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Literature Review, critical or balanced

Critical and Balanced Literature Review

Asif Arif (Updated: 09.02.2017)






In a research process, the importance of the literature review is significant for multiple reasons such as, developing theoretical framework and exploring available relevant knowledge on choosing a topic. While conducting a literature review, it is stated that it should be critical and balanced. So, there are two important questions to answer.

  • Why it is important for a research investigation to be critical while reviewing literature?
  • Why the literature review should be balanced enough?

1. Critical Literature Review:

This question is related to research methodology, which highlights the importance of critical approach while reviewing or discussing any theory or analytical work. Sometimes, the research makes positive literature review, based upon positivity, in which all arguments by scholars has been accepted without any scientific proofs. So, there is a need for critical analysis. In fact, while doing the research investigation, critical approach is necessary, as it provides a number of benefits to researchers.

Critical investigation helps to verify the facts with scientific method.

Critical investigation helps to check the validity of data and arguments.

When critical approach is used, it removes the elements of biasedness from research.

Critical investigation helps to unhide the hidden facts or misleading facts.

When using critical analysis, many new ways of exploration or improvement ideas come into form regarding a particular topic.

Critical reviewing increases the worth of data as arguments has been scientifically checked and analyzed from peer groups.

The above justification proves that a critical review of literature provides several benefits, which are beneficial for the quality of research as well. So, these findings implicate to researchers to make their literature research enough critical.

2. Balanced Literature Review:

Sometimes, when a researcher performs critical literature research, then the extent of criticality becomes very high, even beyond the requirement. So, the experts recommend that the literature review should be balanced as well. The balanced approach means, completing the work, with both critical approach and positive approach, we can say, in between the both. By using balanced approach, the researcher must discuss the strengths (Arguments) presented by authors, in favor of presenting theory and also discuss the peer review (Critique) by other scholars.

When a balanced research is made, and peer review has been conducted, then balanced approach provides two major benefits. First, it provides surety that arguments are verified by other scholars. Second, the respect of first authors does not damage. For example, being overcritical in research may lead to ignore or neglect the all arguments with one stick (Stereo Typing Evaluation) and the researcher does not accept the true things or arguments.

In this way, the researchers can make their literature complete and as per requirement, which also include the elements of positivity and criticism. This will show the accuracy and worth of literature based upon scientific facts and arguments. So, for crystal clear research, the balanced approach must be used, which provides a true picture of literature and facts presented made by other scholars.


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