Writing A Critical Literature Review

The theoretical literature review helps to establish what theories already exist, the relationships between them, to what degree the existing theories have been investigated, and to develop new hypotheses to be tested. Should I provide subheadings and other background information, such as definitions and/or a history?

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Historical Review Few things rest in isolation from historical precedent.

Historical literature reviews focus on examining research throughout a period of time, often starting with the first time an issue, concept, theory, phenomena emerged in the literature, then tracing its evolution within the scholarship of a discipline.

The analytical features of a literature review might: It is important to think of knowledge in a given field as consisting of three layers.

First, there are the primary studies that researchers conduct and publish.

Argumentative Review This form examines literature selectively in order to support or refute an argument, deeply imbedded assumption, or philosophical problem already established in the literature.

The purpose is to develop a body of literature that establishes a contrarian viewpoint.The narrower your topic, the easier it will be to limit the number of sources you need to read in order to obtain a good survey of relevant resources.Your professor will probably not expect you to read everything that's available about the topic, but you'll make your job easier if you first limit scope of the research problem.The purpose is to place research in a historical context to show familiarity with state-of-the-art developments and to identify the likely directions for future research.Methodological Review A review does not always focus on what someone said [findings], but how they came about saying what they say [method of analysis].A well-done integrative review meets the same standards as primary research in regard to clarity, rigor, and replication.This is the most common form of review in the social sciences.Given the value-laden nature of some social science research [e.g., educational reform; immigration control], argumentative approaches to analyzing the literature can be a legitimate and important form of discourse.However, note that they can also introduce problems of bias when they are used to make summary claims of the sort found in systematic reviews [see below].Integrative Review Considered a form of research that reviews, critiques, and synthesizes representative literature on a topic in an integrated way such that new frameworks and perspectives on the topic are generated.The body of literature includes all studies that address related or identical hypotheses or research problems.

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