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Research Guides

Library Undergraduate Research Award (LURA)

Examples of Reflective Topic Concept Maps (from 2018 LURA Winners)

concept map

Lina Purscher's Concept Map (Scripps College) - 2018 Library Undergraduate Research Award Winner (Music)

concept map

Dray Denson's Concept Map (Pomona) - 2018 Library Undergraduate Research Award Winner (Data Visualization)

concept map

Lena-Phuong Tran's Concept Map (Pitzer) - 2018 Library Undergraduate Research Award Winner (Senior)

concept map

Aleo Pugh's Map (Pitzer) - 2018 Library Undergraduate Research Award Winner (Junior)

What is a Reflective Topic Concept Map?

Reflective topic concept maps are a way to graphically represent and organize information and ideas and how they relate to one another. The maps may be simple designs that concisely illustrate how your project's theme evolved through the research process and how the various encounters with information, sources, and people (e.g., library staff, peers, your professors) influenced your project. Or, they can be complex structures that delineate hierarchical or multiple developmental relationships. 

Topic/concept maps are often used at the beginning of a research project to flesh out and brainstorm ideas and connections before delving into looking for sources. 

For this award, we are asking for a reflective topic concept map. This can be created during or at the end of your research project to look back and reflect on the connections and relationships you madeGoing through this creative process is a way to visually reflect on your research process and can compliment or inform your written reflective essay. 

Winners will be asked to present this reflective topic concept map of their research at the Library Undergraduate Research Award ceremony.


A sample Reflective Topic Concept Map: 

How do I begin creating my Topic Map?

Creating Diagrams or Concept Maps with Google Docs

Getting Started

The first step is to login to your Google Docs account and Create a New document.

Once this document is opened, click on the Insert menu and select 'Drawing' to get started.

Google Docs: Insert Drawing
Google Docs: Insert Drawing

A new window will appear on top of your Google Document with menus for a variety of different tools that you can use to construct your diagram - including menus to create shapes, nodes, lines and arrows.

Google Docs: Drawing node typesGoogle Docs: Drawing arrow types
Google Draw Shapes and Arrow Types

Add a Shape/Node:

  • Click on the shape icon in the menu bar.
  • Select the shape (or node) that you would like to use.
  • Click on the drawing window to display the shape in your document.
  • Use the 'handles' on the corners or sides to resize each element to meet your needs.

Add a Line or Arrow:

  • Click on the line or arrow icon in the menu bar.
  • Click on the drawing window to set the beginning point.
  • Drag your mouse and unclick to set the end point.
  • Add or change the end shapes by selecting a line (if you have more than one line on your diagram, click on the select icon in the menu bar and then select the line you want to modify).
  • Add or change the ends of the line/arrow by selecting one of the last two icons in the menu bar.

Add Text:

  • Selecting the text 'T' icon from the menu bar.
  • Clicking on the drawing window approximately where you want your text to appear.
  • Type your text into the small window and hit enter to set this into the drawing.
  • Select and move this around with your mouse or arrow keys to meet your needs.

You can also add text to an already existing shape by double clicking on the shape and then typing in the resulting text box.

Saving Your Work - Save & Close

Once your diagram or concept map is complete, you can click the 'Save & Close' button in the upper right hand corner. This will embed your drawing within the Google document that you opened in the beginning. You can then add text around this drawing as if it were an image that you uploaded to the document.

You can click on the drawing to find the 'Edit' button and update your drawing at any time.

Google Docs: Drawing save
Google Docs: Drawing Save

Saving Your Work - Saving a jpeg Image

You may also want to add an image of your drawing to something else you are working on in another application, for instance, adding your diagram to a post (you will want to resize this image so that the entire thing fits nicely into your post - so read all the way through these directions!). In this case, before you 'Save & Close' select under the 'Actions' menu > 'Download as' > JPEG.

Google Docs: Drawing save as
Google Docs: Drawing Save As

This option will allow you to save a .jpeg image of your drawing to your downloads folder on your computer.