I. Find your TOPIC. What are you curious about? What is your QUESTION? or questions?
II. After you have a question, then ask, yourself, why does this matter? What is the important PROBLEM that the question raises?
III. What bodies of LITERATURE would help to better understand the topic, question and problem?
I have used mindmapping to help organize my thoughts around the topic, question and problem, as well as organization the argument string that links the bodies of literature together in preparation for writing the LITERATURE REVIEW. This argument string is a precursor to my topic sentences in the review.
What is great about mindmapping is that you can put all of this into a mindmap and then, once you are ready to start writing, simply export it into a Word document and start writing it in the linear format.
Here is a literature review I am working on around the topic of Parent Involvement as a Social Movement.