Effective Brainstorming Strategies to Help You Write a Paper (Infographic)
Do you experience a shortage of writing ideas or have too many? Do you feel that you can’t write anything useful about the topic? Getting started on any paper can be a real challenge. However, instead of worrying and wondering, you can use brainstorming methods for organizing your thoughts and finding new approaches to the issue.
We have prepared the most effective techniques to help you start writing a paper and overcome the possible challenges throughout the process. Deepen your understanding of the topic with the following proven brainstorming strategies!
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Important Tips Before You Start
Keep in mind the main rules of brainstorming:
- Enumerate, don’t evaluate. All you need to do is to get the ideas down, don’t structure or judge them.
Give yourself a two-hour block of time to focus on your primary idea. Make sure that nothing interrupts you.
Powerful Brainstorming Methods
You need to write, just write. Don’t stop in order to check the spelling or grammar, never go back to rewrite something, just continue writing flawlessly. Have a quantitative goal, for example, 1000 words, 30 minutes, 5 pages, and do not pause to strive for coherence or perfection.
2. Note Taking
This is probably the easiest of all types. You need to take notes every time you see or read some relevant information concerning your topic. A good idea is to gather facts from different sources and write them on separate sheets of paper.
In this strategy, the topic is studied from six different points of view. You need to describe the topic, compare it, associate it with something, analyze it, apply it, and argue for or against it. This is a great critical-thinking exercise that will help you develop your thoughts.
Write down phrases and single words you will return to a bit later. For bibliographies, scientific, historical or technical papers, you can specify facts, arguments, questions, or components. For fictional stories and essays, your list may consist of people, places, values, qualities, goals, obstacles. You may use any combination of the above.
You know the topic you want to write about but don’t have enough ideas? Then this strategy is for you. To conduct a research, you need to visit a library or search through the web. When you find some interesting issues, write them down in a list or map form. This way, you are more likely to find the key point relevant to your particular topic.
6. Consider Audience and Purpose
What is your purpose? Are you trying to convince, inform or describe? Each purpose will lead you to a different material you can include in your draft. You also need to consider your audience. Think about what your readers need to know, what they already know, what they would love to find out.
7. Three Perspectives
Use 3 perspectives to develop your topic:
Describe – Describe your topic in detail: its components, distinguishing features, interesting facts, etc.
Trace – Write about the significant events, history, or something important that influenced your subject.
Map – What is your topic related to? What does it influence? How has your topic been described by others?
In this technique, you need to complete the following sentence:
____________is/are/was/were/like_____________ . In the first blank, you need to mention the main idea your paper centers on. Then brainstorm as many words as possible to fill in the second blank. When you have produced a list of options, look over your ideas to find associations.
9. Using Charts or Shapes
If you are more visually inclined, use this brainstorming strategy. Tables, charts and shapes will help you explore an idea. Choose words that are central to your topic and use different ways to arrange them spatially. The core thing here is to determine how various spatial representations may help you see the relationships between your ideas.
Also known as webbing and clustering, a mapping is a form of listing that involves the process of writing down the ideas and then making connections between them by associating similar ideas.
The point of looping is to get through several freewriting pieces you have compiled before. Read what you have produced in all looping cycles and choose the most interesting ideas and sentences. You will probably discover a great theme you think about unconsciously.
This strategy will help you distinguish between major and minor ideas in your head. Pretend you are being interviewed by someone who wants to find out what you’re writing about. Start your explanation with the words “I want to write about…” Make sure that your answers are no more than 3 sentences.
13. Journalistic 5W’s and 1H
Ask 5W’s and 1H questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? to generate the topic ideas, different angles and interesting approaches. Answer all these questions in brief and review your answers. This way, you will discover what you know about your topic and what areas should be more researched.
14. Relationship Between the Parts
In this technique, write several headings that relate to your topic. Specify your main ideas below each one. Try to make as many levels as you can. Then look at different parts that make up your whole concept. What conclusions can you make according to the patterns, or lack of patterns, you’ve got?
What to Determine While Brainstorming
When brainstorming for your paper plot, it is important to determine the following things:
If one of these strategies doesn’t work, move on to another. Usually, it is a combination of the brainstorming strategies that produces the most outstanding results.