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Mind mapping, developed by Tony Buzan, also has been called ‘spider diagrams’ represents ideas, notes, information, etc. in far-reaching tree-diagrams.
To draw a mind-map:
- Layout a large sheet of paper in landscape and write a concise heading for the overall theme in the centre of the page.
- For each major sub-topic or cluster of material, start a new major branch from the central theme, and label it.
- Each sub-sub-topic or sub-cluster forms a subordinate branch to the appropriate main branch
- Carry on in this way for ever finer sub-branches.
It may be appropriate to put an item in more than one place, cross-link it to several other items or show relationships between items on different branches. Coding the colour, type of writing etc can do this. Alternatively you drawings in place of writing may help bring the diagram to life.
Software packages are available that support with mind-maps, making it easier to amend and reshuffle the map, they often hold notes and documents, etc. associated with the labels (so acting as a filing system). Computer-based maps have the disadvantage of the small screen, and are less flexible than hand drawn versions (e.g you cannot usually make cross-links). Freemind is a cross platform free and open source example which is very popular for is flexibility and compatibility.
Radical tree diagrams, hierarchical tree diagrams, clustering methods (cf. Snowball Technique, KJ-method, Highlighting) all use the same hierachical logic. However, they have different optical impacts, and dissimilar abilities to characterize derived connections such as over-lapping, cross-linking etc.
We are currently evaluating Mind Map Software from smartdraw to determine how good it is to create great Mind Maps fast.
Another Mind Map Software is MindVisualizer which is solely focused on mind mapping, thus it's very easy to use, adding branches is easy-press the ENTER/Insert key and type the topic. Below example illustrates why it can increase your productivity.