How to Create a Literature Map

Literature Map, Literature Review, Thematic analysis, City Development Models, Mind map literature review, Dr Jon Drane

How to create a literature map. The Literature Map helps researchers review literature for gaps and points of impact. They are useful in both academic and industry related research projects to help gain traction and market interest.

Book a seat for our upcoming Literature Mapping Webinar Workshop

Learn More about Literature Mapping

Research projects usually start with a Literature Review which involves using tools such as search engines ( e.g. google scholar) and document management and reference systems (e.g. Endnote and Mandalay).

The literature review will attempt to create a space for the research project that has not been covered or is yet to be developed.

Literature Mapping uses graphical methods to plot your literature in a graphical format. There are many types of graphical method from mind mapping to infographic formats.

See our Research Gate Forum where leading experts have discussed the various graphical literature tools from Mind Maps through to Quiqqa and other methods.

Dr Jonathan Drane has developed a unique but simple literature mapping method which streamlines your literature review and helps you refine your topic and its place in the literature universe.

‘In our method we prefer to use a ‘cards on desktop’ graphical logic.  It uses cards (like the icons on your desktop) and allocates identifiers to the cards including different colours as well as other key information points. Think of each card as if it was a library card which is also linked back to the actual publication it refers to’. Dr Jonathan Drane

In the method there is also an X-Y axis to allow for key concept themes to be pinned to the axis. From there each card is positioned based on its alignment to the theme. In the chart below this method is applied to City Growth Dynamics themes from Dr Drane’s doctorate.


Literature Map by Dr Jon Drane, Literature Review
Literature Map City Growth dynamics, Dr Jonathan Drane Doctoral Thesis UNSW Built Environment 2015

As I spent weeks in the literature mapping phase of my doctorate I realised that it was made clearer by using graphical representation of the various themes and concepts.’ Dr Jonathan Drane

An example of his literature map system is shown above which is extracted from Dr Drane’s Doctorate.

Impact and Strategic Importance

Research occurs in a huge range of endeavours from academic research to competitive analysis, market and corporate strategy. A central activity in these is to make sure you know what the current literature, articles and books are in the relevant strategic arena.

The use of literature review is essential to maintaining a strategic advantage and identifying the gaps in the theory or in corporate offerings.

We recommed that you take some time out and attend our upcoming webinar on this topic . Whether you are an academic or a business person or government researcher, this is important.

We look forward to seeing you at this webinar.


Literature Map, Literature review, Dr Jonathan Drane
Dr Jon Drane- Literature Mapping

Dr Jonathan Drane

Download this article and other related resources (free).

Literature Map, Literature Review By Dr Jon Drane
Download article and related resources.

Fill in this form to receive free downloads:

    Other readings and links:

    Link to Jonathan’s Research Gate page page on Literature Mapping

    Link to Jonathan’s Doctorate