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Brainstorming techniques for writing essays

Listing, as its name suggests, is a brainstorming technique in which you make a list of ideas. The advantage of this technique is that it enables ideas to be generated more quickly than with clustering, as the ideas can be written in any order. Below are two examples of the listing style of brainstorming. Both are for the same title as above, namely 'Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the internet'.

Steps in writing the essay: Brainstorming. - Free Essay Writing Tips

Freewriting is a brainstorming activity in which the writer writes anything they can about a topic, in continuous prose, hoping that one idea will lead to another. The advantage of this technique is that it might enable you to generate ideas when the other methods fail. However, it is not generally favoured by students of academic writing. It takes more time, and the writing you produce will be disorganised and will need to be discarded at the end.

It is more useful when writing creative works such as stories. Try this method if you think this will be a good technique for you:. Like the website? Try the books. Read more about researching to support your ideas. Go back to the previous section about understanding the title. Scroll to Top. The writing process What is the writing process?

Subscribe to the newsletter. AWL Words on this page from the academic word list. Dictionary Look it up. Home Writing Process Brainstorming Types and methods of brainstorming. Next section Read more about researching to support your ideas.

Brainstorming ideas for essays in exams

Writing Process Researching Previous section Go back to the previous section about understanding the title. Title Process Writing. Author: Sheldon Smith. Brainstorming helps you deal with much of the uncertainty and anxiety around essay writing. Brainstorming may give rise to images of groups shooting ideas back and forth.

Brainstorming Strategies

Note: these techniques are not limited to individuals; they will also work in groups. The word storm technique is about creating groups of word clouds so you can visualize an idea or encourage the process of creative writing to begin. Feel free to use a whiteboard and a marker or a pen and paper.

Start with a simple word in the middle of the sheet or board usually, the one describing the topic of your essay best and use association to come up with any other word related to it. Finally, group these together based on some connection between them.


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Another way to use associations and organize ideas is by mind mapping. This works better than lists as it emphasizes the visual element, which is proven to help us remember better. This is especially useful with complex essay topics, which you can break down into easy to follow steps. While all of the previous methods can work for either individual or group brainstorming, these next techniques work best with more than one person.


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Gather 2 or more people together and present to them the same problem the topic of the essay. Each individual will write an idea on a piece of paper or index card.

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Then everyone passes the index card to their left or right. Continue this until everyone has commented on each card. After one or more sessions, collect all ideas and write them on a whiteboard. Let the discussion ensue. Rapid ideation is an intensive session of idea generation that can produce massive results.

Brainstorming Ideas

There are many methods connected to this approach, such as SCAMPER the technique that uses action verbs to help the idea generation process and gamestorming for those interested in gamification. This method encourages individuals to explore outside perspectives in a new, fun way. Brain netting, a fancy name for online brainstorming, allows a group of people located in different parts of the world to collaborate which brings extra opinions and resources to the table.

The principles of any other brainstorming session are the same, except you are drawing from a larger and more diverse set of people.