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What is Literature Mapping? 5 Most Effective Literature Mapping Tools to Use

Literature Mapping

After putting in a lot of time and effort, you have finally selected the research topic. Well, that is very good to know. Now, the second step towards conducting great research is to research the topic well and gather as much information as possible. This process is called a literature review. But there is something more important than a review, and that is called literature mapping. This technique allows you to conglomerate all the relevant data that you collected after researching your research topic.

Well, as you are here reading this article, it means you do not have enough information about doing this mapping and want to know more. In today’s world, certain tools are now developed that can help you map the literature in minutes. So, the epicentre of today’s discussion is going to be those tools. First of all, let’s define what literature mapping is.

What Does It Mean By Literature Mapping?

Literature mapping is nothing complex but a way to organise and explore the connections between relevant information to your research topic. Since writing a literature review section requires you to evaluate and analyse all the research papers that you have collected, creating a literature map proves to be very beneficial. It is an established method for externalising knowledge and thinking processes. A literature map is a graphical plan that you are going to follow to write the literature review section of your dissertation.

5 Most Effective Literature Mapping Tools Available

Technology has made the life of scientists and researchers very easy. Now, as a researcher, you do not need to create manual literature maps. It is because many amazing tools are available in the market that can perform literature mapping for your research topic in minutes. Hence, a brief description of the 5 most effective tools is as follows:

Connected Papers – Simple Yet Very Powerful Tool

Connected Papers is the first tool that is very simple in its use yet very powerful in its way of doing things related to literature mapping. This tool helps you find the papers that are relevant to your research topic with just one “seed paper.” A seed paper is a paper that you find most relevant to your research topic. All you need to do is enter the seed paper into this tool, i.e., Connected Papers, and it will automatically put 25 or more relevant scholarly texts in front of you. It creates a graph of all the found papers as a result.

Inciteful – A Customisable Mapping Tool

This literature mapping tool was launched in November 2020 in its beta version. Inciteful is totally free to use and allows researchers like you to discover the most relevant academic research papers in a very short time frame. This tool uses citations to find the relevant information to your topic. Once you put in the topic of your interest, this tool surfaces the most relevant academic papers based on metadata and citations.

Litmaps – A Handy Visualisation Tool

It is one of the best tools for literature mapping available to students right now. Litmaps is a handy interactive tool that creates maps in the form of great visuals. This tool allows the creation of a map of the relevant literature within seconds. All you need to do is first identify your seed paper. Once found, click on the “Generate map” tab, and you are done. The tool will create a map of all the relevant research articles and papers published in your field. Litmap is a complex tool, and it is why many students find it difficult to operate.

Cocites – Best For Finding Co-Cited Articles

Co-cited research articles mean articles that are mostly co-cited with each other. If you are looking for such kind of literature, then there is no better choice for you than CoCites. It finds articles or research papers that are frequently co-cited with an article of interest or seed article. So, this is how it works.

ResearchRabbit – A New But Effective Tool

Lastly, there is a tool named ResearchRabbit, which is breaking the ground. It is free to use tool for researchers to find the most relevant literature. It is a citation-based tool that allows you to track effective and relevant scholarly texts. In general, this tool takes one or more seed papers as a reference and then creates an amazing literature map. Hence, it is one of the tools that could be your next destination.


Conclusively, literature mapping is a way to find organised research papers that are relevant to your research topic. Well, doing this manually is very time-consuming. Therefore, we have discussed the top 5 and the most effective tools for this purpose above. You can choose any of the tools mentioned above to create a stunning literature map.