Concept and Mind Mapping

Introduction

The aim of this article is to describe some proven techniques used for recording information in the documentation team: Concept Maps and Mind Maps. These methods can effectively support and enhance creative problem solving and are generally applicable to all domains of knowledge.

Concept and Mind Maps can be used to quickly identify and understand the structure of a subject. A map drawn using these techniques can help to see how pieces of information fit together, as well as record the raw facts contained in normal notes.

Concept Maps

Concept map is a graphical representation of Concepts, Entities or Information (knowledge). It is a technique used to visualize relationships among various concepts and represent relations among concepts. They can be used to understand a subject (domain), to explain a subject or to transfer knowledge.

Concept Map Guidelines
In Concept Maps, the concepts are enclosed in circles. The relationship between concepts is shown by connecting lines, linking two objects. These links can be unidirectional or bidirectional. Various types of Concept Maps are:

  1. Spider Concept Maps The main topic is placed at centre. The related topics are drawn radiating surrounding the centre. This type of Concept Maps is used for linking various concepts to each other.
  2. Hierarchy Concept Maps The main topic is placed at the top. The sub themes are drawn downwards in descending order of importance. This type of Concept Maps is used to represent organizational structure or functionality/menu of a particular product.
  3. Flowchart Concept Maps The concepts are organized in linear format.
  4. System Concept Maps This type is similar to that of flowchart concept map. In addition to elements in flowchart maps it also contains inputs and outputs.Below is an example of a Spider Concept Map that addresses the concept of Cricket Matches and the various aspects around it.

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Concept maps can be used for:

  • Designing site map of a website
  • Contents of an article
  • Structure of User Guide/Help File

Advantages of Concept Maps:

  • Visuals are quickly recognized by human brain.
  • Minimum use of text and maximum use of graphics helps to understand relationship among concepts/entities.
  • Diagrammatic representation encourages creative thinking.
  • Concepts can be personalized.
  • Concept mapping encourages logical thinking (approach).
  • Concept mapping emphasizes links between concepts.

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