Contextualise and justifies aims and objectives Reviewing extant literature has three useful functions within the research process.
Thirdly, it also helps position the contribution of the study within the wider body of knowledge.
In addition, it is also important to identify potentially appropriate methodologies referenced within extant literature that informs and supports the adopted methodological framework of the proposed study.
In addition, it also needs to provide a critique of conventional as well as dominant discourses of knowledge while remaining critical of the potential objectivity of the researcher’s own arguments (Mingers 2000).
Saunders and Rojon (2011) defines being critical as a “” and identifies several key attributes of a critical literature review.
Its arguments need to be clear, logical and cohesive.
A critical approach to review literature needs to develop the researcher’s own appraisal and judgement of extant literature using appropriate language.Secondly, a comprehensive literature reviews allows positioning of the research in terms of the context and theoretical frameworks.This allows researchers to contextualise and justify their research.Identifies and evaluates the most relevant research (and experts) relevant to the topic It is impossible to review every single piece of literature in the relevant topic.A critical literature review does not aim to provide a summary of everything that has been written on a topic.Comprehensive references and acknowledgements Critical literature review needs to of course acknowledge the most important and relevant theories, frameworks and experts within the field.It is important to acknowledge seminal work that has inspired new thinking and identify the key current literature that has contributed to development of knowledge. It is also imperative to distinguish facts that have emerged in previous research from the opinions of the authors (Saunders and Rojon 2011).Therefore, a critical literature review is a cohesive review of relevant literature that is organised into a logical funnel-like structure.On the contrary, a critical literature review needs “to combine the academic theories and ideas thematically to form the critical review” (Saunders and Rojon 2011).In so doing, a well-written critical literature review is capable of identifying clear gaps in knowledge that has not been explored in previous literature.