The study gives an overview of the evolution of the concepts and approaches to karst groundwater vulnerability, its connections to previous vulnerability evaluations and of the steps proposed for the assessment. The majority of the methods are based on prerequisites derived from the basic processes of shallow karst systems in the form of transferred parameters. A systematic survey of existing methods and their applications highlights the significance of scale, parameters, its intrinsic or specific and source or resource nature. Revealing the relationships between methods helps to understand their innovations, advantages, disadvantages and the data need. Based on the literature study, the critical examination of the physical reliability of the resulting vulnerability maps and the necessity of their validation is also highlighted. The paper considers the possible and desirable directions for further research, including the development of process-based methods and involvement of an understanding of the flow and transport processes of karstified carbonates. However, the various aspects of water management are not discussed in the present study.