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Communication abilities in people with aphasia, traumatic brain injury, and dementia

Critical reading of research literature

“People with aphasia typically communicate better than they talk, while people with traumatic brain injury and dementia typically talk better than they communicate”. Discuss this statement with reference to relevant literature.

• Critical reading of research literature.

• Correct referencing of literature.

• Clear expression of your ideas.

• Logical organisation of your essay.

Start with an introductory paragraph. Often such a paragraph is used to define key terms and to outline the structure of the essay. As this practice essay is a  short essay on a big topic it is not possible to cover everything. You can use the Introduction to delimit what you will and will not be writing about in the essay. By mentioning briefly the issues that you won’t be covering, it shows that at least you are aware of those issues. In this case, you need to give brief reasons why you have decided to focus on some issues rather than others.

In the main body of the essay you will be reporting research from chapters or articles that you have read. Arrange the presentation in a logical order so that one section or paragraph is linked to the next. If you cannot come up with a good linking sentence, it probably means that you have not got the order of presentation quite right yet. Try reorganising the material. Remember, you are telling a story to the reader.

When reporting on research you have read, you have to balance the need to give sufficent detail for the reader to understand the study that you report, against the need to include sufficient studies to tell your story. This only comes with experience and practice. Sometimes there are one or two papers that are really important to your argument  and they need to be described in more detail.

It is important to develop a critical perspective on the research you read and report. This is particularly so when you come across papers that appear to contradict each other in some way. How can this happen?

• Were the people studied different in terms of Age? Language background? Number of participants? Typical vs atypical?

• Did the researchers collect data in the same way? Did they use tests? If so, are the tests used comparable? Did they use naturalistic observation?

• Did they analyse results in the same way? Statistics? If so, what stats were used? Qualitative analysis?

• Conclusions: do their conclusions really follow from their results?

End your essay with a conclusion section or paragraph. Here you should weigh up the evidence that you have presented in the main part of the essay and present a response to the question in the title. You can also indicate where there may be a need for more research; and/or what are the implications of your conclusions for theory or for practice (e.g for education,  speech and language therapy).

As this is a practice essay, you are (unlike with real essays which count towards your overall mark) allowed - indeed encouraged - to exchange your essays with each other, and to give each other feedback before submission.

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