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Study Effectively: Creating a Concept Map

How do I make a concept map?

  1. Identify the main topic or core concept. 
  2. Brainstorm everything you already know about the topic.
  3. Organize the information by major ideas or points.
  4. Place the information on a diagram or map. Start with core concept, then major points, then significant details. 
  5. Review course materials and vocabulary to insure everything is included.
  6. Label connecting strands with words or phrases, then use branches, arrows and other symbols (for example stop signs) to indicate the relationship.  
  7. Use colours, fonts or lines to group or distinguish concepts. 
  8. Include detailed explanations, definitions, rules, formulae, or equations.
  9. Analyze the map using the following questions: 
    • Is the core concept accurately defined and positioned?
    • How do the ideas fit together?
    • Have I considered all the related information from lectures, texts, and labs?
    • Have I noted all relevant relationships, exceptions, and conditions?
    • Does the map have adequate validity, logic, complexity, and detail? 
    • What is the muddiest point and what can be done to clarify it?
  10. Revise the map as understanding of the material improves.

Example of a simple concept map

Image of a student’s hand drawn concept map for the theory of natural selection. The centre of the page contains a large oval with the title. Lines radiate out from the centre oval connecting other ovals detailing related concepts, which connect to subsequent ovals.

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