Answered By: Kealin McCabe
Last Updated: Sep 23, 2020     Views: 2

A concept map allows you to visualize your research, a means for breaking down a broad topic into its major concepts. They are very useful in allowing you to flesh out what it is that you actually want to know. It is the best way to organize your research and to execute a search strategy. This FAQ is accompanied by a video at the end.

 

Step One: Begin by identifying the major concepts within your research topic and the synonyms or alternative terms. Mapping it out can help you to focus your area of interest making it easier to search. Here is an example of a concept map where I have narrowed my area of focus from the "impact of global warming on vulnerable populations" to "the impact of global warming on women's health". You do not have to search each and every term. This is just a helpful process to assist you in focusing your area of interest.

Step Two: ‚ÄčNow we need to translate this into a search string. Anything within the same colour pallet will be searched using the Boolean operator OR.  We will then join our concepts together using the Boolean operator AND.

Step 3: Try putting it into action in a database. Here's what it will look like when you search in a database like Academic Search Complete.

All of the results searched will deal with our concepts relating to the impact of Global warming on women's health.

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