Development Article

Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 81-97

First online:

Relational, structural, and semantic analysis of graphical representations and concept maps

  • Dirk IfenthalerAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Science, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg Email author 

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The demand for good instructional environments presupposes valid and reliable analytical instruments for educational research. This paper introduces the SMD Technology (Surface, Matching, Deep Structure), which measures relational, structural, and semantic levels of graphical representations and concept maps. The reliability and validity of the computer-based and automated SMD Technology was tested in three experimental studies with 106 participants. The findings indicate a high reliability and validity. The discussion focuses on the development and realization of the three levels of the SMD Technology and applications for research, learning and instruction.


SMD technology Assessment Mental models Concept maps Knowledge representation