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English 1213: Composition II: Brainstorming

Concept mapping

Concept mapping is a great tool for helping you develop your ideas and structure your paper. It can help you identify areas where you need to find information in order to support your argument.  The steps to creating a concept map are pretty simple.

  1. Start with your main topic idea in the center. This can be broad at this point. Through this process and research, you will begin to narrow your ideas.
  2. From the center topic, branch off into smaller subtopics that are relevant or important to your main idea.
  3. Finally, you can brainstorm specific examples of each subtopic, and connect those to your map. Some examples and subtopics make connect to more than one thing or to each other. Sometimes, concept mapping can get messy, but that's okay! As long as it makes sense to you, it's okay. It's a way to map your ideas about your topic.
  4. You will continue to develop your map as you research and learn more about your topic. You will also start to find areas that you want to focus on, and work on adding to those specifically. You can continue to develop a concept map through your entire writing and research process.

Here is a sample of what a concept map may look like, using the topic of college student health:Sample concept map with subtopics of stress, diet, drinking, physical activity and support. The subtopic of "support" could address specific examples like health center, campus counseling, and recreation programs.

Need more help?

Visit our tutorials page to find tips and tricks for every part of your research process.