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Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts.

  • A visual framework connecting a large number of ideas, objects, and events as they relate to a certain domain
  • This provides the scaffolding that can help visualize the complexities of a system to make new meaning.
  • Concept maps consist of individual concepts (a well-understood idea, object, or event; usually nouns connected by linking words (usually verbs).
  • Linking words that connect two or more concepts form a proposition that creates a meaningful statement.
  • Articulating the correct focus question is a key step that will provide context and structure to the map.
  • After a focus question is generated, a list of fifteen to twenty-five concepts should be identified and ranked from general to very specific.
  • A preliminary map is constructed and then revised until a final map emerges to adequately answer the focus questions.
  • Maps should help design teams gain new knowledge and find new meanings in an information space.

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