Brainstorming is an individual or communal activity. Your tutor or teacher would be a useful person to use to assist with brainstorming. The following procedure should be adopted.

Commencing with one word or idea linked to your research area, make a note of (write down, tape, video) everything that is associated with the word or idea that comes into your mind. anything and everything that you associate with this word or concept. Typical brainstorming is governed by four useful rules.

  1. Don’t criticise your use of words or ideas until later until all the information has been collected.
  2. All ideas should be freely written down.
  3. The largest number of words and ideas written down the better
  4. Borrow and use ideas from others and these can be built upon.

Once your thought processes have been drained of words and ideas then you can start to interrelate everything you have collected. When you have run out of ideas you can try to create a relationship diagram for the subject.

Brainstorming example 1

  • Get the group you are working with to, on their own, list their individual ideas on small cards.  Each card should only have written on it one idea.
  • This activity should not take any more time than five minutes.
  • When the time is up, collect the cards and study the trends that have occurred.

The group could then, as a whole, vote for your ‘top’ ideas by placing coloured dots on your top three ideas. You could place the ideas with reference to the number of dots. This method will assist you to in centering your research and allow you to set certain priorities.

Brainstorming example 2

The use of simply any word or picture word to get you going throughout the brainstorming can be a great route towards the search for new ideas.

  • Make a choice of any word or picture, it could be an animal. Get the group members to brainstorm around the word or image and write down the ideas they associate with these.
  • At the beginning of this particular brainstorm, try to find a relationship between the words and ideas and your chosen topic.  Brainstorming in this way may appear a little odd, but the results are quite surprising as it assists in the viewing of the topic from a different angle, which, in turn stimulates the brain into action.