Understanding the structure of propositions and the hierarchical organization of concept maps are a good step towards constructing good concept maps. But there is more. Lets continue by looking at an example of a badly constructed concept map.

Consider the following text, adapted from Wikipedia:

Sports are usually competitive physical activities or games that aim to improve physical ability and skills. They take place through casual or organized participation, and intend to provide enjoyment to participants, and entertainment for spectators.

If we try to copy the text literally onto a concept map, we could end up with a concept map like this:



Sports 1 (bad Cmap)
Sports (1) - not a good Cmap 



The Cmap looks reasonable, and it reads very much like the text. So what is wrong with it? Why is it not a good concept map?

First, lets look at the propositional structure of the concept map -- that is, lets analyze the propositions. In the next exercise, select the propositions that make sense, according to what we studied about propositions earlier in this tutorial. 

Lets look at each of the propositions:

  1. Sports are usually competitive Physical Activities

    This proposition is correct. Two concepts, with a linking phrase that includes a verb (are), that makes sense by itself. It could be improved if we separate Competitive as a separate concept, e.g., Sports are Physical Activities, Physical Activities are usually Competitive, but its acceptable as it is. We also could have used "Usually Competitive Physical Activity" as a concept. 

  2. Physical Activities or Games

    This proposition does not make sense by itself. "Or" is not a proper linking phrase. The problem is that Games and Physical Activities should be at the same hierarchical level, and the linking words are usually competitive should link to Games and to Physical Activities.

  3. Games that aim to improve Physical Ability

    This proposition is almost correct. Because it was constructed directly from the text, the word that is not needed. The linking words aim to improve by themselves make more sense.

  4. Physical Ability and Skills.

    As in Proposition #2, this proposition is badly constructed. Both concepts Physical Ability and Skills should be at the same hierarchical level. Notice that because of the way the concept map is constructed, its not clear enough that Physical Activities aim to improve Skills, which should be a proposition in the Cmap.

  5. Sports take place through Casual Participation

    This proposition is well constructed. it makes sense on its own.

  6. Casual Participation or Organized Participation

    By now you probably have figured out that this is a problem of hierarchy, as in proposition #4 above: the two concepts should be at the same hierarchical level.

  7. Sports intend to provide Enjoyment to Participants

    This proposition is correct.

  8. Enjoyment to Participants and Entertainment for Spectators

    Once again, a problem with the hierarchy.

Click here to continue with the tutorial

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