"These pictorial methods record knowledge and model systems, and have a long history in learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists, and others" (Mckinney, 2018)
Some of the earliest recorded mind maps were made by the philosopher Ramon Llull (13th century), exploring the a variety of concepts, such as 'knowledge' (left below) and 'love' (right below) (Nast, 2012)
Art students particularly find this form of organizing research to be very useful. Mind maps can be made by hand, and some students will prefer to do this, but research has shown that the majority of art students prefer to use mind mapping software (Holland, 2004).
WHY USE TECHNOLOGY?
Whilst mind maps can be made by hand, there are advantages to using mind mapping technologies. One of the most important of these is the ease with which the map can be edited. This is very important during a research project. If you create an elaborate hand drawn diagram, there can be a resistance to changing it. But change is essential as new information alters your ideas, and new connections are made. A hand drawn mind map could actually box you in to a certain way of looking at your ideas, when in fact you want to use the tool for thinking outside the box. In some ways, the use of a mind map as a research tool is more closely connected to a pin board or wall of ideas with connecting strings than a drawing. However, with computer technology you do not need a large studio wall, and your notes/images can be hyperlinked to source materials.
So, what might these mind maps look like, in relation to the student research based art practice? Here is a mind map made for a Grade 10 project:
And here is a video about this student's process, and you can see something of the making too:
Buzan, T., & Buzan, B. (2002). How to mind map. London: Thorsons.
Holland, B., Holland, L., & Davies, J. (2004). An investigation into the concept of mind mapping and the use of mind mapping software to support and improve student academic performance.
Mckinney, S. (2018). Educational techniques and methodology. Scientific e-Resources.
Nast, J. (2012). Idea Mapping: how to access your hidden brain power, learn faster, remember more, and achieve success in business. John Wiley & Sons.