Skip to Main Content

Extended Essay: Using Brainstorming and Mind Maps

A guide to the research and writing process required for students completing the IB Extended Essay.


Tools on this page can be used to record your thoughts and ideas.  Many give the option to invite others to share their ideas with you. If you use these techniques effectively you will be able to use your information sources to extract and record the most useful information and produce your own original piece of work.

You can use brainstorming as a way to help you find a research title.  Keep track and organize any topic ideas that come into your head.  See:


Mind mapping is another excellent way to track of your thoughts, and it is also an ideal way to group your ideas and resources and add structure to your knowledge.  See:



Stormboard takes the metaphor of sticky notes on a boardroom wall and brings it online allowing anyone - anywhere to brainstorm with only a web browser. Each user picks their favorite ideas and Stormboard brings the best ones forward.

From their website:  "Stormboard is an online brainstorming and collaboration platform. The name comes from a combination of brainstorm and whiteboard."

Find a description, screenshots, and tutorial at the New Technologies & 21st Century Skills blog from the College of Education at the University of Houston. - "Brainstorming made simple"is a really easy to use mind mapping or brainstorming tool.  You can go to the site and start brainstorming immediately!

Coggle is a free, easy-to-use web application for creating beautiful informative diagrams and mindmaps.

 For a tutorial video introduction, click the Coggle:  

Mind Map Inspiration

If you find it easier you can, of course, brainstorm and mind map on a big piece of paper with some colored pens or a big board with some post-it notes!

Choose whichever method works best for you.

At Mind Map Inspiration artist Paul Foreman offers example Mind Maps ® for inspiration and motivation, plus mindmapping tips, drawing tips, techniques for enhancing your creativity, and improving idea generation.

See the process of mind mapping from start:

©Paul Foresman

to finish:

©Paul Foresman


Mind Maps ® were invented by Tony Buzan

Mindmapping helps us progress from linear (one-dimensional) through lateral (two-dimensional) to radiant (multi-dimensional) thinking.


West Sound Academy Library | PO Box 807 |16571 Creative Drive NE | Poulsbo, WA 98370 | 360-598-5954 | Contact the librarian