Skip to content

On reading up a lot, mind mapping the literature, “finding the gap” and writing paragraphs in your literature review

While normally I write Twitter threads or blog posts in response to requests, particularly of my students and research assistants, but also when I hear from scholars across the globe, this post (based on my Twitter thread) comes from my own needs, both as a writer (I am writing and revising a literature review section myself) and as a student and RA supervisor (I wanted to have a resource to share with my team).

Editing by hand

In this blog post, I walk through my process of mapping out the literature, relying on systematic reviews, and situating my work within the broader debates around a particular topic. Finding a gap in the literature requires us to really map out the different ways and approaches in which different authors have approached a specific topic. The only way to do this, unfortunately, is to read.




Two important things escaped me the first time I wrote this thread. The first one is posted here (links to topic-sentences-focused blog posts).

Hopefully my process as broken down can help others as well!

You can share this blog post on the following social networks by clicking on their icon.

Posted in academia, writing.

Tagged with , , .

2 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. From review of the literature to mind map of the field – Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD linked to this post on August 25, 2019

    […] a previous blog post, I explained how, after having done all the reading, I plot the literature (yes, by hand and doing mind mapping techni…. In this short blog post, I reverse my approach, and instead I show how you can map the literature […]

  2. A sequential framework for teaching how to write good research questions – Raul Pacheco-Vega, PhD linked to this post on March 4, 2020

    […] I have already written about how we can find the gap: for a dissertation or thesis proposal and for a research paper and/or literature review. As an example, in my case, I contribute to narrow our gap in understanding how commons theories […]

Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.