Feb 6 Lecture & Brainstorming Workshop

Brainstorming bear-style


Brainstorm Marathon for Research and Project Ideas

Proof your post. Look at last week’s essay on childhood connections and reread your post looking for any errors. Watch for spelling, words out of context, missing info, punctuation, and check to see if your name is in the story along with your IDS major. Did you include media, if so, is it captioned?

(7 minutes, make edits)

Now, let’s consider your posts on childhood connections relating to your IDS Majors as we brainstorm together. I am going to ask you to keep an open mind and relax as we move into these next exercises.

Brainstorm Marathon

– Free write for 15 minutes and without judgement, do not try to control this flow of words, write whatever comes out without stopping. Let it go and see where you go…


I really hate having to brainstorm, and I always get stuck, feel under pressure. These exercises don’t ever work for me. I wish I was listening to my music and lounging on a beach somewhere. Boy it’s cold out today, tomorrow’s snow agin, great. Look at that dull sky out there like this gray carpet, there ‘s even stains, like the stains on the rug where my dog threw up and we had to take him to the vet for emergency surgery for swallowing that bone and give him medicine afterward. Which reminds me about my uncle who’s meds interacted with another prescription, luckily the nurses at the ER knew what he had taken because he was still awake. But what if he weren’t, what then? How do pharmacies and doctors and hospitals talk to one another in cases where the wrong medications get prescribed like this?

(about 15 minutes)

Sometimes brainstorming requires resting your inhibitions.

Okay, now look at your thoughts. Try to:

– break down the topic into levels, for instance:
The relationship between blank and blank
Ask a specific question starting with how
Notice a phrase you keep using, write it in various ways

(about 7 minutes)


General topic
Word or two from your thesis claim
Cover all bases: A word or idea that is opposite, compare evidence

(about 7 minutes)

Brainstorming might mean trying unusual approaches.

3 Perspectives

Describe your topic – in detail
Trace your topic – historical significance
Map it – what’s it related to?

(about 7 minutes)

Collaborating while brainstorming also helps.


Describe it
Compare it
Associate it
Analyze it
Apply it
Argue for and against it

Look for themes, correlations, similarities, discrepancies, and new ideas between the actions.

(About 10 minutes)


________________ is/as/ are/were/like ______________
(Thesis term/concept) goes first. Now list as many ideas as you can for the second blank. What associations pop up? Are there patterns appearing?

(about 5 minutes)


Jot a term or phrase that you think you want to pursue for research in the center of your paper. Circle it. Now jot words/phrases all over the paper in random fashion. Connect corresponding ideas by circling similar terms/phrases and connecting with lines. You can differentiate clusters using shapes or color if you like.

(about 10 minutes)

Brainstorm by taking a closer look at things.

Be a Journalist

Who, what, why, where, when and how, yep, that’s it!

(about 7minutes – 7 minutes additional to Interview and introduce your partner)

Think Outside the Box

Consider your knowledge from other disciplines and approach your idea from those disciplines. For example, think about how the term language takes on a specific meaning According to courses in English Literature to Computer Science to Geometry to Anatomy. How could thinking in terms of another discipline help you explore additional layers of meaning?

(about 7 minutes)

Charts and Shapes

Try creating a chart to represent your thinking. Different shapes might better suit your ideas such as a triangle, a square, or an umbrella. Play with shapes as symbols for your ideas.

(about five minutes)

Purpose and Audience

Who are you writing for, what do they know, and what should they know? What do you want to know and why is it important to others?

(about 7 minutes)

Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia 

The old standby and quite reliable. Look up specific terms and educate yourself further. Read and learn. Visit the reference desk, be curious, have fun.

(about 15 minutes)

All of these various ways to brainstorm will not get you that “bear” food in my bird feeder, but they should feed your curiosity  enough to get you moving ahead (or frustrate the heck out of you, but use that too) with your research and applied Project. Bear down and go!

For more specifics on all of these please visit University of NC at Chapel Hill.






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