Types of Graphic Organizers


Definition and Types


A graphic organizer is a visual and graphic display that depicts the relationships between facts, terms, and or ideas within a learning task. Graphic organizers are also sometimes referred to as knowledge maps, concept maps, story maps, cognitive organizers, advance organizers, or concept diagrams.


Types of Graphic Organizers


Graphic organizers come in many different forms, each one best suited to organizing a particular type of information. The following examples are merely a sampling of the different types and uses of graphic organizers.

A Descriptive or Thematic Map works well for mapping generic information, but particularly well for mapping hierarchical relationships.



Organizing a hierarchical set of information, reflecting superordinate or subordinate elements, is made easier by constructing a Network Tree.

When the information relating to a main idea or theme does not fit into a hierarchy, a Spider Map can help with organization.




When information contains cause and effect problems and solutions, a Problem and Solution Map can be useful for organizing.

A Problem-Solution Outline helps students to compare different solutions to a problem.



A Sequential Episodic Map is useful for mapping cause and effect.




When cause-effect relationships are complex and non-redundant a Fishbone Map may be particularly useful.


A Comparative and Contrastive Map can help students to compare and contrast two concepts according to their features.




Another way to compare concepts' attributes is to construct a Compare-Contrast Matrix.




Continuum Scale is effective for organizing information along a dimension such as less to more, low to high, and few to many.



A Series of Events Chain can help students organize information according to various steps or stages.



A Cycle Map is useful for organizing information that is circular or cyclical, with no absolute beginning or ending.

A Human Interaction Outline is effective for organizing events in terms of a chain of action and reaction (useful in social sciences and humanities)


CAST, 2007 http://www.cast.org/publications/ncac/ncac_go.html#types