Skip to content

Finding Research Gaps: A Step by Step Strategy

Identifying research gaps is the most important first step in contributing impactful science. Join this webinar to learn how to find the critical gaps in your own field using a clear, step-by-step strategy. I’ll share a three-part process that includes effective note-taking, visualizing knowledge, and finding research gaps. All with practical, easy-to-follow examples for you to apply to your own research.


Discounts for students available upon request.

What you’ll get out of this course

► A step-by-step strategy to identify research gaps
► A note taking system to remember and access everything you ever read
► Develop a visual language to summarize your findings
► Use literature maps to find, prioritize and keep track of papers.
► Find citation gaps in any publication (even your own).
► Synthesize information in your domain graphically
► Spot conceptual and methodology gaps using mind maps
► Use AI search to help find research questions and even identify gaps in seconds

Rachel Woodlock, PhD
Lecturer & Acting Deputy Director

Asia Institute, University of Melbourne Australia

I uhmmed and ahhed about whether to sign up for the Effortless Literature Review Webinar. I had been using Ilya’s Obsidian academic notes management suggestions for a while, and knowing how useful they had been for me tipped the balance in favour, and so I signed up. It was the right decision.

I got much more out of the webinar than I expected, especially because Ilya covered some of the latest developments in the academic AI space that have got me seriously reconsidering not only how I plan to attack finding, selecting, and reviewing literature for my own research, but also the pedagogical implications for teaching research as well.

I don’t write reviews often, but this webinar was so good it motivated me to leave this testimonial to encourage others who may be considering taking one of Ilya’s excellent webinars or courses.

Spot the research gap

Finding a research gap is a big challenge for every researcher. But while it is complex it is not complicated if you use the right system. In this webinar I will present how you find the relevant literature, break it down into small chunks, lay these chunks out into a large all-encompassing map and then simply see the research gap.

You can identify research gaps visually by finding: Conflicting connections, missing connections or shortcuts. Each of these are potential research gaps leading to a paper you can publish.

► Map out your research and then “find” the gap by looking at the map
► Don’t get overwhelmed by using a step-by-step research gap process
► Reuse your work for a literature review or introduction section

Suzette Flantua, PhD

Project leader of PPF-Alpine University of Bergen

Ilya´s workshops are an absolute MUST-DO! If you are a researcher having to plow through endless publications and you need a system to keep track of all your notes and thoughts…then Ilya´s work and tips are a complete game-changer!! We have adapted it as a team and are absolutely in love with it. Super highly recommended, it´s worth every cent and second.

Find Everything You Ever Read

If you have been taking notes loosely as Word Documents, Paper, PDF Annotations or Emails you have probably experienced the frustration of just trying to find your notes. In this webinar we will learn to use Obsidian. A single software to gather notes, references, lab diaries and tasks. The result is bigger than the sum of its parts:

► Globally search through ALL notes in milliseconds.
► Link notes together and jump topics quickly.
► Embed your PDFs, to see them instantly along the notes.
► Think visually by creating mind maps from your notes.

While it might sound complicated, it really isn’t. After trying out a numerous tools I found Obsidian to be mature enough and simple enough. You won’t miss any features, but you won’t be overwhelmed either.

Obsidians main features relevant for academics

Mushtaq Bilal, PhD

AI influencer, Postdoc

Syddansk Universitet, Denmark

This is one of the most efficient methods of conducting a literature review.

I took Ilya’s seminar in Jan. and was blown away by it, esp. the Obsidian integration.

Visualize to Realize

To truly understand a topic you must go past highlights and words. While text is almost the exclusive way to transmit scientific information it is not the best way to make sense of it. Instead, we create visual maps of the connections between single facts from various sources.

See the big picture with the power of visual thinking. But, just like with notes, without a strategy you quickly end up with a messy, unstructured outlines. In this webinar I will show you how to develop your own visual language suitable for your domain.

► Learn a system to create overviews of your entire field of research
► Utilize, DrawIO, a free tool for complex or very simple visual maps
► See dozens of highly complex maps I create for my research

Kwabla Pavis-Djre
CEO/Managing Director

Eliseli Ltd., Ghana

It was profound, educative, informative, eye opening and thought provoking. AI has come to stay, and we have to embrace it and use it ethically.

Thank you, Dr. Ilya, for your insightful presentation. You are a blessing to mankind. Ayekoo, as we say in Akan here in Ghana, to wit, well done, Sir.

Find gaps in the literature

Normally you would read extensively and try to identify something someone else (or you) missed.

But with Litmaps App you can use the references of a paper and their similarity algorithm to identify what papers the authors could have cited but didn’t: Gaps!

This process takes less than a minute and can be applied to your unpublished papers as well. Don’t miss important references with this technique.

Vidya Muthulakshmi M Doctoral Researcher

IIT-Madras India

I instantly related to the workflow Ilya Shabanov has adopted. The workshop is an end to all my search and extensive researching on notetaking for academia.

The philosophy of Ilya was too good. He made it a point to keep nailing the fact that he just introduces the tools but we are to experiment and make it personal. That is absolutely true.

The seven rules of notetaking he details is something that made me feel – “It all makes sense now” after almost 3 years of trying to understand note-taking through Obsidian. I am thankful for the two wonderful courses with crystal clear explanations helping everyone become an effortless academic. Thank you once again, Ilya.

Discover new literature without Google

If you have followed me on Twitter, you have seen my reviews on many discovery tools. But one of them keeps coming back: Litmaps.

It stands out in its simplicity, sophistication and innovation. That is why 2 hours is enough to make you into a Litmaps expert. Set it up once and click a button to automate your discovery process.

Why use this tool:
► Discovers literature using a one-of-a-kind graphical display (see image)
► Upload your existing bibliography and fill out the gaps.
► Set up reminders for new publications based on your interests.
► Visualize your research and make it more intuitive.

PhD Student

This course has completely transformed how I approach my research process flow for my Ph.D. One of the reasons I took a break from classes last year was that the manual process was just so overwhelming, and it was difficult to juggle full-time work, school, and life.

This course lays out an efficient process, including all the tools, step-by-step, in an easy-to-follow format. I purchased both courses, the manual and the literature review, and am so happy I did. Every time I see a new Twitter post with new tools or new features to the process, I get very excited to start experimenting again.

I am beyond grateful that this exists with all the examples and templates and videos, and Discord! So many helpful resources!

Semantic Search with AI

Semantic search allows you to obtain a comprehensive reading list on any literature review topic in under 1 minute (watch the video on the right for an example).

This process is a novel way of starting out to learn new topics. Not only do you find the right literature, you also learn the connections and schools of thoughts dominating your domain. In this webinar we will utilize various GPTs to find not only papers but research questions directly.

This workflow has become possible in early 2024 when scientific databases like Consensus, SciSpace or with 100s of Millions of papers were combined with ChatGPT’s conversational capabilities into powerful AI assistants.

Siouxsie Wiles, PhD

Associate Professor of Molecular Medicine and Pathology

University of Auckland, New Zealand

Doing Ilya’s note-taking course and learning about Obsidian have been absolute game-changers for me. Ilya is an excellent teacher and his courses are really well-paced. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who wants to get more organised!

Develop your own visual language

If you were to describe a mathematical formula with words it would be very hard to read, or vice versa describe a poem with an equation, impossible! The language you are using to express something must always match the subject. This is why I emphasize to develop your own visual language that fits your domain.

A visual language is a legend to your mind map. It describes what each connection and box means. By carefully defining this language step-by-step you come to a very efficient language that can precisely express your domain.

So instead of copying my style you will learn to create your own. I will present the language I developed from the fields of molecular biology and ecology.

Maita Goya-Arce MSc Managing Director

Fundación Maitetxu A.C. Mexico

Ilya’s workshops are spectacular and his workflows life-changing. He does a fantastic job taking you through everything step by step so precisely. He documents everything so clearly that you can reference back and find any detail whenever you have the slightest of doubts.

Meet your Instructor

Not your average scientist. I spent 12 years in industry, co-founded a brain training startup NeuroNation, ran a web design firm and only at 36 decided to do a PhD in biology. At this point I didn’t know much about biology – yet 6 months later I had a paper in peer review and a glowing recommendation from my supervisor:

My secret to learning very fast is not talent. It’s “Knowledge Management”, something I did routinely as a CEO.

You and I play chess with the same pieces, right? But who wins? The person with a better strategy – continuously & predictably. Research is not different. But has anyone ever taught you a strategy on how to “do science”? If you’re lucky your supervisor can show you a thing or two. More likely, they won’t even have the time.

I decided to change that and in December 2022 launched a Twitter account that is now one of the biggest accounts when it comes literature review, note taking strategies and AI for academics. I consistently keep updating my own strategies as I pursue my career as an (effortless) academic at Victoria University in New Zealand.