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Generating ideas

Where do ideas come from?

  • They come from making connections with other ideas.
  • They may arrive at unexpected moments or as a result of conscious inquiry.
  • They require ‘food’ and ‘digestion’ in order to emerge.

Image source: Microsoft images (Clipart)

What strategies can I use to generate ideas?

  • Read widely – text and audiofiles (browse beyond your topic area).
  • Broaden your social & professional circles. Talk about your research with others, and note their questions.
  • Keep a working diary/journal and jot down any passing ideas. Revisit the diary to reap the rewards.
  • Use active inquiry to build on existing ideas: Why? How? When? Who? Where? In what ways? To what extent? What relationship? What’s present? What’s absent? What’s hidden and why?
  • Incorporate ‘loose construing’ time to let your mind wander as you walk, or lie under a tree, or mulch the vegetable patch.
  • Use visualising techniques that are not usual in your study repertoire: take a photograph, select a found object and explore its metaphorical  similarities to your project, draw one of your research themes, diagram, sketch your work and watch something new emerge.

Creating ideas often comes from organising ideas: new ideas often emerge when we arrange and rearrange existing ideas.

Go to Organising Ideas now to see how it can happen.





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