Assignment Planning: Getting Started
It's question time again. Look at the assignment question.
- What is it asking?
- What do you already know?
- What have you already read?
- What ideas/questions do you want to research?
What ideas/questions do you want to research can be a tricky question. Brainstorming is a way of generating ideas and organising your thoughts on a topic. It can help you choose your topic or choose the approach that you want take. There are a few different ways of brainstorming:
- Freewriting - basically writing down, or typing out, the thoughts that come into your mind when you think about your topic. You don't have to worry about style or grammar or anything like that, just write (or type). You can set a time or page limit and when the limit is reached, read over what you have produced. There's bound to be lots of rubbish in there, but you may surprise yourself with some ideas that are usable.
- Mindmapping - for this, you'll need a large piece of paper,
- In the middle of the paper, write down the gist of your topic in a couple of words.
- Then, write down all the words and phrases you can associate with the topic; similar ideas, or even opposites. Again, don't worry about what you write at the time, you can assess it later.
- When you run out of ideas, then you can look at what you've written. Start grouping together ideas that seem related. Use different coloured pens or highlighters to connect these ideas together.
- When you've finished this, you might have clusters of related ideas. This may suggest different ways that you can approach your topic.
- You can do this with a wall and some post-it notes. Write down the topic on a post-it, stick it to the wall and then write ideas on post-its and stick them to the wall around the topic post-it. When you're finished you can organise the post-its by themes
A mindmap might look something like this:
The main topic "Life" sits at the centre. Different ideas and concepts surround the main topic and have been grouped together and colour coded. (Source: "The Meaning of Life - for me" by Lex McKee, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)
Here's another example, showing some guidelines you could use when drawing mind maps
Source: Nicoguaro, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
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