According to Product Design, a concept map, or mind map is a diagram used to represent ideas linked to, and arranged radially around, a central key word or idea.
Mind mapping involves writing down a central idea and thinking up new and related ideas, which radiate out from the center. By focusing on key ideas, and then looking for branches out and connections between the ideas, you can map out your knowledge in a manner that will help reframe your knowledge.
When you take the time to concept map your topic, you're breaking your research into smaller, more manageable parts.
In my example, we examine the concept of plagiarism from both an angle of cheating and academic dishonesty. We consider the faculty/student relationship when plagiarism has occured, as well as the ethics of using other peoples work. We also consider the consequences of plagiarism if it is considered cheating.
Your concept map can also serve as a rough draft for your essay outline.