What does critically evaluating mean?

What does critically evaluating the literature mean?

  • Asking the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’, not the ‘whats’
  • This means being analytical, not just descriptive. You need to:
    • Consider how valid and reliable the research is
    • What are its strengths and weaknesses?
    • Consider how applicable to your research question the research is
    • Draw comparisons with other research findings
  • Ask the ‘why’ questions, like:
    • Why do the results differ from findings of other similar research?
    • What explanations have the authors suggested and are there alternatives?
    • Make links with practice and wider populations where appropriate

We have a checklist of questions to ask which will help you.

Creative Commons Licence
PILOT - Writing a critical review by Steve Draper, Glasgow University, Dr Jane McKay, GCU modified by Marion Kelt, Glasgow Caledonian University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Based on a work at http://www.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/resources/crs.html.