The Literature Review lays the foundation for your final research paper. In order to present your research effectively, you must have a decent idea of what researchers before you have said. Most academic research takes the form of trying to prove a pointeither supporting a hypothesis through research, or analyzing other peoples research to support a thesis. Generally when academic writers try to prove a point, its because the question theyre writing about hasnt been settled yet, and chances are somebody out there disagrees with them. So a lot of your scholarly sources will, in fact, be part of a larger debate, even if that is not obvious from the way theyre written.
Your final research paper will do the same thing. It will be a persuasive essay in which you use your research to prove a point. In other words, you will be jumping into the debate yourself. Not everyone will agree with yousome will be undecided, and others will actively disagree. You will be trying to persuade the undecided and maybe even those who disagree. Your answer to the question everyone is debating will be the thesis of your next paper.
Your job now is to find a key question that people are debating about, so you can decide your own opinion on the subject and how you want to defend that opinion. Its like youre walking into a room where theres a heated conversation going on. Before you can join in, you need to understand what everyone is arguing about. This paper is about describing where the argument was at the moment you walked in the door, to prepare for making your point.
I require critiques not just to make you do some extra work, but because they are a crucial aspect of proving your own point. As Ive said, your research paper will be taking sides in a debate. You will find some sources more convincing than others. The critiques should explain why that is. This will help your reader, and you, understand why you take the position that youll be arguing for in the research paper.