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What is a synoptic table and how is it used?

What is a synoptic table and how is it used?

March 29, 2024

In infinity of occasions we have in the head very complex and dense ideas that are difficult to explain and / or argue. Develop a theme or a concept through the synoptic table It means using a very useful tool, as it helps to visually clarify complex ideas, which leads to a better and easier memorization.

In this article we will see how to use a synoptic table, either to study or to organize complex plans or concepts.

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The synopsis as the main element

The synoptic table is a synthesis or summary of a specific topic, subcategorizing the topics that form it . It is a way to see the "x-ray" of a written explanation and that in many cases is complicated to process. Basically, the synoptic table aims to explain more easily any topic ordering the ideas following a hierarchy, and visually.

As the name suggests, the synoptic table part of the base to make a synopsis , that is, a summary of any specific topic, representing similarities and differences within a single topic. For example, to explain the functioning of a parliament, the synoptic table reveals how it is formed, who participates and what it is for, always attending to a top-down hierarchical methodology.

We can not ignore the visual element. According to neuroscience experts, humans tend to be an animal whose thinking is based on visualization, so it is prone to process information in graphic form. In any educational center, from elementary to university, any teacher supports their explanations with an explanatory scheme, offering a dynamic way to make known texts, concepts or any type of useful information.

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Characteristics of the synoptic table, and how to use it

The synoptic table is the equivalent of a mental map . It is not of exclusive use in the educational field, since many companies use this same method to develop their production and competitiveness policies. For this tool to be effective, it has to be based on some basic characteristics that we will see below.

1. Main theme

It is essential to order the ideas well and analyze correctly what is intended to be explained. We have to define the main theme well , the base of the rest of the synoptic table, clearly and concisely.

2. Subtopics

Secondly, it is necessary to develop the themes derived from the main theme. Do not confuse this task with the inclusion of topics that are not related to each other or that do not belong to the same hierarchical category. For example, the case that we put in the introduction of the formation of a Parliament, the sub-themes would be the Deputies and the Parties, among others, but not the laws.

3. Synthesis of ideas

If the main objective of the synoptic table is the clarification of a topic or ideas, will avoid any kind of complex explanation . The main characteristic of the painting is that it exposes the ideas clearly and briefly, avoiding entanglements.

4. Avoid confusion

This particular point is related to the previous one. The synoptic table is intended to facilitate the understanding of a topic, especially if this is complex in its theory. It includes the essential points and clears up any hint of doubt.

5. Structural hierarchy

When we choose a text and we intend to summarize, we try to organize the ideas. The synoptic table will save us this step due to its organizational nature. The order can be from top to bottom (vertical) or from left to right (horizontal), avoiding ambiguities about the meaning that follows its structuring .

6. Support material

Ultimately, the synoptic table is the most useful tool when it comes to emphasizing or showing any type of idea to the target audience; whether at work, at the institute or any other area where audiovisual material is available. Therefore, it can be used to highlight the main ideas that have been exposed through other means, such as speech.

Factors to consider

Although at first sight it seems easy to make a synoptic picture, the practice is not so simple. Of an extensive and dense subject, you have to know how to select what is most important , without forgetting transcendental topics that complete the graphic scheme.

First of all, we must study the subject well, identify those crucial points and know how to order them in a way that does not lead to confusion.In addition, although there is a need to include all the essentials, we must not fall into the error of including too much text or argumentation.

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