Brainstorming Techniques

Brainstorming about our subject helps unclog our thoughts, organize our ideas, and find a focus.

Brainstorming allows us to break down our subject into smaller pieces:

  • consider the overall topic
  • compose smaller, subtopics related to the larger question or topic
  • think of possible topic sentences for paragraphs
  • consider possible quotes, examples, events, etc. that could used as subtopics or paragraphs (see our how to make your writing “flow” hand-out)

*Brainstorming techniques can be presented in many forms such as in a list, a web, connected circles, even in a Venn diagram (see second page of this hand-out). 


Bullet points/list making:

  • jot down words or related to your topic
  • think of key terms to use in your thesis statement
  • create a list considering how/what could prove your thesis (see our thesis statement hand-out)

Visual brainstorming

Clustering / mapping/ webbing (see second &third page of this hand-out):

  • Start with a blank piece of paper. Towards the top or in the middle write your subject or topic.
  • Draw lines extending out from your subject.
  • Try to do this quickly. Write down anything could be connected to your topic.

* With this very quick approach, you may find yourself jotting down unrelated things. Don’t worry about it! The most important goal is to simply get your ideas and thoughts on paper.


Explorative/ considering perspectives:

Write about your subject considering:

  • Description: break down your subject in clear details. Ask questions— What makes up your topic? Are there parts to distinguish between? What makes it interesting? How is it like and unlike similar subjects?
  • History and changes: has this subject altered somehow? What changes has the subject experienced? Are there events or people that have influenced your subjects?
  • Connections: What other subjects are related to yours? Does it influence or was it influenced? Who is involved in this subject? How& why? Who would benefit from further discussion or development of your subject? Who might it harm? Is there work related to your subject?
  • Why? Why? Why? Think about all the above and consider it further by asking why.

Brainstorming Techniques and Strategies

Brainstorming Techniques

Brainstorming Techniques

Brainstorming Techniques

Brainstorming Techniques


Last updated 7/30/2009
Posted in Brainstorming and Drafting, Writing Preparation and Process, Writing Resources