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. Thus, 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.