A critical literature review within a specific field or interest of research
is one of the most essential, but also complex activities in the process
of research. In order to proceed a more productive literature review,
it is recommendable for reviewers to design a frame that consists of their
research questions or purpose of the review. Thus, the internalized
frame of research questions needs to be kept through the whole process
of selecting resources, reading and writing about previous research studies
This site will provide useful information and Web links on methodology
and tools for critical literature review in academic research.
Search for Resources
Online catalog/ Article databases/ Internet search tools:
A. UIUC Search Databases
B. General Search Databases
Database search: specifically assists a search for educational resources
in journal articles and Eric digests.
access to Eric documents: ERIC documents (ED's) starting with ED348467
are available in electronic full-text to UIUC patrons.
WWW Virtual Library: provides online resources or databases by a hierarchical
listing of subject areas.
Virtual Library: a WWW virtual library in education. displays
online information listed by alphabetic order, education level, resources
provided, type of site, and country.
provides online resource for education and technologies classfied by theme,
type, audience, level, domain keyword. This site is maintained by
TECFA at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.
combines your favorite search engine to get more online resources.
Index to the Internet: to search resources by subjects, categories,
and best search tools. It also provides an advanced search tool.
2) Search Tutorials:
Instructional Services for Students: various forms of library research
& Internet tutorials for students are available, such as workshops,
quick tips, one-on-one help, and online tutorials.
to find articles: step-by-step instruction in order to search appropriate
articles for research. This explains that you need to start with
identifying and choosing important concepts in your topic, subject area,
and the appropriate article database or index.
searching: a tutorial on search strategy and syntax (maintained by
to Choose a Search Engine or Directory: by University at Albany Libraries.
Internet Public Library's guide of Web Searching: gives a list of the
IPL's favorite general Internet search engines and catalogs for searching
information on the Web, including tips and examples of using those search
Engines Quick Guide: gives information on the database, operators,
and strengths of six major search engines.
Search Tools Chart: links to Internet subject directories, search engines
and meta-search engines. It also includes information on the database,
boolean and other search options of those search tools.
Critical Review of Literature
1) Criteria for Quality Literature Review:
Review of Educational Research: The Review of Educational Research
(RER), a forum for reviews of previously published work in a field that
is populated by scholars from diverse traditions, defines types of literature
review, and its standards and criteria for review articles.
and Analysis Criteria: FINE Link defines conceptual and analysis criteria
for research in order to assist educators in identifying quality educational
research (both qualitative and quantitative research) articles.
to Critically Analyze Information Sources: Cornell University Library
explains basic criteria for inital appraisal and content analysis of information
2) Evaluation of Web Resources:
Rereading/Rewriting Process: Theory and Collaborative, On-line Pedagogy:
chapter in Reading from a Writer's Perspective, Marguerite Helmers,
editor. This describes basic components of first reading, rereading,
and critical writing. Collaborative work in critical rereading and
writing was more valued as a pedagogical and practical model.
Critical Review of the Literature: (Graduate Research College, Southern
Cross University). Compiled by Darrel N. Caulley of La Trobe University.
As the most important task of critical literature review, this site suggests
reviewers with an analytical comparison of major concepts of the literature
in relation to their intention or purpose of the review. It also
provides a short example of literature review.
and Writing: using the literature: (Asian Institute of Technology).
By defining various forms of literature and questions that a critical literature
review should answer, Jon Shaw explains that literature review should not
be a simple summary, but a more critical analysis of existing research.
He also mentions that reading and writing with a purpose is a key point
for a critical review of literature.
research: A Guide to Tapping Online Information: by Nora Paul.
Some parts of her book are introduced on this Web site: it features a greatly
expanded section of Internet-accessible information and practical tips
for using online resources in reporting. The paper book also gives
guidelines, directories, and checklists for making the most out of your
Concept Mapping Homepage: explains the definition, history, example,
and tools of concept mapping.
Introduction to Concept Mapping for Planning and Evaluation: by William
M.K. Trochim, Cornell University. It explains six steps of concept
mapping in order to develop a conceptual framework which can guide evaluation
Organization: by Center For Advancement Of Learning, Muskingum College.
It shows several organization methods and examples: flow charts, flash
cards, herringbone maps, spider maps or webs, timelines, matrices, hierarchies
or arrays, and outlines.
Organizers: Various types and examples of organizing information graphically.
Across the Curriculum Project: Critical Thinking Core Concepts: by
Longview Community College. It explains how to analyze arguments
and how to structure statements for good arguements.
4) Critical Thinking/ Collaboration/ Organization Tools:
Web log software. It helps you keep web logs by timeline for collaborative
work with others.
your pages: A short desciption of how to make bookmarks by using Netscape
and Internet Explorer.
to find or develop an online community in the same interest of research.
Ask an Expert: to check a web site which locates subject experts.
Concepts: Idea Processing is concerned with problems and solutions,
questions and answers, unknowns and facts. Thinking arises when you have
no solution or answer to a problem or question. You need not think if you
already know. The idea behind Axon is to provide an environment that supports
thinking. The design is based upon the cognitive sciences, which include
psychology, anthropology, linguistics, philosophy, computer science, and
the premier tool to develop ideas and organize thinking.
1) Citation styles:
and Writing: how to reference: Basic information on referencing.
This site explains what should or should not be referenced and how references
could be made without plagiarism.
Guide - APA: provides students with a basic introduction to APA citation
style for term papers. It is based on the Publication Manual of the
American Psychological Association, 4th edition.
style: Paper and Electronic: from the MLA Handbook for Writers. 5th
ed. New York: MLA, 1999 [REF LB 2369.G53 1999] This
book can also be purchsed from the MLA web site at http://www.mla.org
Columbia Guide to Online Style: The Columbia Guide to Online Style
by Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor (Columbia UP, 1998) presents a guide
to locating, translating, and using the elements of citation for both a
humanities style (i.e., MLA and Chicago) and a scientific style (APA and
CBE) for electronically-accessed sources.
brief citation guide for internet sources in history and the humanities:
offers suggestions for citations of Internet sources in history and the
humanities. This is derived from the essential principles of academic
citation in Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses,
and Dissertations, 5th ed.
2) Annotated bibliography:
3) Citation Tools:
Homepage: EndNote 4 for online-searching and creating bibliographies.
It also provides an interactive tutorial designed to familiarize users
with the primary features of EndNote 4 at The
EndNote 4 Interactive Tutorial
citations: installs as a database/writing tool for Word and WordPerfect
to streamline the process of researching an issue, organizing an argument,
and citing authorities.
citations with the form tool in Acrobat 4.0: shows the simple steps
that you might want to do if you were to add simple bibliographic information
to an article using the Forms tool in Acrobat 4.0.
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Updated: April 21, 2001