Concept Mapping


Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. Most concept map organizers engage participants in answering questions such as, “What is it? What is it like? What are some examples?”. Concept maps deepen understanding and comprehension.

When to use it

  • To generate ideas (brainstorming, etc.).
  • To design a complex structure (long texts, hypermedia, large web sites, etc.).
  • To communicate complex ideas.
  • To aid learning by explicitly integrating new and old knowledge.
  • To assess understanding or diagnose misunderstanding.

How to use it

A good way to define the context for a concept map is to construct a Focus Question, that is, a question that clearly specifies the problem or issue that the concept map should help resolve. Every concept map responds to a focus question, and a good focus question can lead to a much richer concept map.

  1. Select: Focus on a theme or problem and then identify related keywords or phrases.
  2. Rank: Rank the concepts (key words) from the most abstract and inclusive to the most concrete and specific.
  3. Cluster: Cluster concepts that function at similar levels of abstraction and those that interrelate closely.
  4. Arrange: Arrange concepts into a diagrammatic representation.
  5. Link and add proposition: Link concepts with linking lines and label each line with a proposition.

A true concept map must include core concepts – usually enclosed in circles or boxes relationships illustrated by lines and arrows connecting concepts AND by propositions or statements on those lines that explain the nature of the relationship examples


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