By: Mark Hardigan
Every concept map possesses four core elements:
a) Patterns – the overall structure of the map, e.g a circular, central hub structure; a top-down hierarchical structure, a mandala, a flow chart pattern, and so on.
b) Nodes – the geometric shapes such as ovals or rectangles used to represent the individual concepts. Often these nodes are colour coded to signify importance of or relationships between the various concepts
c) Connector Links - the lines, arrows, curves used to indicate the relationships between concept nodes. Often a solid line is used to show a distinct relationship; an arrow refers to a causal relationship; while a dotted line shows a weaker, secondary relationship. An arc often represents a circular flow between concepts. (Sur: usually there is an arrow direction at the link.).
d) Connector words – help to clarify the relationships between concept nodes. Common connector words include: based on, controlled by, including, may lead to, recognizes, part of, next step, recognizes, validates, stored in. Your concept maps will also feature a fifth characteristic – meaningful wee graphics or icons to help illustrate the main concepts.