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The Critical Literature Review Q: What is a literature review? Stated most simply, it is an overview of published and unpublished materials which help answer two fundamental questions: 1. What are the current theoretical or policy issues and debates related to your topic? 2. What is the current state of knowledge about these issues and problems? Q: Why do a review of the literature? 1. As a way to frame and focus a research project  When research questions are formed without sustained reference to the literature, the study is likely to be marred by 1. Naïve research instruments that lack conceptual underpinnings 2. Problems with sense-making because the researcher is not alert to themes that may be identifiable 3. Problems with claims-making because the researcher lacks the knowledge to state its significance for theory, policy or practice.  Knowledge of the literature can help: 1. Tighten research questions 2. Enhance conceptual sensitivity 3. Provide a source for making comparisons...