Well, I went looking for introduction on Content Mapping and I found some interesting websites detailing concepts of “concept mapping,” software products and companies involved in this area.
After downloading some information and several demos, finally I found information on Decision Explorer software, a tool for concept mapping, from Banxia Software. As I learn by doing, I decided to go through the Decision Explorer Workbook provided by Banxia.
Even though, it is a poorly written document … typical technical document where writer forgot the “novice” user for whom the tutorial was suppose to be written. My objective wasn’t to learn Decision Explorer but to understand the process of Concept Mapping. Following is the summary of what I learnt from this document … still incomplete understanding but a good start.
- List Concept (emergent phrase).
- List Contrasting phrase (contrasting pole). Contrasting poles are important, giving more meaning to ideas, and bringing out the “shades of gray” in people’s thinking.
- Building causal model. Asking “how” and “why” questions. Explore where something might lead (why?) and what might have made it (how?) to draw out the most important ideas. It may also result in discovering that what you thought you were aiming for is really just part of a higher goal or real issue is focused somewhere else.To move up a line of argument and elicit the consequences of a particular concept, you ask “why” questions like “why is this important to me?” “why do I want to achieve this?.” To move down the model or explore the explanation beneath a particular concept, you ask “how” questions such as “how would this be achieved?” “how was that caused?.”
- Asking “why” questions takes us “up” from a concept giving us consequences, while asking “how” questions takes us “down” from a concept giving us explanations of how something might come about or what might cause a particular phenomenon.
- Create links of explanations (tails) and consequences (heads).
- This is the start of concept map model. Add more details by asking more “why” and “how” questions.
- Over time, you would have entered a large number of concepts, linking some “as you go along” and leaving other for consideration later (orphans). What you need to do is to find the orphan concepts and decide of and where they tie in with other concepts, and then add appropriate links. If they do not tie into the model then it is possible that they represent an area not fully explored or no longer relevant or have been represented elsewhere.
... to be continued.