Some people find that making linear notes from reading does not always work very well for them and they prefer to create a mind map as a more visual representation. This helps them remember what they have read because they can visualize the different notes that they have made and the ways that they
relate to one another. Below, one student describes how she uses mind maps, not just for reading. Figure 5.2 is an example of one that she did after reading about an area called 'critical discourse analysis' which is concerned with ways of interpreting texts.
I learnt the 'mind map' technique when I was 17, on a weekend course at a women's education centre. A friend who was very arty and picture-thinking said it had changed her life, so I thought I'd give it a go. I took to it really easily. I love the way I can use colours and pictures and my own personal codes. (A little drawing of a sock is often my shorthand for 'socialist'. Word association!) I use mind maps for taking notes in lectures, although I sometimes give up if the lecture is badly structured and I can't tell where it's 'going'. Mind maps need a clear frame but, on the other hand, doing a mind map often generates one. I use them for brainstorm-ing and for essay plans. I tend to take linear notes from books and articles and then synthesize the ideas in a mind map for my essay plan. I give presentations from mind maps and sometimes hand them out, which people like. They're more visually exciting than linear notes. I revise using mind maps. It's so enjoyable to create them; I like to be able to see all the links and everything relevant on one page. I use mind maps to remember or decide what I've got to do that day. I use them for letters and for keeping a journal from time to time. I use them in workshops or for minuting meetings or generating ideas or making decisions. But I still love to write linearly and to craft beautiful prose - but mind mapping helps that process too.
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