A Critical Literature Review: What It Is

A Critical Literature Review: What It Is

Making a critical review of the literature on various subjects is a common assignment, especially for college students. Sometimes, you may deal with a critical literature review as a separate task, which is called an annotated bibliography. Yet, as a rule, students have to make critical reviews of the literature as a part of their theses, research reports, etc.

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You know, for many students, writing a critical literature review is a daunting and tricky assignment. But, if you know the main rules and have enough time for preparing it, your critical literature review will not cause too many problems.

We have listed several essential points one should keep in mind when working on a critical literature review.

A critical literature review: what it is not

Remember one simple thing: a mere list of sources studied as well as mere summaries of some materials ARE NOT a critical literature review.

What is a critical literature review?

It is better to explain your major task. So, your main mission boils down to critical evaluation of works published by other scholars on the topic you are investigating. Your mission also includes conveying already existing knowledge on a certain topic, defining its strong and weak points, and presenting areas for further investigation.

Things you should do when writing a critical literature review

There are 4 things you have to do:

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  1. Organize your review so that it directly relates to your thesis statement or the main research question you intend to answer.
  2. Arrange results in the form of a summary that explains what is known and what is not known about your problem.
  3. Present controversial points found in the works of other scholars;
  4. Define areas that require further investigation.

On our blog, you may also find useful info about sample literature review papers.