Concept Mapping

Writing, especially research, involves two separate skills: analysis (taking ideas apart) and synthesis (putting ideas together).  Your thesis and essay should be a result of these two tasks.

Concept Mapping or Mind Mapping is a smart way to begin the writing process.  It can:

  • help you graphically represent and organize ideas
  • show how those ideas are related to each other
  • help you translate your topic into a manageable thesis
  • generate questions and search terms to focus your research



  1. Write the main topic in the center of the page and draw a circle around it.
  2. Brainstorm ideas for the topic.  Try breaking the topic down into smaller categories, such as who, what, where, why, how, etc?
  3. Take a closer look and identify specific subtopics for each category. These can become keywords and search terms for your research.
  4. Identify the relationships between the concepts you’ve identified.
  5. See if all the pieces fit together and if anything is missing.
  6. Generate a list of questions for the topic.


  1. Vegetarianism
  2. Health
  3. Food Safety, Nutrition, Longevity
  4. All seem beneficial
  5. illness? raw vegetables? e.coli?
  6. Are vegetarians more or less likely to get foodborne illness, like e.coli, than others?

Tools to Help:

  • Coggle (via Google)
  • Lucidchart (via Google)
  • MS Word SmartArt

Kayla| 2016

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