Connecting Ideas: Mind Mapping

 Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Michael

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Michael

Creating a mind or cluster map of your topic(s) is a great way to help connect your ideas while visualizing them in a nonlinear way. You can do this with paper and pen, on your computer, or via a web-based mind-mapping application (such as Popplet).


  1. Begin by writing your focused research question or thesis statement in the middle of the page and circle it.
  2. Now branch off that main circle and create additional circles of information that answer the question or support the thesis. This level is for argument/reasons; do not yet reference specific evidence or citations.
  3. From the second layer of circles, make even smaller circles that provide evidence/support for each reason (you might also include short references to specific pieces of data you collected or secondary sources).
    • You might find yourself referencing a citation in more than one location (just make sure not all locations, or you might be stealing that source’s argument).
    • Don’t be afraid to draw lines connecting one circle to another. It’s ok if it’s messy! (Doodling is also allowed if it helps you connect ideas).
  4. Share-out: Take a picture or screenshot of your mind map and post it below to the comments.

20 thoughts on “Connecting Ideas: Mind Mapping

  1. Chem442s15q

    My attached mind map is focused on sample collection and pathogen identification. It also includes a few resources to find more information.


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