Most research is designed to forge ahead and make new meaning. The standard literature review is an exercise in reinventing the wheel.
While it is true that a standard, individual literature review is a useful learning excercise for that particular student, it has seemed to me that there ought to be a way to increase the power and usefulness of this work.
Inevitably, some of the literature reviews done by graduate students are going to be concerned with the same topics as literature reviews done by previous graduate students. If these literature reviews were combined, it should result in a more comprehensive, and thus more powerful, look at the topic in question.
This document is an initial experiment in collaborative literature review. It contains a general overview of concept mapping, a review of concept mapping related articles in the Third International Misconceptions Proceedings, and a review which places concept mapping in the larger context of metacognitive tools.
The first article originally appeared as part of the literature review section of Robert Abrams' Master's Thesis. The second article is written by Denise Kothe, a Misconceptions Seminar staff member. I asked Denise to write this article in part as an attempt to implement the Bibliographic Search Assistance System described in The Originist, a science fiction story in the Friends of Foundation collection. The final article originally appeared as part of the literature review section of Rick Iuli's Dissertation Proposal.
The authors of this review welcome additional participants. Please let us know how we can make this document more useful to you. I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
This study employs concept mapping as developed by Joseph Novak as a way of capturing a picture of the participants' understanding of the portal concept. (See (Novak 1977), and (Novak and Gowin 1984)). Please see Figure 1 below for an example of a concept map.
Figure 1. A Basic Concept Map in the Classic Novakian Style.
The basic Novakian concept map, as depicted above, usually starts with a general concept at the top of the map, and then works its way down through a hierarchical structure to more specific concepts. Concepts are placed in a box, while linking words are not. Lines are drawn from a concept to a linking word to a concept. Sequences of concepts and linking words do not always form grammatically correct sentences. This style is very simple and elegant. One can express complex and powerful ideas with a minimum of graphic elements. This, of course, does not prevent one from constructing maps with different shape boxes, lines of different colors, multiple fonts, and other fancy features, so long as one makes an effort to avoid the mapping equivalent of 'chart junk': graphics where the very fanciness and impressiveness of the graphic impedes the viewer's ability to clearly understand the information the graphic is trying to convey.
Personally, I prefer a concept mapping style somewhat more flexible than the Classic Novakian. I have found that some concept maps work best if they start with a specific idea and work their way out to a more general idea. I feel that some conceptual relationships are dynamic, rather than hierarchical, so that strings of concepts which link into each other in a circular pattern are quite acceptable. The important principle, regardless of which style one chooses, is to construct clear concept maps. The concept mapper should ask herself, 'Who is this map for?' If the map is for herself, shorthand concepts are fine. If the map is intended to be read by others, she should take extra care to choose the words which most accurately describe her ideas.
Related to the issue of the graphic style of the concept map, the concept mapper also needs to ask herself, 'How much of her knowledge should she attempt to represent in the concept map?' Taylor has commented that "the exercise of mapping attempts to discipline this ecological unruliness [of real systems in nature], but without suppressing it." (Taylor 1990, p. 96) Regardless of the subject domain, there will always be many ideas which interrelate to each other. I take it as a given that there will always be new ways which can be found to pack ever more information into a concept map and still express the ideas clearly, but such ever-more-packing should not be a concept mapper's only objective. First, even if there are ways to pack more information into a concept map, it doesn't mean that everyone can (after all, just because someone can run a sub-four minute mile, this doesn't mean that I have any reasonable hope of doing so.) Second, there will always be information which will not fit into the map. In addition to Taylor's suggestion of disciplining conceptual unruliness without suppressing it, the concept mapper might also want to consider Aristotle's principle of unity of action: What is the main idea of the concept map, and does each concept that appears have a necessary role in making that idea clear?
In my experience, there are two schools of Novakian concept mapping. One school says that concept maps are useful to test a student's understanding of a specific topic. This school also holds that it is possible to construct an 'expert' map, and grade a student's map by determining how closely the student's map matches the expert map. The other school argues that concept maps are useful primarily for the creator of the map. The process of concept mapping gives the student a structured space in which to reflect upon a specific topic. In doing so, the student should be able to clarify her ideas about that topic.
While I feel that both schools have validity, I lean towards the latter school. One reason to be leery of the expert map model is that "the metaphor of a map [should] not [be] intended to connote a scaled-down representation of reality, but instead a map [should] serve as a guide for further inquiry or action - to show the way." (Taylor 1990, p. 99) The expert model leaves the reader more prone to accept the map as reality. "Maps [also] work by serving interests." (Wood 1992, p. 4) What interests are the experts serving by creating their maps? This service is not necessarily bad, but in a framework where students are asked to construct their own knowledge, it is incumbent upon us, when we are placed in the role of teacher-as-expert, to examine the consequences of the map beyond the page.
Concept mapping was originally developed as a way of "determining how changes in conceptual understanding were occurring in the students" [who were participating in a study of children's understanding of basic science concepts]. The researchers "began to search for better ways to organize the mass of data ... [from] large numbers of recorded interviews and typed interview transcripts." (Novak 1990, p. 937)
While concept mapping was first developed as a way of diagramming science concepts, the technique has been used in a wide variety of other fields.
Leahy used concept maps to help his students understand literature. "When this method [concept mapping] is applied to literature, characters, action, and symbols are the concepts. Given a map before reading, a student has a direction in which to travel, signs to consider along the way, and a destination to achieve. After reading, students can draw a map of what they have read, thought, and felt. On one page, students can condense their reading experience and give descriptions of their trip to others." (Leahy 1989, p. 62) Moreover, concept maps are valuable not just so that students can give descriptions of their trip to others, but so that they do. Moreira was on the mark when she wrote that "some teachers like to talk, and talk about the texts, and the students just sit there busying themselves taking notes. This monologue or soliloquy should be avoided: students must participate with their own opinions and views on the matter. The meanings should be shared in a dialogue." (Moreira 1977, p. 97) This emphasis on sharing meaning through dialogue is one reason why I have been focusing on theatre as education: theatre is a medium designed to be participatory.
Concept maps can be effective for affective, as well as cognitive, instructional objectives. Jegede et al found in a study of biology learning that "there was a tendency for the concept mapping strategy to significantly reduce anxiety towards biology achievement in males." ((Jegede, Alaiyemola et al. 1990, p. 956) They suggest that "anxiety, a situation of foreboding, which has been found to affect learning (Tobias 1979; Fraser, Nash et al. 1983; Novak, Gowin et al. 1983; Okebukola and Jegede 1989), is certainly one of the pressures which exert considerable influence on learners' intellectual competence and performance (Baird 1986). ... The ability of the learner to control, determine, and make decisions about 'the how' and pace of what is learned confers on the learner the advantage of shaking free from the pressures which would otherwise impede meaningful learning." (Jegede, Alaiyemola et al. 1990, p. 957)
Finally, while concept mapping is often used to help a person make explicit or create her individual understanding, concept mapping has also been used to help people develop their understanding as a group. Heeren & Collis have described three possible approaches to cooperative concept mapping using their computer network-based concept mapping program. These approaches include sending concept map documents back and forth, where each person works on the map individually; asynchronous conferencing, where more than one person can work on the same document at the same time, but each person can only access one sub-concept map at a time, and the sub-concept map being accessed can not be viewed by others until the first person is done; and "synchronous conferencing, [where] all group members access the document at the same time and their screens have the same display, but there is only one cursor or pointer, that is controlled by members in turn." (Heeren and Collis 1993, p. 119)
Amidst all of the research that has been done in the field of education, concept mapping has emerged as the latest success in a series of new teaching strategies. Developed by Joseph Novak and Bob Gowin and outlined in detail in their book, Learning How to Learn, "the use of the concept map is the most notable method of depicting the relationship between concepts today" (Novak and Gowin 1984). Using this premise as a basis for further investigations, researchers began to analyze various further applications of concept maps. Of the articles contained in the Third International Misconceptions Proceedings, three general applications of concept mapping are examined. These applications include the use of concept mapping to: (1) facilitate meaningful learning by providing a means for students to draw together the concepts they have learned in a resourceful and integral manner. (2) be used as an evaluative tool instead of the currently used standard examinations. (3) facilitate learning as part of a electronic/multimedia based instructional tool. There are other articles in the Proceedings as well, which include information about the most effective methodology known to teach children to concept map (Ahlberg 1993; Moreira and Motta 1993), and the use of concept maps in various research projects (Farrokh 1993; Jones and Vesilind 1993; Moreira and Motta 1993; Shymansky and Matthews 1993). An excellent article which overviews the structural theory behind the concept map is the article written by Joseph Novak, "Meaningful Learning: The Essential Factor for Conceptual Change in Limited or Inappropriate Propositional Hierarchies (LIPHs) Leading to Empowerment of Learners." (Novak 1993) This article explains the theory and design of the concept map and is a valuable source of primary information.
The fundamentals of concept mapping are based on Ausubel¹s learning theory which in itself "is based on the assumption that meaningful learning occurs when new concepts are linked to familiar concepts existing in the learner¹s cognitive structure" and can be applied to all subject matter. The connections that concept maps facilitate not only allow students to draw associations amongst the main concepts being presented, but also generate greater retention, application, and understanding. The use of concept maps is becoming more widespread in the areas of science and mathematics education. Researchers have found that the concept map should be recommended "as means of producing meaningful learning in the analysis of scientific articles as well as enhancing the integration of theory and practice" (Peled, Barenholz et al. 1993) and is also an effective means of "bridging the gap between conceptual and procedural knowledge" (Khan 1993). The following authors have submitted articles published in the Proceedings which reference the use of concept maps to enhance and assess the students conceptual understanding: (Baldissera 1993; González 1993; Khan 1993; Markham, Mintzes et al. 1993; Peled, Barenholz et al. 1993; Tveita 1993; Vázquez and Caraballo 1993; von Minden and Nardi 1993).
Although there is a general consensus in favor of the use of concept maps in the classroom to facilitate learning, there is some disparity as to whether concept maps should be used as an evaluative technique. While some researchers believe that the use of a concept map in evaluating the level of understanding of the student is more effective than standardized testing, others believe that the concept map should be used strictly as a teaching device due the difficulties that arrive when a concept map is to be assessed for work quality and understanding and given an appropriate grade. Articles in the Proceedings under this heading include those by (Liu and Hinchey 1993; Lomask, Baron et al. 1993; Wilson 1993).
As we approach the twentieth century with an increase in the use of electronic media in schools, the concept map will no longer be projected on paper, but will enter the technological era as well. Two particular articles, one by Lucido (Lucido 1993) who discusses the use of concept maps and interactive video as a teaching tool, and the other by DeGroot (De Groot 1993), who discusses the use of concept maps and other media resources to construct new teaching techniques for all levels of learners, investigate this new level of teaching and learning which may be more effective and conducive to different learning styles.
The above information was generated from the many articles listed in the Third International Misconceptions Proceedings. In order to utilize the wealth of information contained in these Proceedings regarding concept mapping, use the Find Function under the Find Menu and type FIND WHOLE "Concept Mapping" at the prompt. This search will generate the articles in the Proceedings which contain information regarding concept mapping. Press RETURN each time the term "concept mapping" is highlighted in the box. By doing this, you will be searching through the articles in the Proceedings which have the term "concept mapping" contained in them.
Griffith (Griffith 1991) presented evidence that concept maps have the potential to help scientists more readily see how their individual research projects fit together in a global, interdisciplinary project. He interviewed Cornell scientists involved in the Controlled Environment in Agriculture (CEA) program and created a hypercard document to show the complex knowledge frameworks required to understand optimal growth of tomatoes under CEA. Ford et al. (Ford, Canas et al. 1991) also showed concept mapping to be a useful tool for designing an expert knowledge base in the interdisciplinary field of nuclear cardiology.
The use of the Vee heuristic has shown that both teachers and students have at best only a vague understanding of how knowledge is produced. A study by Kerr (Kerr 1988) indicates that even outstanding research scientists have not articulated the relationship between their own learning activities and their activities as researchers constructing new knowledge. Kerr studied the relationship between learning and research among a group of female scientists at Cornell University and described how their research is instrumental in their continued new learning. The female scientists experienced a very substantial change in their approach to learning in going from students to researchers.
Achterberg, Novak and Gillispie (Achterberg, Novak et al. 1985) employed the Vee heuristic as a planning tool for research in nutrition education. Palmer, working in the field of plant pathology, has constructed a concept map for her research showing that clear linkages between some concepts could not be clearly established (Novak and Iuli 1994). By identifying these gaps in knowledge she has formulated six focus questions that will serve to guide her research. The results from the experiments she designs and conducts may help to clarify potential relationships among concepts and fill in gaps in the knowledge base.
A fundamental problem of conducting interdisciplinary research and working in a group is communication and arriving at a shared understanding among members of the group. The use of clinical interviews, concept maps and Vee diagrams have been successful in identifying problem areas, shortening the time to conceptualize a new product, and consensus building within organizational hierarchies (Fraser 1993; Novak and Iuli 1994). Bennett and Fraser (Bennett and Fraser 1990) found that concept maps constructed following a "strategic plan lecture" by the Vice President of the plastic products division of Kodak Corporation were strongly divergent among the Vice President and other persons in the organization . Lower level managers, product coordinators, and on-line workers heard different things and held very different conceptual frameworks. According to the research scientists in the CEA project interviewed by Griffith, communication of research findings among researchers in different fields is hindered by "the nature of scientific inquiry" (Griffith 1991, p. 31) and that concept maps may be useful for facilitating comunication among members of a research project. Fraser (Fraser 1993) used clinical interviews and concept maps of these interviews to show that there are wide discrepencies between upper management views of the organization and other individuals "lower down" in the organizational hierarchy.
A tangible outcome of Griffith's (Griffith 1991) work with research scientists in the Controlled Environment in Agriculture Program was a hypercard stack of concept maps integrated with text showing the key conceptual links among an interdisciplinary knowledge base required to grow tomatoes under controlled environments.
Gowin developed a heuristic known as Vee diagramming (Gowin 1981; Novak and Gowin 1984) to show the elements and processes involved in the construction of knowledge. All twelve elements shown on the Vee are important and function together in the construction of new knowledge. Too often researchers fail to explicate ideas on the conceptual or theoretical "left side" of the Vee, especially operative theories, philosophy, and world view, with the result that the research becomes "method-driven" or "theory-emerging" rather than "theory-driven" (Novak and Gowin 1984). Method-driven research can refine answers to existing questions but seldom results in new ways to look at events, new events that need to be researched, new questions to ask, and new kinds of records or record transformations that might be employed (Achterberg, Novak et al. 1985). Moreover, without clarification of philosophy (the beliefs about the nature of knowledge and knowing guiding the inquiry) and world view (the general belief system motivating and guiding the inquiry), members of a research group may work at cross purposes because each is likely to have differing world views and philosophies (Fraser 1993).
Achterberg, C. L., J. D. Novak, et al. (1985). "Theory-driven Research as a Means to Improve Nutrition Education." Journal of Nutrition Education 17(5): 179-184.
Ahlberg, M. (1993). Concept Maps, Vee Diagrams and Rhetorical Argumentation Analysis (RAA) : Three Educational Theory-based Tools to Facilitate Meaningful Learning. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Ausubel, D., J. D. Novak, et al. (1978). Educational Psychology: A Cognitive View. New York, NY, Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Baird, J. R. (1986). "Improving learning through enhanced metacognition: a classroom study." European Journal of Science Education 8(3): 263-282.
Baldissera, J. A. (1993). Misconceptions Of Revolution In History Textbooks and Their Effects On Meaningful Learning. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Bennett, P. W. and K. Fraser (1990). Using Concept Maps to Improve Communication Effectiveness at Kodak. Department of Education. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University.
Buchweitz, B. B. (1981). An Epistemological Analysis of Curriculum and an Assessment of Concept Learning in Physics Laboratory. Department of Education. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University.
Chen, H.-H. (1980). Relevance of Gowin's Structure of Knowledge and Ausubel's Learning Theory to a Method for Improving Physics Laboratory Instructions. Department of Education. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University.
De Groot, S. S. (1993). Concept Mapping with computer support, laser disc and graphics applied to Microbiology. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Donn, J. S. (1990). The Relationship Between Student Learning Approach and Student Understanding and Use of Gowin's Vee in a College Level Biology Course Following Computer Tutorial Instruction. Department of Education. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University.
Edmondson, K. M. (1985). College Students' Conceptions of Their Responsibilities for Learning. Department of Education. Ithaca, NY, Cornell Univerity.
Farrokh, K. (1993). A Connectionist Approach to Information Transfer Between Short-Term and Long-Term Memory: Suggestions For Instruction, Counselling and Research. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Ford, K., A. Canas, et al. (1991). ICONKAT: An integrated constructivist knowledge acquisition tool. Knowledge Acquisition: 3, 215-236.
Fraser, B. J., R. Nash, et al. (1983). "Anxiety in science classrooms: its measurement and relationship to classroom environment." Research in Science and Technological Education 1(2): 201-208.
Fraser, K. (1993). Theory Based Use of Concept Mapping in Organization Development: Creating Shared Understanding as a Basis for the Cooperative Design of Work Changes and Changes in Working Relationships. Department of Education. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University.
Fuata'i, K. A. (1985). Use of Vee Maps and Concept Maps in the Learning of Form Five Mathematics in Samoa College, Western Samoa. Department of Education. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University.
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Heeren, E. and B. Collis (1993). "Design Considerations for Telecommunications-Supported Cooperative Learning Environments: Concept Mapping as a "Telecooperation Support Tool." Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia 4(2): 107-128.
Jegede, O. J., F. F. Alaiyemola, et al. (1990). "The Effect of Concept Mapping on Students' Anxiety and Achievement in Biology." Journal of Research in Science Teaching 27(10): 951-960.
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Khan, K. M. (1993). Concept Mapping as a Strategy for Teaching and Developing the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) Mathematics Curriculum in a Secondary School. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Leahy, R. (1989). "Concept Mapping: Developing Guides to Literature." College Teaching 37(2): 62-69.
Levandowski, C. E. (1981). Epistemology of a Physics Laboratory on Electricity and Magnetism. Department of Education. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University.
Liu, X. and M. Hinchey (1993). The Validity and Reliability of Concept Mapping as an Alternative Science Assessment. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Lomask, M. S., J. B. Baron, et al. (1993). Assessing Conceptual Understanding in Science through the Use of Two- and Three Dimensional Concept Maps. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Lucido, P. (1993). Concept Maps and Interactive Video. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Markham, K. M., J. J. Mintzes, et al. (1993). The Structure and Use of Biological Knowledge about Mammals in Novice and Experienced Students. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Moreira, M. A. and A. M. B. Motta (1993). Concept Mapping in 7th Grade Mathematics: An Exploratory Study. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Moreira, M. M. (1977). The Learning Theory of David Ausubel as an Alternative Framework for Organizing the Teaching of Language and Literature. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University.
Moreira, M. M. (1988). The Use of Concept Maps and the Five Questions in a Brazilian Foreign Language Classroom: Effects on Communications. Department of Education. Ithaca, NY, Cornell University.
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Novak, J. D. (1987). Human Constructivism: Toward a Unity of Psychological and Epistemological Meaning Making. Proceedings of the Second International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics Education, Ithaca, NY.
Novak, J. D. (1990). "Concept Maps and Vee Diagrams: Two Metacognitive Tools for Science and Mathematics Education." Instructional Science 19: 29-52.
Novak, J. D. (1993). Meaningful Learning: The Essential Factor for Conceptual Change in Limited or Inappropriate Propositional Hierarchies (LIPHs) Leading to Empowerment of Learners. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Novak, J. D. and D. B. Gowin (1984). Learning how to Learn. Cambridge, England, Cambridge University Press.
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Novak, J. D. and R. J. Iuli (1994). The Use of Metacognitive Tools to Facilitate Knowledge Production. Florida AI Research Symposium, Pensacola Beach, Florida.
Okebukola, P. A. O. and O. J. Jegede (1989). "Students' anxiety towards and perception of difficulty of some biological concepts under the concept mapping heuristic." Research in Science and Technological Education 7(1): 85-92.
Peled, L., H. Barenholz, et al. (1993). Concept Mapping and Gowin's Categories As Heuristics Devices, In Scientific Reading Of High School Students. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Shymansky, J. and C. Matthews (1993). FOCUS ON CHILDREN'S IDEAS ABOUT SCIENCE - An Integrated Program of Instructional Planning and Teacher Enhancement from the Constructivist Perspective. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Taylor, P. (1990). Mapping Ecologists' Ecologies of Knowledge. Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association, East Lansing, Michigan, Philosophy of Science Association.
Tobias, S. (1979). "Anxiety research in educational psychology." Journal of Educational Psychology 71(5): 573-582.
Tveita, J. (1993). Helping Middle School Students to learn the Kinetic Particle Model. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Vázquez, O. V. and J. N. Caraballo (1993). Meta-Analysis Of the Effectiveness Of Concept Mapping As a Learning Strategy In Science Education. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. von Minden, A. M. and A. H. Nardi (1993). Mind Fields: Negotiating Shared Meanings via Concept Maps. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Wilson, J. M. (1993). The Predictive Validity Of Concept-Mapping: Relationships To Measures Of Achievement. The Proceedings of the Third International Seminar on Misconceptions and Educational Strategies in Science and Mathematics, Ithaca, NY, Misconceptions Trust. Wood, D. (1992). The Power of Maps. New York, Guileford Press.
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