An introduction to concept mapping for planning and evaluation

An introduction to concept mapping for planning and evaluation

Guide to creating and implementing conceptual mapping

Concept mapping is a type of structured theory which can be used by groups to develop a conceptual framework to guide evaluation or planning. This paper describes the steps involved in the process, considers major methodological issues and problems, and discusses computer programmes which can be used to accomplish the process.

The paper details six steps in the mapping process:

  • Preparation:deciding who will be participating and the specific focus of the conceptualisation
  • Generation of statements:generating a set of statements which ideally should represent the entire conceptual domain for the chosen topic - can be best achieved through brainstorming ideas which are then edited for clarity
  • Structuring of statements:relating the statements to one another - typically, obtaining information about interrelationships using an unstructured card sorting procedure
  • Representation of statements:establishing a way to portray the conceptual domain - this involves locating each statement as a separate point on a map, partitioning into clusters then constructing maps to overlay the average ratings
  • Interpretation of maps:grouping together different types of maps (cluster, point etc) which are all related to each other and are simply reflecting different sides of the same underlying conceptual phenomenon
  • Utilisation of maps:uses of the map are limited only by the creativity and motivation of the group - examples of concept map use include using it as the framework for an outline of a planning report, or as an organising device for operationalising and implementing programmes.