Mind mapping is a visual technique that can be used in research to help structure your ideas and concepts in a way that enables you to plan and organize your work more effectively. As much of the research carried out for course or work projects can involve writing large reports, mind mapping is often advocated as an effective method of planning and structuring your research more effectively. But what exactly are the pros and cons of using mind mapping in research?
Being an analytic tool, one of the biggest benefits of mind mapping is that it helps to engage the mind. In research, this can produce many positive results as it ensures that you are able to make more useful connections between your ideas and findings, against those of previous research. This is very important when writing research projects which require you to display your analytical skills.
Also unlike normal note-taking, which is a linear form of learning, mind mapping allows you to think about your subject from multiple perspectives and link ideas together in ways that might not have been previously conceived. Because of this, mind mapping not only provides benefits in offering a useful and visual form of note-taking, but also provides you with a way to brain storm ideas and reduce the complexity of subjects, which is an important process in effective learning, and may help to improve your recollection skills.
By mind mapping concepts and ideas, you can also gain a greater appreciation of how your ideas link together which can be very helpful when planning and structuring written reports.
Therefore as you can see, mind mapping can be extremely beneficial in research. However as mind mapping can cause you to draw out a multitude of ideas, if a mind map is not carefully constructed and managed it can cause a lot of confusion to become apparent, which can be a major drawback for research. If your mind map becomes too large it may also hinder your analytic skills.
For this reason it is often recommended that when constructing mind maps you try to keep your ideas as concise as possible. Using key words and varying the thickness and length of the lines used in mind maps can be a good way of identifying the most important ideas relating to your research. Colour can also be very useful when drawing mind maps, and circling the most important concepts in prominent colours will really help you to visualise the most important points in your research.