In assessing each piece, consideration should be given to:
Provenance—What are the author's credentials? Are the author's arguments supported by evidence (e.g. primary historical material, case studies, narratives, statistics, recent scientific findings)?
Objectivity—Is the author's perspective even-handed or prejudicial? Is contrary data considered or is certain pertinent information ignored to prove the author's point?
Persuasiveness—Which of the author's theses are most/least convincing?
Value—Are the author's arguments and conclusions convincing? Does the work ultimately contribute in any significant way to an understanding of the subject?
Similar to primary research, development of the literature review requires four stages:
Problem formulation—which topic or field is being examined and what are its component issues?
Literature search—finding materials relevant to the subject being explored
Data evaluation—determining which literature makes a significant contribution to the understanding of the topic
Analysis and interpretation—discussing the findings and conclusions of pertinent literature