The goals of Mapping and Phase C
are the same: expose possible new directions and clarify direction and scope within the larger set of issues. You do mapping before
you have a coherent overall Research Design
and Overall Argument
Step 1 (opening wide)
Start in the center of a large sheet of paper stating the issue that concerns you
. You may want to know more about it, advocate a change, design a curriculum unit or a workshop, and so on.
Draw connections from that issue to related considerations and other issues. (Post-its are useful, so you can move things around.)
To tease out connections, you might want to start with a dump-sheet or stack of Post-its in which you address the Questions for Opening Wide and for Probing
. Alternatively, you may simply allow yourself to brainstorm (i.e., put down everything that comes to mind without stopping to consider its relevance).
Step 2 (opening wide and beginning to focus in)
Color coding or symbols you invent will allow you to take note of patterns in the connections and their significance to you. You may even rearrange the connections and redraw the map. After doing that, explain the map to someone else, inviting them to do the following:
Ask questions with a view to getting clear about your issue, who you want to reach, and what would be involved in influencing that audience (see Phase A), andProbe with the same set of Questions for Opening Wide and for Probing.
The interaction between the mapper and the questioner(s) should expose many additional questions that warrant research (or sub-projects), force greater clarity in definitions of terms and categories, and help you see how to frame your inquiries in a way that satisfies your interests yet does not expand out of control.
Step 3 (focus in and formulate)
Out of the preceding interaction you should eventually see an aspect of the map's complexity that engages you most. You should see a path to move through the complexity while turning to the side from time to time to keep the wider terrain in sight. You should define or refine the Governing Question
that conveys what you need to research (and what you no longer need to research). Using Freewriting
after mapping may help here. For example, for a map of research on the color of hospital rooms, the question might be: “What research needs to be done to convince hospital designers and administrators that room color is one of the environmental features that can contribute to patient healing?”