Assignment Research Calculator

Henry Madden Library

Step 2D

Brainstorming Topic Techniques

The following techniques can also help you work on your topic:


Set a timer and put pen to paper. Write without stopping on any ideas you have about your topic until the timer goes off. Don't judge what you are writing, the point is to get your thoughts on paper. After the timer has gone off, look through what you have written. Are there any common themes? Are there questions that need to be answered? Other approaches to be taken? This is the beginning of thinking creatively about your topic.


Brainstorming is similar to freewriting, in that it is a written technique. However, instead of writing in sentences, jot down key phrases and important ideas that relate to your topic. Brainstorming can also be adapted to verbal learners by discussing your topic with a professor, roommate, friend, or librarian. What ideas can you think of? Bounce ideas off each other.


If you are a visual learner, mapping is for you! Mindmapping begins with a word or image that symbolizes what you want to think about.

Drawing of a mind map

From Learning Fundamentals

Diagram of a concept map

Posting by Peter Rawsthorne.

Regardless of the brainstorming approach you choose, this is a powerful technique to not only get started with your topic, but to think about it, position it in various disciplines, and decide the specifics of your research statement.