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How To Make A Literature Review Map

Using a literature review map

Image credit: sparklesandshoes.com

Image credit: sparklesandshoes.com

Creating a literature review map is a very useful graphical technique that helps you to visualize connections and relative relationships between things. Mapping shows the associations between different literature, and can help to identify issues such as proximity and connections in terms of ideas and findings. After analyzing a paper or some other literature using critical techniques, literature mapping can show how it fits in with other literature that has already been analyzed. Literature mapping involves identifying the key concepts across the literature and how each paper or piece of material fits into this overall conceptual map. After identifying literature with similar themes the literature review map is useful in determining:

  • Areas of agreement between different authors.
  • Areas of disagreement between authors.
  • Reasons for the different views held by various authors.
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There are different types of literature maps such as character maps, concept maps and ideals maps. The type of literary map you create will depend on the concept or theme you want to focus on. However the basics of literature mapping are the same regardless of the type of map you make.

Steps in creating a literature review map

  1. Start with a central idea or theme. The starting idea should be kept simple and broad in order to allow for a more detailed exploration as the map is developed. If it is too narrow you will limit the number of relationships between the literature that you are able to make. A literature review map can be for the whole topic of the literature review or just one area or argument of the review. Write down this main idea
  1. Write down all the words and phrases that come to mind in relation to the topic. These are likely to be useful search terms when researching the relevant literature. Use branches to connect the main idea and those points that you develop that are related to the main theme. Locate and read relevant journal articles, books, papers and other literature. Analyze the literature and summarize key points.
  1. Add keywords to the branches. Once you have a linking branch add a keyword to the branch that explains the relationship of the ideas/points being linked. This can allow you to see similarities between different literature you may otherwise miss.
  1. Extend your initial ideas using more branches and nodes. After starting with one main idea, related ideas were linked back to it. These related ideas/points in turn produce other points that while not directly related to the initial concept, affect it. Continue to expand and make connections until satisfied with the number of supporting points or there are no further relevant connections.
  1. Group ideas/points/references in different ways. Depending on the type of literature review map created, try grouping the relevant information in different ways based on the type of relationship.

There is more than one way to create a literature review map and people form their own preferences. Sometimes creating more than one map using different methods can provide a new perspective that helps.

If you need help with literature review essay or don’t know how to write a thesis literature review, feel free to contact us immediately.