Brainstorming Strategy: Asking Questions

Brainstorming is the process by which ideas are produced using techniques like concept mapping, free-writing, etc. Choosing a topic can be a difficult process when starting an assignment, writing a paper, or working on an oral presentation. Brainstorming can be used to choose a topic or narrow down a broad topic.



  • Who are the important / influential people (artists, designers, critics, writers, philosophers etc.) involved with my topic? This could also be a group or organization rather than an individual. 
  • Who is the audience or end user?


  • What are some examples of this topic? A work of art, building, film, product, service, etc.? 
  • What is it made of, what does it look like, what style is it? 
  • What are the creator’s aims, goals or concerns?


  • What time period(s) are appropriate to this topic? 
  • Has it been around for a long time, or is it new? 
  • How did it originate? 
  • If it is historical, what are the important milestone dates in its history?


  • Is it tied to a specific country, state, city or geographic area? 
  • Has it been relocated to multiple places and if so, where? 
  • What is the importance of place to my topic?


  • Has this topic/idea/work influenced others? 
  • How does it relate to the larger culture or context?


  • Is this topic/idea important–to others, and to me?

Information adapted from the GVSU Libraries Subject Guides.

Meet with a Consultant

Have other questions? Research consultants can help! We specialize in brainstorming topics, finding sources, reading scholarly materials, and evaluating research. 

Stop by the Knowledge Market during open hours or make an appointment to talk with a research consultant.

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Page last modified August 24, 2022