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Refined concept map is a development on the traditional concept maps.

In the refined concept maps we provide a constraint set of linking words along with the seed concepts and instruct the mapper to use the linking words from the given set only. This would enable the mapper to use the linking words unambiguously and thus would help to validate the hierarchy in the concept map.

Contents

Rationale

In a given domain of knowledge the concepts present are large in number (often thousands). By contrast, the linking words (relation types) that connect these concepts are few in number. Meaning resides in the form of relations, and helps to organize knowledge.

The concept map is a tool that helps to organize knowledge for meaningful learning. The linking words that are used to connect concepts provide meanings for the proposition and hence the domain of knowledge. Therefore it is essential that the linking words have to be semantically accurate and valid. Since there is usually freedom in the usage of linking words, these are basically adopted from the natural language and are used arbitrarily. As a result the maps become ambiguous in their representation. It is known that formal scientific knowledge is precise, rigorous, consistent and parsimonious in representation. When concept maps are used to represent scientific knowledge, it becomes important to apply the above criteria so that the domain is accurately represented. Since linking the word is an important element in a concept map, we have to focus on the appropriate usage of them. This would help in resolving the ambiguities and inconsistencies that a concept map can have and help to bring rigor in representing the scientific knowledge.

The refined concept mapping methodology proposes to use a constraint set of linking words while constructing the maps for a given domain. The linking words are also in correspondence in the kinds of semantic relationships such as part-whole, class-inclusion, spatial-inclusion, etc. A few of these are part of, belongs to, located in, etc. It is to be noted that when a particular kind of linking word is used, it is to be applied consistently throughout the map. With these criteria, the maps would lead to a representation of scientific knowledge in a rigorous, unambiguous, consistent and parsimonious nature.

The proposal of a constraint set of linking words (relation types) in the refined concept mapping methodology also seems parallels with the research on relations used in Open Bio-Medical Ontologies. The relation ontology applied in OBO, RO, GO, FMA, etc. follows a minimal set of relations (properties) to connect to concepts (classes).

Set of Linking Words (Relation Types)

The following is a set of linking words (relation types) that are encouraged to use while constructing refined concept maps:

Dimension Relation Types
Part-whole consists of /part of
made of
composed of
contained in / contains
Class-inclusion includes / belongs to
classified into
divided into
Spatial-inclusion surrounded by / surrounds
enveloped by / envelops
covered by / covers
located in / locates
adjacent to
connected to
overlaps
wound around
bound by
occurs as
is the site for
Function has function
Attributes has nature
has size
has shape
has color
has property
Examples example
instance of

Examples of Refined Concept Map

A Refined Concept Map on "Cell Structure and Function" created using CmapTool.

A Refined Concept Map on "Cell Structure and Function" created Using IHMC CmapTools

Research Publications on Refined Concept Map

Researchers in the area of Refined Concept Maps

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