Brainstorming, also known as "prewriting," is the process of generating ideas and seeking out connections among them.
Of the many kinds of brainstorming, three tend to be particularly useful: freewriting, clustering, and outlining.
For help understanding the assignment you're brainstorming about, sign up for the next "Papers and Prompts" workshop and/or see our "Types of Papers" page. For a full, NPS-specific overview of brainstorming, attend the next session of "Beyond Brainstorming: How to Kickstart Your Paper." Workshops are offered in the first four weeks of each quarter, and you can sign up during workshop season through WCOnline. See the whole workshop list here.
To explore which brainstormining technique might be best for you in the context of a given project, make a coaching appointment today!
For more on brainstorming in general as well as types and techniques, see the following links.
- Handout (printable, 2 pages): "Understanding Assignments," UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
- Handout (printable, 3 pages): "Brainstorming," UNC Chapel Hill Writing Center
- Video (2:50): "Brainstorming," Texas A&M University Writing Center
- Video (3:35): "Six Creative Ways to Brainstorm Ideas," Vertical Measures
- Video (4:57): "Four Simple Ways to Have a Great Idea," TEDTalk by Richard St. John
- Video (21:15): "The Art of Innovation," TEDTalk by Guy Kawasaki
- Website: Reserve the NPS DKL Design Space
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