Mapping your topic

Once you have completed your background reading, the next step is to create a concept map (sometimes called a mind map). This will help to expand your topic beyond the words or concepts provided in the question and clarify your thinking.

Your tutor can advise if your concepts and ideas are on the right track.

Below is an example of a concept map for our topic about artificial intelligence in university libraries.

Example concept map

Our example assignment topic

"Discuss how the development of artificial intelligence will impact University Libraries in the next 5 years."

An example concept map. In the centre is a circle with our topic: 'Impact of artificial intelligence on university libraries'. Arrows come out of the circle pointing to 3 smaller circles, each of which contains a concept related to the topic - they are 'artificial intelligence', 'libraries' and 'universities'. Each of these concepts is then considered for related concepts in the same way. In this example the three concepts are further treated as follows: 'artificial intelligence' has the related concept 'development', which in turn gets the related concepts of 'cost' and 'technology'; 'libraries' has the related concepts of 'staff' and 'budget'; and finally, 'universities' has the related concepts of 'teaching', 'research' and 'budget'. Note that 'libraries' and 'universities' share a related concept of 'budget'.

For more help see HiQ: Mapping your ideas.