Defining Concept Maps
Concept mapping is a technique for representing what you know about a given topic. It is a process of creating a "visual map" or "web" of your knowledge. Creating a concept map is a good way for you to identify key concepts in lectures and readings. It also allows you to show how different pieces of information relate to one another.
Components of a Concept Map
Concept maps are visual representations of what we know about a topic and consist of nodes and labeled links. Concepts are sets of specific objects, symbols, or events that share common characteristics. The meaning of a concept is determined by a list of its properties, which are, in turn, other concepts. Most concepts do not exist in isolation, but rather as part of a set of related concepts.
Nodes correspond to the concepts or important terms related to your studies of a topic. For example, the concept "water" can be defined by other concepts, such as liquid, solid, and gas. The relationship of each concept to other concepts determines its meaning. As you can see, a concept map is a set of relationships among other concepts.
Labeled links identify the type of relationship. Therefore, the line between a pair of concepts denotes a relationship, and the label on the line tells how the two concepts are related. For example, in a concept map of seasons, the relationship between the amount of sunlight and temperature variations is labeled as "cause" – in other words it is an action relationship between antecedent and consequent. In a concept map of dairy policies, the relationship between "dairy policy" and "federal milk marketing order" is labeled as "includes" because it represents an inclusion relationship between superset and subset.