Mind maps can help you in the early stages of your essay by summarising your research and providing you with a picture of all aspects of the question. You can then move from your non-linear mind map to a more structured essay plan.
Click on various parts of the mind map below to discover more about how mind maps can help your essay preparation.
It is often useful to put down on the mind map various "housekeeping" details such as:
assessment criteria and weighting
any other requirements
You should always put down on your mind map all that you already know about the essay question. This knowledge may have come from personal experience, lectures, readings or other sources. You may be surprised as to how this part of the mind map branches out in lots of directions!
Most essays will involve the possibility of tackling a number of topics within the question. Put all of these possible topics down. You may not have the time or length of essay to tackle all of them but getting them down and looking for connections, relevance and priorities is a good start.
The areas to research will be suggested by the possible topics and from here your mind map may lead you on to various sources of information you will need to pursue. Often you will have to choose carefully which areas will be the most productive and relevant to research.
One of the powerful things about mind mapping is that it is a tool which encourages creative thinking and often creative solutions to problems. Always look at alternative ways of approaching essay questions and always be prepared to be a critical researcher and writer who is prepared to go outside the normal boundaries!