This page can be used when you:
Want to speed up your writing process
Are creating a thesis for a paper
Are setting up a meeting with your supervisor
You can use techniques such as brainstorming and mindmapping to generate ideas for a topic.
Ideally, your idea for a topic for a paper or thesis will be based on something you find interesting:
Note that if your knowledge or interest is related to a course you have already done, special restrictions apply so you don’t duplicate your own previous independent work. Check the academic regulations for your study programme.
An experienced professor from the Department of Aesthetics and Communication gives advice on choosing a topic.
The content of the interactive free writing exercise was written by Tine Wirenfeldt Jensen.
Brainstorming is a method of writing that enables you to open up your mind and see where it takes you.
Your text may contain questions, answers, ideas and even words or sentences that do not seem to be connected to the topic. Write everything down and then select the useful ideas when you are done.
Mind mapping gives you a chance to organise your ideas and clarify the connections between different aspects of your argumentation and your paper as a whole.
This can give you a new perspective on how to structure your paper as it allows you to see how the different notions and arguments fit together.
Once you have your thesis idea sorted out and your supervisor in place your logical next step is to work out an outline and read up. Work out a “problemformulering”, based on which you can set up an outline, incl. chapter suggestions, and start compiling a preliminary, commented bibliography.
It is not a bad idea to start thinking about what you might want to write about early. Take advantage of (spare) time to see whether your idea fits you and get comfortable with it – or think of another topic.
If you have an idea for a Master's thesis several semesters in advance, you have time to read and collect material “on the side” and let some ideas sink in at leisure – before you have to think of your thesis in terms of a strict 6-month deadline.
Part of the content of this page was written by Inger H. Dalsgaard, Associate Professor, PhD, Department of Aesthetics and Communication, Aarhus University.
Scribo is an interactive tool which supplies suggestions and information on research papers and library searches.
With a dialogue of 28 questions sequenced to supply the work-in-progress, Scribo helps you to process initial ideas and structure the research. Scribo further assists with supervision and helps you conduct a literature search.
Students from Aarhus University can access Scribo via their online self service login. Press the icon "Login using WAYF" and use your self service login.
If you are having problems with Scribo you can contact the publisher at email@example.com
You may find it difficult to get started on your academic paper. Instead of trying to write the perfect version of the final text at once, it may be a good idea to do some pre-writing in order to express your ideas and main points down.
Free writing helps you develop your arguments and theories and you can use it to focus your paper.
This way of writing enables you to get a hold of what is in your head.
During normal writing, a lot of time is spent checking the screen correcting spelling. This is not actual writing.
By using free writing, you make the process more efficient. The method requires uninterrupted writing for a set period of time.
You can sit down and write whenever you have planned to do this. Free writing does not require inspiration or a lot of time. Just set your mind to it and start writing.
Free writing uses the act of writing as a tool for stimulating the thought process. This method can improve your written work as it will often give you new ideas to work with.
You will produce a larger amount of written work, and can therefore choose the best parts of this for the final product.
Free writing does not provide you with a piece of text that you can use directly in your paper, but it may give you some good ideas and bring out thoughts that you did not even know you had.
The subject of your free writing will normally be academic, i.e., the topic of your assignment, what the main issue/problem of the assignment should be, how you can develop a certain chapter further.
You can familiarise yourself with the free writing method by writing about any topic that you have some knowledge of. The interactive free writing exercise allows you to select your own topic or choose one from a list.
It is important to avoid stopping the free writing, even if you cannot think of anything else to write. Instead, write that you have run out of ideas, or write the name of the topic a few times.
If you keep writing, you will often find that the ideas start to flow again – ideas you would not have had if you had stopped the exercise.
Some people find it challenging to produce text without continually revising and correcting it.
Perhaps you felt you did not gain very much from free writing after trying it for the first time. If this is the case, keep trying and see how things go. Like all other things, free writing can be learnt.
Once you have got to know the method, you can use it when writing assignments. Open a document in your word processing programme, switch off the monitor, set a stopwatch – and write.