September 28th, 2021 | Updated on October 16th, 2021
Brainstorming is a surprisingly universal activity, which can be applied in education, business, and everyday life. When you brainstorm for an essay, it means you generate ideas and gather inspiration for your writing.
If you are unsure whether you brainstorm right or feel that you are not good at it – this article by Assignment Partner is for you!
This activity is one of the most important in the pre-writing process, as it will determine the topic for your essay, its content, structure, and overall value.
How To Brainstorm For Essay
Definition Of Brainstorming
In the context of essay writing, brainstorming can be understood as a planned activity involving thinking about the ideas and strategies to complete the paper.
When you brainstorm, you search for the best topic, identify gaps in knowledge, formulate a thesis statement, and look for unconventional perspectives that could make your paper outstanding.
Brainstorming is a creative process, which activates your mind and uses your cognitive abilities to the maximum. However, this process can be frustrating and exhausting, especially when you run out of ideas and are full of anxiety.
Best Brainstorming Strategies
To facilitate brainstorming for essay topics, you can try the following best practices.
1. Freewriting. It’s okay not to know how to start writing your essay. This strategy helps eliminate anxiety by removing limitations and rules. You simply take a piece of paper or open a word file and start to write whatever comes to your mind regarding the selected topic.
At this point, you don’t need to comply with formatting requirements, cite sources, and pay attention to grammar. Your goal is to write down as many ideas as possible and reflect on how the topic could be examined.
After re-reading your notes several times, you will likely find some valuable ideas and arguments you could include in the draft. Highlight the ideas that stand out and use them as guidance.
2. Mindmapping. If you are a visual learner, you can benefit significantly from this brainstorming strategy. It involves drawing relationships between the key ideas using tables and figures.
You can use circles, triangles, and squares to connect the main ideas with smaller ones, while the lines connecting these figures can show their association.
Your mind map is an excellent opportunity to explore how the main ideas, notions, and phenomena are connected and work from there.
3. Questioning. You can use questions such as who, what, where, how, why, and when to determine what you know about the subject. Questions you cannot answer will likely become the focus of additional research and analysis.
The more questions you ask, the more background information about the topic you will be able to collect and reflect on in your essay.
4. Bulleting. You can also write down everything you know about the subject in bullet points. This will allow you to generate ideas about what to write and maybe even reflect on the structure of your paper.
Rhetorical Analysis: An Unconventional Strategy For Brainstorming Essay Topics
This unconventional strategy may help you determine the main aspects of your piece of writing, such as the target audience, the emotional effect you want to exert, and the facts you want to communicate.
Think about your audience and imagine what kind of paper they are expecting. For example, if you are presenting your essay in front of your classmates, you need to make sure that the content of your essay suits their level of knowledge.
Then, try to imagine how you want the readers or the audience to feel about your text and the topic it examines. This mental exercise will help you choose the relevant mood of your essay.
Finally, reflect on the facts your paper will contain and their role in advancing your argument. What strategies can you use to strengthen your thesis?
Brainstorming does not necessarily imply individual work. Group brainstorming may be a more practical option because several people can generate more ideas than an individual student.
You can come up with a list of topics and main ideas and then read them to your friend or classmate. Ask for their feedback and ideas, and you would be surprised by how their perspectives and angles differ from yours.
Keep in mind that group brainstorming should be an inclusive, collaborative activity built on respect and appreciation of every member’s input.
Don’t Forget to Organize Ideas
Brainstorming should not be used for its own sake. It should be fruitful and serve as the basis for your outline.
You need to write down all the valuable ideas you came up with and move from there to develop the outline for your essay. In other words, a brainstorming phase should always provide information for the next step of the pre-writing process.