- 1- The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct Them1Technical Report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01 Joseph D. Novak Professor Emeritus, Cornell University and Senior Research Scientist Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) Alberto J. Cañas Associate Director Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) www.ihmc.usIntroduction Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts. Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts. We define concept asa perceived regularity in events or objects, or records of events or objects, designated by a label.The label for most concepts is a word, although sometimes we use symbols such as + or %, and sometimes more than one word is used. Propositions arestatements about some object or event in the universe, either naturally occurring or constructed. Propositions contain two or more concepts connected using linking words or phrases to form a meaningful statement.Sometimes these are called semantic units, or units of meaning. Figure 1 shows an example of a concept map that describes the structure of concept maps and illustrates the above characteristics. Another characteristic of concept maps is that the concepts are represented in a hierarchical fashion with the most inclusive, most general concepts at the top of the map and the more specific, less general concepts arranged hierarchically below. The hierarchical structure for a particular domain of knowledge also depends on the context in which that knowledge is being applied or considered. Therefore, it is best to construct concept maps with reference 1Revised March 29, 2006. Cite as: “Novak, J. D. & A. J. Cañas, The Theory Underlying Concept Maps and How to Construct Them, Technical Report IHMC CmapTools 2006-01, Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition, 2006, available at: http://cmap.ihmc.us/Publications/ResearchPapers/TheoryUnderlyingConceptMaps.pdf
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