Are there varying definitions for this concept within, say, philosophy or physics, that might encourage me to think about this term from a new, richer point of view? Remember those little Petri dishes from your lab experiments in high school? If you are more visually inclined, you might create charts, graphs, or tables in lieu of word lists or phrases as you try to shape or explore an idea.
Brainstorming worksheet for essay
You could use the same phrases or words that are central to your topic and try different ways to arrange them spatially, say in a graph, on a grid, or in a table or chart. You might even try the trusty old flow chart.
The important thing here is to get out of the realm of words alone and see how different spatial representations might help you see the relationships among your ideas. Or think of a shape. Do your ideas most easily form a triangle? Can you put some ideas in parallel formation? In a line? Think about the parts of communication involved in any writing or speaking act: purpose and audience.
What are you trying to do? What verb captures your intent? Are you trying to inform? Each purpose will lead you to a different set of information and help you shape material to include and exclude in a draft. Write about why you are writing this draft in this form. For more tips on figuring out the purpose of your assignment, see our handout on understanding assignments. Who are you communicating with beyond the grader? What does that audience need to know? What do they already know?
4 Types of Writing
What information does that audience need first, second, third? Write about who you are writing to and what they need. When all else fails…this is a tried and true method, loved for centuries by writers of all stripe. Visit the library reference areas or stop by the Writing Center to browse various dictionaries, thesauruses or other guide books and reference texts , encyclopedias or surf their online counterparts.
Sometimes these basic steps are the best ones. Could that realization be built into your paper somehow? If you go to online sources, use their own search functions to find your key terms and see what suggestions they offer. An encyclopedia is sometimes a valuable resource if you need to clarify facts, get quick background, or get a broader context for an event or item.
If you are stuck because you have a vague sense of a seemingly important issue, do a quick check with this reference and you may be able to move forward with your ideas.
Armed with a full quiver of brainstorming techniques and facing sheets of jotted ideas, bulleted subtopics, or spidery webs relating to your paper, what do you do now? Instead, start to write out some larger chunks large groups of sentences or full paragraphs to expand upon your smaller clusters and phrases. Keep building from there into larger sections of your paper. Start writing the section that comes together most easily.
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