Concept mapping is a way to brainstorm, record ideas, and see connections between topics. Concept mapping helps our Cancer Action Councils create a visual design, picture, or diagram, of the thinking they are engaged in so they can fully explore and refocus the research ideas easily. Use this concept mapping exercise to allows council members to “free-think” along the way to the development of a research question.
Working in small groups, council members write down research topic areas and draw a circle around the main idea. Thinking freely, they write or mark any and all related words, concepts, or symbols outside the circle. HealthLink Specialists encourage council members to write anything they can think of that is even remotely related to the topic idea. Next, the small groups use lines to connect these items to the main idea and to groups of related ideas. Group members are then able to use the key themes and concepts that emerge as the beginning of a research question.