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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Communication 101

Library information and resources for CMN 101 classes.

Printable Handouts

How to Create a Concept Map

Step 1:

  • Write the topic for your paper in the box at the top.
  • Circle the keywords (main ideas) for your topic. These can be single words or phrases and are usually nouns.

Step 2:

  • Write your keywords in the three boxes in the middle of the page, putting each word in a separate box.
  • For each of your keywords, add alternative keywords in the box. The alternative keywords will be synonyms, or other ways to describe aspects of your topic. If you have trouble thinking of alternative keywords, consult a thesaurus to get started.

Step 3:

  • Add the subject areas related to your topic. Consider which majors or professions might be interested in writing about your topic. This will help you identify possible databases to search.

Step 4:

  • Use the UGL's Find Articles Guide to identify potential databases to search for articles about your topic. 
  • Use the keywords you have identified as well as alternatives you thought of to search for articles relating to your topic. You can start with one of the "Starting Points" listed at the top of the page, such as Academic Search Ultimate.