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The Use of Visual Tools in the Academic Research Process: A Literature Review
Journal of Academic Librarianship (2017)
  • Crystal L Renfro
An academic librarian, especially one who works primarily in a research consultation capacity, often encounters individuals who are seeking in-depth help with research projects that they struggle to explain.  The number of concepts, interdependencies and assumptions involved in research projects today can make them difficult to define and discuss with other people.  The multidisciplinary nature and globalization of many areas of research is forcing researchers to not only discuss, but to collaborate with many others from different academic backgrounds and disparate physical locations.  Many researchers struggle with project paralysis at various points along the way as they attempt to manage both the myriad of details and the bigger picture relationships and implications of their project.
A number of visual tools including concept mappers and mind mappers are well suited to help advanced students, faculty, researchers and librarians to organize the ideas and knowledge throughout the various stages of complex research, from envisioning an idea to the early stages of actively researching and documenting research findings.  This paper will discuss the potential uses of visual mapping tools and review the current state of academic literature surrounding the topics of mind mapping and concept mapping. 

  • Knowledge Mapping,
  • Concept Mapping,
  • Mind Mapping,
  • Information Literacy,
  • Visual Tools
Publication Date
Spring March 1, 2017
Citation Information
Crystal L Renfro. "The Use of Visual Tools in the Academic Research Process: A Literature Review" Journal of Academic Librarianship Vol. 43 Iss. 2 (2017) p. 95 - 99 ISSN: 0099-1333
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