Thursday, March 13, 2008

Brainstorming: Making a List

Adapted from a PSU Writing Center handout by Mariah Bennett-Gillard

Making a list can sometimes help you collect your ideas on a topic. Start by writing the topic at the top of your paper. Underneath it, list whatever words or phrases come to you. Let your mind flow without interruption; without being critical of yourself. In other words, don’t reject any idea that comes to your mind. When you run out of ideas on the topic, stop writing.

Brainstorming a list can also be done in a group or as a class. One person records all the ideas suggested in response to a topic. Group brainstorming is a good way to generate a lot of ideas on a topic. Often someone else’s idea can prompt an idea you may not have thought of on your own.

Once you have a list of ideas, read them over, pick out those most closely related to the topic, and cross out the ones that aren’t suitable. If you wish, you can put the remaining ideas into categories or groups, or you can draw arrows connecting things that go together. You may find that one idea is a good central focus of the paper while others can be used as support.Y

You may want to make another list using one of the ideas on your original list as the new topic. Try making a list of your topics in the order yo you u want to present them. This kind of list can give you a guide for what to write about when drafting your paper.

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