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University Writing Center

Brainstorming Techniques

Asking Wh–Questions

Ask yourself as many question as you can about the topic ans aswer them briefly. Since your goal is to get as many ideas as possible, you ask yourself wh–questions: that is, questions that begin with or include wh- words-what, which, why, where ,when how, who. And then you answer them.

In this form of brainstorming, you act as if you were a reporter interviewing yourself to find out what you know or think about a topic. However, just as in other brainstorming methods, it is not necessary to organize your questions or answers. Write your questions down in whatever order they come to mind. Also, spelling. Just write whatever come into your head.

The following is an example of brainstorming methods using the wh–questions.The assignment was to write about “Something Old and Something New” and I decided to write about old and new job. Here I include only the questions I generated. (When you writed your questions, be sure to leave space to brainstorm the answers.

  • What is my job?
  • What was my old job?
  • How are old and & new jobs alike/different?
  • Why change jobs?
  • Which job do I like better?
  • What was the best/worst about old job?
  • How long did I have the old job?
  • Which job has better pay? Benefits? Working conditions?
  • What is a job?
  • When did I change jobs?
  • How did I feel when started new job? When ended old job?
  • How easy/difficult to get new job?
  • How did it feel to go for job interviews?
  • Why have a job?

Free-writing

In free-writing, just as in listing, grammatical correctness is not important. Nor is it necessary to organize your ideas or think about main ideas or paragraphs. Just write whatever ideas come to mind in whatever order you think of them. Your goal is to get your ideas flowing and to begin to get them down on paper so you can see them and consider them.

Updated 2.19.2010