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Concept mapping

Learn how to use concept maps for brainstorming, collaborating, teaching, and writing.


"Concept mapping creates a visual representation of the relationships among a set of targeted topics. The goal of concept mapping is to create an actual map where the concepts are represented as nodes and the relationships between them are represented as lines that link those nodes."

Morgan, D., & Guevara, H. (2008). Concept Mapping. In Lisa M. Given (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Qualitative Research Methods.(pp. 109-110). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Concept map example

Novak, Joseph D., and Alberto J. Cañas. 2008. The Theory Underlining Concept Maps and How to Construct and Use Them. Technical Report IHMC CmapTools.

Use concept mapping to:

  • brainstorm a research topic
  • facilitate understanding in a group discussion
  • assess learning

Concepts maps vs. mind maps

Davies, M. (2011). Concept mapping, mind mapping and argument mapping: what are the differences and do they matter? Higher Education, 62(3), 279–301. doi: 10.1007/s10734-010-9387-6.