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Developing a Research Topic: Concept Mapping

Concept Map / Mind Mapping

What is a concept map?

A concept map is a visual representation of what you know about a topic. Concept maps help you organize your thoughts and explore the relationships in a topic. Use a concept map to organize and represent what you know about a topic. Explore the connections between elements of the topic. 

 

Why use a concept map?

Concept maps can be used to develop a research topic. They are a useful brainstorming tool.

Concept maps can be used to study. Mapping what you know about a subject and examining the relationships between elements help you develop a greater understanding of the material.

 

How do I concept map?

  • On paper
  • On a whiteboard
  • Online
    • Bubbl.us
    • Popplet
    • Trello
  • Any way that works for you!

 

How do I organize the map?

Most of the time you start with the central idea, topic, or subject. Then you branch out from that central point and show how the main idea can be broken into specific subtopics. Each subtopic can also be broken into even more specific topics,

 

Topic Map

Organize what you know by subtopic in a topic map.

Topic map of public transportation.

Use the topic map to define your research topic.

For example: geography - local travel - rail - variants - rail systems - designs & availability - emissions - research & evidence

Topic map of public transportation with arrows drawn between highlighted subtopics

Make a topic statement or research question. 

I am researching the environmental impact of using commuter rail systems in cities.

How does using commuter rail systems in cities affect the environment?

Topic map of public transportation with arrows drawn between highlighted subtopics.

Concept Map, Mind Mapping

Example Concept Map

Concept map of climate change