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The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Ojibwe-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the National Homeland of the Red River M├ętis. More

Knowledge Synthesis & Systematic Reviews

What is a Critical Review?

A critical review describes an author’s hypothesis or conceptual model based on key literature in their field of study. This type of review goes beyond providing a detailed description or summary of the literature. When conducting a critical review, the reviewer identifies the most significant research in the field and evaluates that literature based on its contribution to the field rather than a formal quality assessment. Since these reviews rely on cornerstone studies in the field to make an arguement, the reviewer must be very familiar with the field of study.

Critical reviews usually take a narrative or conceptual approach.  Like a narrative literature review, there are no prescriptive steps to follow in order to conduct a critical review.


Grant, M. & Booth, A. (2009). A typology of reviews: an analysis of 14 review types and associated methodologies. Health Information and Libraries Journal, 26(2), 91-108. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-1842.2009.00848.x