About project maps

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Project maps are a graphic representation of the different items in your project. Create a project map to explore and present the connections in your data.

You build project maps. If you want to see your project data mapped for you, use an explore diagram to step through your project items and their connections.

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What are project maps?

Project maps are a way of visually exploring or presenting the data in your project. Project maps are made of shapes that represent the different items in your project and connectors which show links between items. You need some project data before you can create a project map.

To get started with a project map, you need to frame a question you want to ask of your project data. For example, how have these sources been coded? Which cases are assigned to this classification? What are the attributes defined for this classification? Then, add the project items that are central to your question to the canvas to build up a visual representation of your enquiry. Add other, associated items to the canvas to help illustrate the answer.

You can use project maps to:

  • Explore and organize data.

  • Develop ideas, build theory and make decisions.

  • Identify emerging patterns, theories and explanations.

  • Visually represent the links between project items.

  • Provide a record of stages in a project.

When you create project maps, save an image in your project journal and record your observations and insights.

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When should I create a project map?

At this stage of your project Create a project map to

During analysis

  • See your data holistically and gain greater understanding of your project.

  • Identify connections between project items—how are these things linked together?

  • See if there are gaps or isolated items so you can seek out additional data.

  • Mark a point in time or a milestone in your project.

  • Make predictions from your data.

Developing theory

  • Prompt analytic reflection and review the links between your data. This generates the kind of thinking that helps you build theory and progress your research.

  • Develop causal hunches—If this happened, maybe it was because...

Presenting results

  • Explain your analytical approach.

  • Tell a lot in a small space.

  • Visualize the links between project items.

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