Friday, March 14, 2008

Brainstorming: Reporters’ Questions

Adapted from a Portland State University Writing Center handout by Mariah Bennett-Gillard

Reporters have an obligation to their profession to maintain an unbiased point of view when writing their articles. One of the ways they carry this out is to ask as many questions as they possibly can. That way, they get as much information from as many different angles as possible.

When using this structured method of discovering what you want to say, try to produce as many responses as possible for each question. There are no correct answers, only useful ideas that you can explore in greater depth later. Not every question will be relevant to every topic, so you may have no answers for some of the questions.

Remember that the answers you get from asking these questions are not themselves topics. Instead, your goal is to accumulate as much diverse information about your subject as possible. Later, as you organize your paper, you’ll be able to pull out the best ideas from your notes and consider how to organize them or whether to develop the ideas further.

Who is involved in X?
Who benefitted from X?
Who suffered from X?

What is X? How is X defined?
How would you describe X?
What is X similar to?
What is X different from?
What parts make up X? How are they related to each other?

When did X occur?
How long did X take?
What happened before X?
What happened after X?
What are the consequences of X?

In what setting did X occur? What were the physical surroundings?
What other circumstances made X possible?
How would X have been different if the circumstances were different?

What are the causes of X?
Why did X exist or occur?
Why did X do what it/they did?

How did X come to be?
Who made X?
How does X work?

No comments: