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Concept Mapping [traditional]

DEFINITION of the traditional Concept Mapping


„The term “concept mapping” is a method for the graphic representation of knowledge structures. Within concept maps concepts are represented by terms provided with terms and the interrelated relationships by relations placed on the edges. The graphs thus represented are directed and the nature of the relations is specified by designations. Concept maps are characterized by their network character and can – but need not – be hierarchically structured (…).“

Gehl, 2013


The diagram shows that a concept map is created by connecting terms (eg 'concepts', left) via relations (eg 'stand for', left center). This representation does not correspond to the representation in CogniLink. The 'traditional' representation serves only to explain the Concept Mapping origins.

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Gehl (2013) – Concept Map on Concept Maps

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Presentation of a further developed concept map created with CogniLink

Concept Mapping
[advanced, CogniLink-Base]

The form of the Concept Map, shown on the left, is also a conceptual system (here, the research topic natural cosmetics) consisting of terms (nodes) and relations (connecting lines). Instead of the inscribed relations (arrows) between the terms, the creators have the option to choose between non-directed connections of one to three line thicknesses (thickness of the connecting lines) in order to demonstrate the strength of the dependency of the terms. Blue terms were available to the survey participant by the administrator of the study, gray terms were added themselves.


The starting point of a concept map is always a central term (your research subject). The terms in the network around it can take the following representation components depending on the research / study topic:


e.g. Trademark associations


e.g. Subcomponents

Worlds of knowledge

other representation components

From Concept Maps to Consensus Map
[the three phases of the method]

In addition to the specific type of visualization, the consensus mapping method (originally brand concept mapping | BCM) is based on a clear methodological approach. This approach is divided into three phases:

Survey phase

In this phase the associations like brand ascociations are identified. The identification is carried out by the researcher, e.g. via a conventional survey tool, interviews or focus group discussions. For CogniLink, this means that you must already have collected 10 - 20 items before you start administering a survey. The collected associations (with short definitions / descriptions) will be made available to the participants of the study for the creation of the concept maps - including a brief introduction to the topic of the research work and a guide to the creation of the concept map as well as possible hints on restrictions.

Mapping phase

In this mapping phase, the students present their individual comprehension of the knowledge area graphically. This means each student creates his own concept map. With CogniLink, your study participants create their concept maps in an intuitive tool and have their own testimony much more fun and joy than in a traditional survey.

Consensus aggregation

In this phase, the individual concept maps are condensed into the final consensus map. Special rules apply. These are described in detail in the methodology guide that you receive with the tool. CogniLink makes all these evaluation steps fully automatic and generates your consensus map(s) using a turning point you can select.

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Consensus Map on Natural Cosmetics

The Specials

Reduction to the essentials

Presentation of the key associations of the research subject.


Determination of relations between the associations.

Clear Visualization

Associations and relationships are visualized.

Easy Communication

Results and knowledge are easy to communicate and easily interpretable.

Scientific Basis | Inventor of the Consensus Mapping Method

John et al. (2006) have developed the brand concept mapping methodology. Schnittka et al. (2012) and French et al. (2013) have expanded the method. John, Deborah Roedder, Loken, Barbara, Kim, Kyeongheui and Monga, Alokparna Basu (2006): Brand Concept Maps: A Methodology for Identifying Brand Association Networks. Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. XLIII (November 2006), 549–563. Schnittka, Oliver, Henrik Sattler, and Sebastian Zenker (2012), Advanced brand concept maps: A new approach for evaluating the favorability of brand association networks, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 29 (3), 265-274. French, Alan, and Smith, Gareth (2013), Measuring brand association strength: a consumer based brand equity approach, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 47 Iss 8 pp. 1356 - 1367

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