Biology 130 – Tutorial 4 - Using and Building a Concept Map:
In Biology concepts do not exist in isolation. Each concept or process depends on itsrelationships to many others for meaning. A concept map depicts hierarchy andrelationships among concepts. In attempting to identify the key and associated conceptsof a particular topic or sub-topic, one will usually acquire a deeper understanding of thetopic and clarification of any prior misconceptions.Concept maps are diagrammatic representations which show meaningful relationships between concepts in the form of propositions. Propositions are two or more conceptlabels linked by words which provide information on relationships or describingconnections between concepts.The concept map is a device for representing the conceptual structure of a subjectdiscipline in a two dimensional form which is analogous to a road map. Concept maps provide a visual image of the concepts under study in a tangible form which can befocused on very easily. Emphasis can be given to different textual aspects of a mapthrough varying the accompanying symbol’s shape, colour and size. Linkages betweendifferent parts of the map can be described and emphasized with words and/or directionalarrows. Maps can be readily revised or built upon at any time as necessary. During theformulation process there is active consolidation of the concrete and preciseunderstanding of the meanings and inter-relations of concepts.
Steps in constructing concept maps
- Focus on a theme or question and then identify related key words or phrases (one to three words). You can write the words on Post-its
or separatecards so that they can be moved around and grouped.2.
– Rank or order the concepts (key words) from the broadest and mostinclusive to the most concrete and specific. Your focus question will help youidentify the most inclusive concepts. Add more concept or key words asnecessary.3.
- Cluster concepts that function at similar level and/or those thatinterrelate closely.4.
- Arrange concepts in to a diagrammatic representation. You will bestarting to build the map at this point.5.
Link and add propositions
- Link concepts with lines and label each line with a proposition ( a description of the relationship or connection between the terms).6.
– Give emphasis to and add importance to parts of the maps usingvisual devices such as colour, line thickness, directional arrows, etc.