonomy is a mutually dependent association where the learning subject in a situation of a second language is positioned between the teacher and learner. Thus, the teacher assists the learners develop the capacity to make choices. The author states that this should be the true meaning of autonomy. Learner autonomy is a self-developed art through social interaction, dialogue and cooperation (Scharle & Szabó, 2000). Therefore, learner autonomy concerns identifying own options by the learner and interacting with every resource available. The author argues that it is vital that the teacher is involved in identifying the definition of learner autonomy and locating classroom approaches (Scharle & Szabó, 2000).

Extract two

The author observes that teachers referred to learner autonomy as studying independently, own evaluation, cooperating, and assuming responsibility. Teachers were positive that the learners showed autonomous tendencies. He also observes that the first case contains weaknesses since no qualitative data was used to clarify the questionnaires results.   Furthermore, the researcher acknowledged this fact and stated that the findings required greater exploration and clarity.

In the second study, there existed a huge figure of incomplete responses and the author states it raises questions concerning piloting processes and findings validity. Nevertheless, he observes that this case shows some positive results. Firstly, it indicates the conflict to learner autonomy initiatives results to circumstances past teacher control. The author concludes that there is need to examine teacher viewpoints of autonomy and then provide a professional development seminar on learner autonomy (Scharle & Szabó, 2000).

In the third study, the author notices that teachers felt primarily accountable for the methodological judgment within the class. Respondents showed clear knowledge of autonomy as a subject of teaching and manifested fairly optimistic about learners’ resolution making capacities in aspects of language studying process. However, the teachers felt constrained of in decision-making aspects for students.

The author is seen to attempting to fill up the gap into the three cases. Firstly, his questionnaire relates to that of the third study and he is seeking to rectify the weaknesses of the study by providing the lacking quality of qualitative data. In addition the author manifests the weaknesses of the three cases; these are weaknesses that were previously overlooked. The author also offers solutions to the various faults in the cases (Sinclair, McGrath, & Lamb, 2000).

The first extract provides varying definitions of learner autonomy. This extract shows the variability of the authors understanding of the concept. Here, authors are seen to give different definitions, however, they also agree in some particular issues such as autonomous learners, features. The teachers input are conspicuously missing. In the second extract the teachers input is highly considered through the various case studies. The case studies give actual data researched in existing areas concerning learner autonomy. The teachers’ response is considered in the findings of this extract.

Question 3

Key words


Learner autonomy

English language

Student roles


Teachers’ perspectives

School professional practice

Aytunga OĞUZa   Terry Eric Ekev Akademi Concha Furnborough
Learner autonomy           The objective of the study is to create a scale to determine how essential the teachers view the learner autonomy support conduct and how frequently the conduct is performed (Aytunga, 2012).     Inspiration and learner autonomy in language studying to explore their associations to the construct of identity. Learners should be able to create good studying situations and working methods, develop self choices, debate on their efforts to study language and best possible conditions (Eric, 2011). . Methodological innovations in teaching foreign language over the previous decade particularly in communicative training and student- centered approaches. Learners should the ones in charge of learning. Motivation can only be created if learners can study on their own as well cooperate with teachers and peers.  (Akademi, 2010).   Learner autonomy increasingly being associated with social interaction rather than mainly with individuality and independence  (Furnborough, 2011)
Learners responsibility The designation of student-based, constructive studying environments enables learners to learn meaningfully grounded on the prevailing knowledge and via their self efforts. The young learners originally reveal a clear identity as students are accountable for and have ability to regulate their self learning endeavors. As the student has turn out to be the center of the foreign verbal communication training, the autonomy is attributed to the student. Learners are accountable for their own learning. The interdependence aspect within the learner autonomy is attributed traditionally with class-oriented learning, where advances to teamwork and collaboration have been developed in the autonomy context.
Teachers’ responsibility   Teachers need to accept learner autonomy and support students in this aspect. Teachers should create learning environment that permits learners to make autonomous decisions and become creative. School teachers require ensuring that learning environment they develop engages, cultivate and protect their students’ identity as students via sustained opportunities for autonomy. Student identity is viewed as fragile when teacher control rises in response the outside examination pressures. Teachers may create self language courses as the students act autonomously, but it never means that after setting up appropriate activities the students shall be autonomous. Teachers may assist and show learners the ways to assume control over their learning process The teacher is undoubtedly an essential resource that learners in control of their self learning could be expected to utilize and indeed the probability of the capacity to contact their teacher as a source of reassurance. Thus, the teachers should be avail their presence to assist the students attain autonomy and independence.

The synthesis matrix permits a researcher to sort and categorize the dissimilar arguments presented on the issue at hand. By systematically combining information in each row the paper clearly shows the topic at hand.

It is particularly hard to categorize the information in a manner that makes the writing process simpler. Identifying and categorizing similar themes from varying sources may be challenging in the synthesis matrix.

I would make use of the synthesis matrix since it clearly compares different sources and precisely brings out the similar topics of study. Secondly, analyzing information using the synthesis matrix is very easy and understandable by the reader. It is easy to compare and contrast the various sources of information and draw conclusions

LRM can assist in finding themes to a study since it categorizes similar sources of information making it easy to take notes and identify relevance to the topic of study. This enables the researcher to locate themes of the respective study. 


LRM can assist find themes to a study since it categorizes similar sources of information making it easy to take notes and identify relevance to the topic of study. This enables the researcher to locate themes of the respective study. 


Akademi, E. (2010). Misconceptions On Learner Autonomy: A Methodological And Conceptual Renewal. Retrieved May 29, from

Aytunga, O. (2012). Developing a Scale for Learner Autonomy Support. Retrieved May 29, from

Eric, T. (2011). Fragile Identities: Exploring Learner Identity, Learner Autonomy and Motivation through Young Learners’ Voices. Retrieved May 29, from

Furnborough, C. (2011). Making the most of others: autonomous interdependence in adult beginner dis…: Find articles, e-books in one search. Retrieved May 31, from

Little, D. (1997). Language awareness and the autonomous language learner. Language Awareness. doi:10.1080/09658416.1997.9959920

Randolph, J. J. (0). A Guide to Writing the Dissertation Literature Review.Eric, T. (2011).

Scharle, A., & Szabó, A. (2000). Learner autonomy: A guide to developing learner responsibility. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sinclair, B., McGrath, I., & Lamb, T. (2000). Learner autonomy, teacher autonomy: Future directions. Harlow: Longman.

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