In this video, we will learn how to create a concept map. A concept map is a visual tool that helps show the relationship between ideas.

In this video, we will learn how to create a concept map. A concept map is a visual tool that helps show the relationship between ideas. Concept maps begin with a main idea and then branch out to show how the idea can be broken down into sub-topics. Concept maps can help you brainstorm new ideas and organize information. Notice that the concept map arranges related ideas in a hierarchy. You start off broad and the sub-topics will get more and more specific.

Remember, for the concept map, you are not actually researching your topic or citing sources yet; you are just getting ideas on what you could write about. Use your knowledge of the topic to think of ideas. If you’re not familiar with the topic, look in a book or do a quick search online to get ideas.

Now, let’s take a look at an example on how to create a concept map. First, you’ll want to start with a general topic. In this example, let’s say that our professor wants us to write a paper on invasive animal species.

Now, what ideas come to mind when you think about that topic? Well, you might think about ways that these species spread, so try listing some reasons that you’ve read about such as their ability to out-compete others for resources or people releasing exotic pets into the wild.

A separate sub-topic could focus on ways to prevent invasive species from taking over an area, so jot down some ideas such as raising awareness and reporting sightings.

Your concept map can be as small or big as you need it to be in order to cover your topic. Let the length of your paper guide you. For example, you should have a lot more sub-topics written down for a 10-page paper than a 2-page paper, so keep that in mind. If your concept map ends up being too big, don’t worry! The purpose of the map was to help you brainstorm and organize your ideas. Consider using only a portion of it if you need to write a short paper.

Once your concept map is finished, you can start researching your topic. Use the concepts from your map as your initial keywords and search terms when looking for information in a library database.  This concludes our video on concept maps. If you have questions about searching for information, please remember to ask a librarian!

Related Materials:

COMP Library Guide