Brainstorming Strategy: Concept Mapping

Brainstorming is the process by which ideas are produced using techniques like concept mapping, free-writing, etc. It can be used to choose a topic, narrow down a broad topic, or to broaden a too narrow topic. Choosing a topic can be a difficult process when starting an assignment, writing a paper, or working on an oral presentation.

What is Concept Mapping?

Concept mapping is a brainstorming technique that lets you visualize concepts and ideas. Also known as “mind mapping”, this technique starts with a research question or main idea, then adds branches with synonyms, related topic, keywords, and examples. The following image is an example of concept mapping. This technique can be used to generate keywords or main ideas based on your research question, and helpful in making connections between ideas.

image of concept map

For example, if you were assigned to create an oral presentation on how rock music has evolved from the latter half of the 20th century to the present, then your research question would go in the center circle and main ideas (e.g. use of technology, commercialism) would go in the adjoining circles. Next, use the main ideas to develop keywords, phrases, or connections.


Information adapted from the GVSU Library Subject Guides.

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Page last modified August 24, 2022