Note the three-stage structure: MIND connects with SOUL, BODY,
THINKING, BRAIN, COMPUTER, and each of these concepts relate to
several other concepts. This is not the sort of exercise where you
have to find the "correct" way to do it. Each person's mind-maps of a
given concept, like MIND, will be different. Mindmapping is a way to
get clear on what you think.
In the examples on this page, what one is doing is relating ideas.
This will be more productive if you think about whose ideas you are
intending to relate. In the
example, the ideas are clearly those of the person making the map. Academic
work, however, is carried out in the context of ideas
that have been developed by many people, so one often needs to analyse and
relate the ideas of a particular author. To do this, you will need to
identify the concepts used by the author and examine how you think they are
related within his or her work.
Authors (theorists) usually have central concepts (key concepts) that guide
and structure their work. Relating the author's ideas becomes more
meaningful if one attempts to identify the key concepts, and to see how the
other concepts are understood in the light of them.
Creativity Card Games
Ashman, S. and George, A. 1982
Study and Learn
Using cards to generate project ideas
Get a set of file cards or cut up some sheets of file paper and write
down each component topic of the field you are interested in, one per card.
Put in more, rather than less, including topics which you think are almost
Now on a clear table top spread out all the cards. Arrange them either
in sequence in rows from left to right or, better still, try to work out
a scheme starting from the centre of the table and creating a branching
pattern according to priority and linkage.
See what new ideas are generated by changing the centre card of the
pattern. Also think hard about the type of links you might make between
topics. Begin to define what's in the project and what you should
Be prepared to brainstorm with unlikely
connections. By forcing connections between very different ideas, you are
tracing new pathways across the subject area. At the least, you will
reassure yourself of the relative importance and interconnection of your
main study areas. You may also stumble across a new perspective which will
provide you with the excitement and motivation to set off on a project.
You could just play around with the cards and put them into a
Take a set of key ideas from the general area in which your topic is
to be located and try matching them in turn to a randomly selected series
of words - Perhaps you could just collect the random words by letting a
dictionary fall open
ways of improving
social and tachnical
You should be prepared to brainstorm with the most unlikely
Ask yourself what links you could make, for example, between office
and colour. Perhaps this would lead you into considering environmental
influences, including colour schemes, on office workers and the quality
or colour of their office experience. Perhaps colour might suggest
might lead on to social structure and organisation.
Groups of people working together can stimulate one another's ideas. This
is one reason why
is so important academically.
For groups to be creative we need to take an interest in one another's
projects and to be sympathetic. A friendly group of people working on
different projects can generate ideas in the process of just explaining to
one another what they are doing and discussing it.
Generating ideas about new projects
group of students are working on different projects and have
them to one another. They may be able continue the conversation creatively
by exploring the keywords in their projects.
They are writing about surveillance, about madness, about
community, about the
imagination, about authority and power, about total
institutions, about political perspectives and about science,
philosophy and theology - but that all of
them have only
recently chosen or received their topic and know little about it.
help to develop their ideas if they explore what each word means to each of
them, and what they think it might mean in the context of their project.
One way to do this would be to
similar words, related words and
The group played word-ball game. In this, we sit in a circle and
throw words at one another. So, the starter says a word (for example:
Imagination) and throws it to someone else by saying his or her name (for
example: "Imagination - Jayne"). Jayne catches it by saying what she heard,
saying another word, and throws it to someone else: "Imagination - Creative
- Caroline", and so on. After a while, the group stop and discuss the
Here are the results of an actual group
The words are mostly similar words or opposite words to the first word.
We wondered if we should let our imagination be more free-thinking. For
example, dreams are not the same, but many people who write about
the imagination discuss dreams. See, for example,
William Morris and
Some people worried about saying the "right" word. There is no right word -
just say anything.
The game helps people get to know the names of the other people in the
group. To help, we had a list of everyone's names.
The words seem to break free at oppression. We asked what the link in the
person's mind was. She said
"I think of society as about oppression as I am
Raymond Williams comment that community is always a nice,
concept and that nasty words, like oppression, only get connected to words
society. Would this be true of the use of community by
The words are very closely linked to one theme. We broadened the issues by
discussing how they might relate to other themes. Some people argued that
the world of the child is a world of the
imagination and that grown ups use
rules and regulations to control this. This is an exercise of
that stifles imagination. We discussed the relationship (if any) between
madness and imagination.
We discussed the family as an institution and whether it was ever a
total institution. As a counterpoint to the idea of the family as
control, we discussed the
possibility of power being used to develop autonomy. We could have
discussed (but did not) whether the family is a
political perspectives use childhood and the family as a model
for the relation between ruler and ruled and
and what the differences are between theological, philosophical and
scientific ideas about childhood.
The following game is played according to the selfish-student-rule. This is
that each student tries to divert the game to his or her theme. It is a way
of exploring the inter-relationship between themes. Something that had
already been done in the discussion on childhood Some points at which a student diverted
the word are marked with an asterisk (*)
The discussion of this was brief as we had spent a long time on linking
issues under childhood and did not have much time left.
We discussed the link between authority and power and
This led on to a discussion of
Michel Foucault and the way his theories analyse knowledge as
power and the way in which many of the themes come together in his work.
Following on from the
childhood link to stress, we could have discussed (but did not),
John Watson's argument that fear is as an important a basic motive as love
and how he and Rosalie Rayner
used this to control children.
Our housekeeping session
We had a session tidying up the word-game results by considering what
aspects of our subjects had not been discussed, or not been discussed
enough. This is the list we will be working on:
Dreams and their relationship to madness and hallucinations.
More about madness
The social contract [I cannot remember why - Help!]
Science and Imagination and Karl Popper
Sirokin and Weber
Rousseau and Kant
religion as it links to power
Bentham and Eysenck
Laing and Goffman
Robert Owen and Dennis Hardy
Andrew Roberts' web Study Guide
Take a Break - Read a Poem