Principles about Linking


Interlink Existing Concepts as Much as Possible

It is important that your link labels fully describe the relationship between the two concepts. This means making the labels more than simply "relates to" or "is connected to." Labels should indicate the exact nature of the relationship. Links may connect to, or be related to, more than one concept – be sure to link all related concepts together.


Why is Linking Important?

By establishing links between concepts you are able to see the "big picture" and gain a deeper understanding of a topic. In fact, your goal is to attempt to link every concept in your concept map to every other one. Trying to establish links helps you focus on which concepts are most important in order to understand a topic and identify areas within a map that you might need to work on a little more. For example, you may need to expand a map by establishing sub-concepts, or you may even need to eliminate concepts that turn out to be unimportant for a particular topic.


Most Common Words Used in Link Labels

Link Type


Inclusion Links

  • Subset of: is included in, is contained in, is example of, is part of
  • Superset of: include, contain, consist of, has example, has part of

Characteristics Links

  • has characteristic/is characteristic of
  • has attribute/is attribute of
  • has type/is type of

Actions Links

  • Function: cause/is caused by
    • function as/is used for
  • Operation: act on/is acted on by
    • generate/is generated by
    • regulate/is regulated by
    • determine/is determined by
    • increase/is increased by

Process Links

  • has process/is process in
  • has input/is input to
  • has output/is output of

Temporal Links

  • precede
  • follow
  • has step/is step in

Similarity Links

  • is similar to
  • is like
  • is opposite to


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