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MUS450: Senior Seminar: Creating a Concept Map

This guide will assist students enrolled in MUS450: Senior Seminar.

Creating a Concept Map of Your Thesis

  1. Draw a circle in the middle of a blank piece of paper. Inside the circle, put an idea for your paper topic. If you’re not sure what to write, start by connecting keywords from the paper prompt with something you are passionate about. For example, if the paper is on theology and you are interested in feminism, you might start with “GRAPHIC NOTATION.”
  2. Next, take 2-3 minutes to brainstorm as many questions as you can about the topic. Write down questions for everything you’re curious about. Experiment with a variety of question words and phrases: Who? What? When? Where? Why? Under what circumstances?
  3. Now, look for opportunities to build on your questions. For example, you might think about your question from a variety of perspectives or divide broad questions into narrow ones.
  4. You can continue narrowing your topic by asking questions about cultural aspects, geographic areas, groups of people, time spans, and historical events.
  5. Now review your topic map. Which questions are you most passionate about? Which ones have the most potential to address your thesis?

Mapping your Research Ideas

“Mapping Your Research Ideas.”  YouTube video, 2:52.  Posted by "UCLA Library," September 9, 2014