How to Write a Critical Literature Review?

What are the Differences Between Basic and Critical Literature Reviews?

Literature review is simply a way to summarise the objectives, methods, and findings of previously published articles relevant to the topic under consideration. It is organised to appraise the previously constructed models and theories that can be considered to solve current scientific problems. Another objective of writing a literature review is to highlight the knowledge already published on a problem or an issue (Harmey and Wilkinson, 2019). In other words, literature review is the process of evaluation or collection of available data in the field of study. There are four main reasons for data analysis through literature review given as follows;

  • To review information in an area of study (survey).
  • To enter information in this content (Synthesis).
  • To examine literature for;
  • Identifying gaps in existing knowledge,
  • Explaining the boundaries of ideas and perspectives,
  • And creating areas for further research and analysis of areas of conflict (Critical analysis).
  • To present the text in a unique way (research presentation).

Write a CriticalWhereas Critical literature review is a specialised form in which the author summarizes and evaluates the findings of other authors but in the form of a Critique. It is the art of combining the author’s previous knowledge about a subject and the information gathered from the related texts. These are available through different websites and journals (Schryen et al., 2017). CEO of assignment writing services office says, a critical review involves careful or clear thinking and taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of the material being analysed. While writing a critical literature review, two skills are required including the seeking of information regarding a particular domain and effective reviewing skills (the art of seeking both bright and dark sides of a point). Being critical while writing a literature review is important because it helps authors identify the research gap within previous studies. Critical literature review not only directly states the other researcher’s findings, but also reflects the strengths and weaknesses of previous work. The chapter involving critical literature review aims to direct the author on how to manage identified weaknesses and strengths in the current study.

The best tip for obtaining data relevant to a specific study is to focus on the data screening or scanning technique. Scanning the literature efficiently to become well-informed on the subject helps an author gather up-to-date information to organise the literature review in a better way. The most important skill to construct such a literature review is to become critical. To become critical means the author must have capabilities to question the information in the text, and present it in the form of his evaluation. In other words, the judgment of the author based on previously cited literature is essential to construct a meaningful critical review. Assessment or evaluation requires a good understanding of the audience (simple thought), purpose, and understanding of the text. The paper is viewed in several different ways (from relevant sources), and evaluated based on the concepts, ideas, and processes required to perform the task (Shah et al., 2018). This scale examines the meaning and content of texts so that they can access key points and then understand how they interact, relate and influence each other.

The purpose of a critical literature review is to gather coherent present and past research in a particular field of study. The cheap dissertation help company different steps help authors to achieve this aim as highlighted below;

Step 1: What is the main perspective of the study included and already published?

Step 2: Identification of independent and dependent variables within the research questions.

Step 3: Review literature to evaluate the findings of other authors in selected field of study.

Step 4: Identification of key concepts in the previous study.

Step 5: Identification of different approaches used by other researchers to solve similar issues.

Step 6: Identification of aspects regarding the already published study that are well suited to the current one.

Apart from all these points, for being critical, the author must be able to identify the key areas of debate in the chosen study which include the following;

  • Which discussion is supportive?
  • Which approach is useful?
  • Why do you prefer one theory over the others?
  • Which research is a subject of criticism, challenge, or exploration?
  • Which study should be extended?
  • Why is the existing knowledge thin?

In the end, the author should evaluate the literature gaps. The author can get help in identifying the literature gap by considering seven types of gaps including evidence, population, theoretical, empirical, methodological, knowledge, and practical knowledge gap. This literature gap identification step prioritises current study over the previous ones.

Structure of a Critical Literature ReviewWrite a Critical 2

The structure of a critical literature review is quite similar to the structure of a simple literature review. Both types of literature reviews have mainly three parts which include Introduction of the problem under study, the main body containing data from secondary sources, and the conclusion. Apart from this, the main body of a critical literature review should discuss and evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, and main features of the text. The review should be based on specific values and include other sources of support (and references) (Garrard, 2020). It should be noted that the conclusion section of the literature review is not the summary of the whole chapter. Instead, it states the findings gained after evaluations and literature analysis. However, the review ends with an appraisal of the general idea of the text. There may be additional recommendations and explanations to show that the evaluation is fair and just.

While writing any kind of literature review, the writer should keep in mind that presenting ideas not directly related to current work will distract the reader. It will also make them lose their interest. After completing the literature review, it should be ensured that the draft is free from errors and in case of any, the whole draft should be corrected by the writer. An expert with an understanding of academic writing and specialised information used in academic journals will ensure that your essays are prepared for publication in a journal. In short, it can be concluded that critical literature reviewing is a task of stating other findings in the form of discussion by the writers. A critical literature review does not only describe who did this task before and how others perform a similar task, but also highlights the strengths and weaknesses of each method previously used. This conceptual understanding of critical literature review will surely be very helpful for writers who want to perform similar tasks.





Garrard, J., 2020. Health sciences literature review made easy. Schryen, G., Benlian, A., Rowe, F., Shirley, G., Larsen, K., Petter, S., Wagner, G., Haag, S. and Yasasin, E., 2017. Literature reviews in IS research: what can be learnt from the past and other fields?. Communications of the AIS.

Shah, S.R., Ahmed, F. and Khan, R., 2018. Writing a Critical Review of Literature: A Practical Guide for English Graduate Students. Global Language Review3(1), pp.136-153.

Harmey, S. and Wilkinson, I., 2019. A critical review of the logics of inquiry in studies of early writing development. Journal of Writing Research11(1), pp.299-336.