Critical Literature Review

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Contextualise and justifies aims and objectives Reviewing extant literature has three useful functions within the research process.

Firstly, it informs research aim and allows framing research objectives, especially during the initial stages of the research.

Adopts a structure that creates a thematic funnel The structure of presentation and the logical relationships between topic discussions are both important aspects of a critical literature review.

It is useful to view the literature review as a “thematic funnel” that begins with a thematic overview of the key themes and ideas before narrowing down to more specific theories and frameworks relating to the specific focus of the study.

Identifies and evaluates the most relevant research (and experts) relevant to the topic It is impossible to review every single piece of literature in the relevant topic.

A critical literature review does not aim to provide a summary of everything that has been written on a topic.

Its arguments need to be clear, logical and cohesive.

A critical approach to review literature needs to develop the researcher’s own appraisal and judgement of extant literature using appropriate language.

By analysing the different variables used in previous studies, a general conceptual framework is provided for the study of RQ.

The characteristics of RQ research that were identified from the review indicate that future research should focus on service and retail settings; validate existing conceptual frameworks across countries and contexts; do more seller and dyad studies; use more qualitative approaches to capture the subtle differences between contexts; analyse RQ in different relationship development stages, and look at new types of relationships between parties that may not be individuals or businesses or may not assume the traditional roles of buyer and seller.


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