By formulating problems beforehand, you will avoid wasting hours in aimless reading.
Know the issues of concern to you and consider the material through this lens alone.
Moreover, if you find that the literature available is too sparse, or conversely, insurmountable; it is worth reconsidering your research questions to develop a more constrained focus on the topic at hand.
Do not begin analysing the literature before clarifying in your own mind the research questions that will guide your dissertation.
In any case, when considering your inclusion and exclusion criteria, it is important to ask the following of each article: is this relevant, suitable, and useful?
In practice, this process will ensure that the review remains concisely tailored to the topic discussed.
Beyond the identification of key themes and issues, it will be necessary to reach certain findings in light of your analysis of the relevant literature.
Try to draw working conclusions about the current balance of opinion concerning certain controversies, suggest what you believe to be the emergent or future trends in the field, identify deficiencies in current knowledge and relate your own position to that of others.
Thematic analysis will not only demonstrate a genuine engagement with the literature, but provide you with a scaffold on which to build the body of your text.
Nothing must make it into your literature review which has not been scrutinised, questioned and dissected.