Brainstorming helps you to find out what you know about a topic and then to link
what you already know with new information. Brainstorming is a strategy in which
you think about a topic and then write down everything you know about it. Don't
check quality. Just let your thoughts and imagination go and yourself free flow
of ideas. Write down every single idea, no matter how unimportant or stupid it may
sound at first. There are no right or wrong ways of brainstorming, the aim is just
to write down everything you know as quickly as possible.
Ask yourself the following question:
|Why am I writing this?
||Ask yourself who?, what?, why?, where?, when? how? why not?
questions about the topic.
|What do I already know?
||You will be surprised at how much you know already. The
secret is to find out how much.
|What must I still find out?
One way of brainstorming is to make as long a list as you can before you make
selections. Then you can start to put your ideas into categories. Another way is
to create a mind map or spider gram in which you start off identifying categories
and then list ideas under each one. Because the ideas are relatively unrelated the
lists start to look like a spider=s web.
It is a good idea to use different colored pens or pencils for different sections
of mind map. This helps you to see clearly which aspects need to be added to and
which do not.
What do I already know ?
Once you have analyzed the topic and divided up into sections, write down everything
you know about each section. Question each one of the ideas with a how? what? when?
who? why? why not? What are some things that have led you to have your opinion about
the topic? Why does the writer of the quotation (if a quotation has been included
in the topic) make the statement? Try to divide an idea into its possible parts
and think of as many new ideas as you can under each new section. Once you have
written down all the information you already have, group similar ideas together.
Consider the ideas and information you have jotted down. To what degree does it
answer the question. Decide what is still missing.
Group info you already have
- Put all the ideas that seem to agree with each other, or have something in common
together. Donít use sentences and paragraphs Ė just write down words and phrases.
- Put all the so-called "impossible" ideas together.
- As groups or categories are formed, use colored pens or pencils to circle each
group. You can then connect the main ideas and secondary ideas with straight lines
leading from the topic that you have written in the centre of the page.
- Try to combine two or more ideas into a single new idea.
- Rearrange your ideas.
- Modify you mind map as you organise and integrate different ideas. This will
help you to see the connections between your different ideas.
- Make sure that the ideas in each of the groups 'go' together. They must have
something in common.
- If there are ideas that do not agree with the main theme of the group, take them
See how each group connects to the other.
- If you have a lot of information and you are confused about the order of the
ideas, try writing each main idea onto a separate piece of paper. This will make
grouping easier because you just need to make piles of ideas that are related to
each other and you can move the piles around into an order for your essay.
Do my ideas answer the question/problem
- Does the theme or underlying idea of everything I have to say have a direct link
to the question?
- How does each group of ideas answer the question, or relate to the problem?
- Keep your analysis of the topic at hand all the time.
What is missing?
Now that you have
analyzed the topic,
decided what your opinion is,
found out what you know already,
decided what is missing,
you will have to decide where to find the new information.
Must you read the relevant sections of your study material again?
Do you need to go to the library?
Do you need to interview people in the community?
What must you do in order to fill the gaps?
Decide first then carry on