Prepare a Concept Map
You may already be familiar with the mind-mapping, which is a visual presentation of
information in which you have one general idea from which you branch off into multiple
directions. It is a great way to brainstorm possible topics. Mind maps focus more on
your thoughts regarding how things might relate.
A concept map shares the common bond of visual presentation with a mind map. But a
concept map in dissertation planning assists in organizing knowledge garnered through
your scholarly literature searches. Rather than a map of your thoughts, you are actually
mapping what is known about a concept.
A concept map uses a hierarchical format in which general concepts are at the top of
the map and more specific concepts are then presented below generally in order of
most important to least. The connector lines include keywords or phrases, even quotes
perhaps, which summarize the relationship between the concepts they connect.
Connections in a concept map, unlike in a mind map, depict more complex and different
relationships between topics.
Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully. You are expected to apply the
information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.
Phelps, R. Fisher, K., & Ellis, A. (2007). Effective literature
searching. In Phelps, R., Fisher, K., & Ellis, A. (Eds.), Organizing
and managing … Read pages 128-149
Davies, M. (2011). Concept mapping, mind mapping and
argument mapping: What are the differences and do they
matter? Higher Education: The …
Martelo, M. L. (2011). Use of bibliographic systems and concept
maps: Innovative tools to complete a literature review. Research
in The Schools …
Microsoft. (2014). Concept map.
Suhr, D. (n.d.). The Basics of Structural Equation Modeling.
Week 3 – Assignment: Prepare a
Warm-Up Activity 3.1: Creating a Concept Map
To put your concept map together effectively, start with your
topic. From there, and reviewing your literature, determine the
key concepts. Then begin linking the concepts. Finally, connect
the concepts, creating key phrases and words.
Warm-Up Activity 3.2: How to Create a Concept Map in Word
You can use Word to create a concept map. To do so, open a
Word document. Then go to Insert and select Shapes. Next, click
new drawing canvas. Next, return to Insert and select Shapes.
Here you will choose a box. Then, you then can stretch the box
to whatever size you like. Next, go to Insert, then select Text
Box. Click inside the box, and then begin typing. You will link
the concept boxes using Insert, Shapes, and Lines. To connect
concepts, once you have selected your line format, click on the
first box and then on the second box. Continue to repeat these
steps until you have your concept map in place. Remember to
save the file when you are finished. You also can download a
free template from Microsoft Word and then insert additional
shapes as needed.
Warm-Up Activity 3.3:Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) as a
Another visual representation format that you may find helpful
in creating a concept map is based upon Structural Equation
Modeling (SEM). SEM, or causal modeling, is a statistical
technique that allows researchers to compare multivariate
models. While you are working with concepts and ideas in this
course, and not statistics, you may find the general format of
SEM useful as another approach in mapping relationships
between concepts and ideas.
Concepts that are still largely undefined are placed in circles or
ovals. The tools used to measure them are placed in boxes and
unidirectional arrows are placed from the circles pointing to the
boxed measures indicating that the concepts in boxes are
manifest variables. Single-headed arrows can also be drawn
from concepts in ovals to other ovals indicating that there may
be a “causal” relationship from one concept to another. Doublesided arrows may also be drawn if the relationships between
concepts are correlational. In this way, the paths of the arrows
can help in the conceptualization of the relationships among
variables at an early stage.
For an overview of SEM, review the tutorial located under your
weekly resources, called The Basics of Structural Equation
Your task this week is to build a concept map using just one of
the topics you have examined so far in this class.
Next, continue your literature search, locating at least five new
scholarly sources published within the last 5 years to ensure
your topic is timely.
If you find you are having trouble locating scholarly resources
for your topic, you might have to consider expanding your topic
or looking at how the topic was studied in other fields.
Remember that besides searching the online databases, search
through the reference lists of the articles that you have already
obtained to locate potential additional resources (see citation
chaining in Phelps, Fisher, & Ellis, 2007). As you continue to
build your scholarly sources, remember to evaluate the
worthiness of each peer-reviewed source and decide whether to
include it in your review (use your critical reading and evaluation
Once you have gathered your new scholarly sources (you should
have 10 new sources so far in the course), begin to build your
concept map to help you further organize your literature review.
Generate lists of topic headings (or themes/categories) using a
concept map as suggested in the readings for this week.
You should aim to identify at least three to five themes. Think
about your potential dissertation topic, the brief literature
review paper that is due later in the course, and the literature
you have identified. Then, select the themes accordingly. The
goal is to help you organize the literature so that when you
begin to write the literature review, you can write in a more
efficient and organized manner.
Length: 2 pages (minimum; one page should be the concept
map, the second page should be the reference page in APA
Your concept map and reference list should demonstrate
thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts presented in
the course by providing new thoughts and insights relating
directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly
writing and current APA standards.
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