Advance utility


Brain storm


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? Research

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 mindmap or spidergram 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. Don�t use sentences and paragraphs � just write down words and phrases.

Put all the so-called "impossible" ideas together.

As groups or categories are formed, use coloured 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 out.
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?

NB Keep your analysis of the topic at hand all the time.

What is missing?

Now that you have

analysed 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