Brainstorming is a technique you can use when planning your assignments. Brainstorming involves writing down everything you can think of about a topic. After a brainstorming session use mind maps as an effective tool for organising and making connections between your ideas. Mind maps provide a visual representation of your thoughts when key concepts or ideas are mapped around a central concept.
Being able to successfully brainstorm synonyms for your keywords can assist you in locating more information on your topic and in some cases the information may be even more relevant. A good starting point to find synonyms is to search specialist dictionaries or encyclopedias. The library provides access to both print and online dictionaries and encyclopedias.
Concept mapping help guides
To develop a strategy to locate useful literature on your topic, you will need to identify keywords or alternative concepts that are relevant to your question. These are the words that you will use in keyword searches to locate resources in the Library’s online Search, databases or Google Scholar.
- Begin by underlining the key concepts in the question. Keywords are italicised in this example ‘Does the public's right to know in a democracy result in the invasion of personal privacy?'
- Consult a specialst dictionary or other text to ensure that you have an accurate understanding/definition of "right to know". Locate useful resources for this by doing a keyword search "right to know" on the Library's Search. Hint: to search for phrases enclose your terms in quotation marks.
- Make a list of synonyms (words with similar meanings) that may yield results. For example, other words for ‘democracy’ may include: "government by the people"; "representative government"; "self-government"; autonomy etc.
- Ask yourself what, why, when, where and how questions to identify the themes of the question to establish all the possible keywords.