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).
- Begin by writing your focused research question or thesis statement in the middle of the page and circle it.
- 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.
- 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).
- Share-out: Take a picture or screenshot of your mind map and post it below to the comments.