Concept Mapping: How to Start Your Term Paper Research (2018)

Video’s description: Concept Mapping: How to Start Your Term Paper Research

How do we start our research for a term paper? One way is to map out our ideas and identify some of our key concepts to develop  our research question. Let’s try an example now considering the topic. How do college students succeed and specifically get good grades. Let’s brainstorm about some of the factors that might affect student success at college.

One of the things we need is money and there’s several things that impact on how much money we have: jobs, loans, bursaries.

Another factor that impacts on our success at college is our outside life and some of the aspects of outside life are family and friends.

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Another idea to consider is our health. And there are several factors that can impact on our health: exercise, sleep and our nutrition. Other contributors to succeeding at college are places for help. So where can I go for help and there are several of those: libraries, writing or learning center’s are some of the places for help.

Another important consideration is our study habits. Time management is one important consideration here. Now we’ve mapped out some of the main factors affecting succeeding at college and in particular good grades. Through the process of creating a concept map we can see there are many factors that affect college student success and there are many research topics that we could develop.

Let’s pick one example and look at health and in particular sleep and how it impacts on college student success. Now we can take the idea we developed in the concept map and create a research statement. Let’s write the research statement as “I want to find information on whether there is a connection between sleep and the grades obtained by college students”. Let’s look at it closer. The major ideas in the sentence are the building blocks we will use to research our topic: sleep, grades, college students. Each of these words identifies a concept we will search. Let’s now take these concepts and brainstorm about some synonyms or words that mean the same thing.

The first concept “sleep” (or sleep deprivation) and we want to build that with “grades”. We could also try the word success truncated to find the word success or successes. And why don’t we also try the phrase “academic performance” which also refers to student success. And we’ll build that with an and college students or students. We can now take the search statement and bring it to the database and try researching for this topic. This gives you some ideas on how you can use concept mapping to start your term paper research.