Phase one began with a lot of brainstorming and idea generation both individually and as a year group. We used methods from ‘How to Have Great Ideas’ to really begin thinking about what we enjoy and what we would like to look at and study for the following year. At the end of the year, we need a finished game based around one of our research topics, so it was important to expand on ideas to discover something that we found interesting enough to work on for the coming months.
I started by doing a few independent brainstorms as to what I was ‘interested’ in, but I found the workshop with Adam was more productive as we asked ourselves more questions:
What makes me laugh?
What makes me cry?
What makes me angry?
What makes me excited?
What makes me intellectually stimulated?
What makes you interested?
I tried to answer these questions as broadly as I could so that I would have a large collection of possible research avenues and topics of interest specifically for myself. I found this workshop helpful as well because I found some topics and areas of interest on other students’ mind maps that I hadn’t thought of myself and was able to add them to my list. We also went around the room after hanging our mind maps and crossed out what we thought would be a ‘bad start’ (for example, if we felt a topic was too niche and couldn’t be explored in a deep enough context.) This also allowed everyone to see what topics could be brought forward when entering the research phase.
Into the research phase, I used a method called the ‘lotus blossom’ which we’d been taught by Andy in the first year. I find this way of brainstorming helpful as it allows me to get a few degrees away from the topic I have chosen while remaining in the same general area. This also allowed me to see overlaps with topics that perhaps at face value, did not seem related. It helps to show me what I could deep-dive research into, as with some of the topics I found interesting, I struggled to brainstorm further than one or two ‘stems’. This indicated to me that while the topic might be of some interest, it would not be smart to choose it as a research topic and my research would only reach so far.
Towards the end of this brainstorming session, I had a rough idea of the four topics I wanted to investigate deeper. Those topics were: Behaviour, Space, Dark Tourism, and Cults. All of these had small overlaps in that I was interested in the psychology and interactivity of each one. We had to research these topics and find elements that we personally found interesting. Below are the notes from the class shared etherpad on my presentation.
tourism that involves travelling to places associated with death and suffering.
Types of Dark Tourism: Grave – This involves visiting grave sites or cemeteries Holocaust – Involves visiting sites relating to the Holocaust. This could include concentration camps and ghettos. An example might be The House of Wannsee Conference in Berlin. Genocide – (self-explanatory) Prison and Persecution Site – This could include former Stasi prisons, KGB Prisons, Gulag sites, or lunatic asylums (Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum) Communism – For example, socialist realist art displays Cold War and Iron Curtain – For example, the Berlin Wall or Iron Curtain museums. Old bunkers like Hack Green and the Greenbrier Nuclear – Sites of nuclear testing, Atom bomb sites like Hiroshima or Nagasaki, or disaster sites like Chernobyl Disaster Area – This is usually referring to natural disasters like Pompeii, Montserrat, Mount St Helen etc. Medical – Examples include Josephinum, Mutter Museum, Maguro Parasitological Museum, Bodies Exhibition
Moving on from our ‘Good Start, Bad Start’ workshop, I wanted to employ a technique we learnt in the first year called the ‘lotus blossom technique’. This technique involves taking a basic idea or theme, and expanding on it until you have a huge collection of research points. I personally find this technique much better than a classic mind map as it pushes me to think of more avenues of research when compared to a traditional mind map. From this, I wanted to gain a fully fleshed out idea-space for each theme I planned to look into.
These first two drafts were used as exercises for myself to start thinking creatively and making connections between different themes before I dove straight into the lotus technique. While I was considering what I could look into, I narrowed my interests down into a few stand-out categories.
After creating the lotus maps, I went through the topics I had looked at and used coloured markers to see which areas were of interest to me the most. This gave me a good idea of what to focus on when it came to actually research these topics. For example, in my Ecosystem map, I found that I was more interested in evolution, habitats, psychology and geography, and less interested in conservation, the built environment, biomes and climate change.
Using this technique also helped me to see if my chosen interests were broad enough to be able to deep dive into research, while I have an interest in comedy, there was a limited amount of space I could go with it, and I found that while deconstructing the genre, there wasn’t really any aspects of it that truly caught my attention.
So from this, I had compiled a simple list to reference while researching. The topic, alongside more specific avenues of research that I found interesting and wanted to explore further. Going forward, I used two techniques Adam taught us during an early workshop. These tasks involved taking a subject we were interested in and creating 6 thumbnails for that topic. I then asked others to comment on what they thought the topic was just through visuals. It was interesting to see what others thought about each topic I’d chosen. Another task we were given was to try and list as many questions as we could think of based on the topics we’d chosen. This was to try and give us a starting point in terms of research.
What others thought it meant:
Science x2, Justice x2, genetics, chromosomes, microscope, communication, symbolism, structure, exchange, law and order, Peace, Planet, Global, Economy, Social, Humanity
What others thought it meant:
Stars x3, Space x3, Galaxies x2, Exploration, Alignment, Patterns, NASA, Rockets, Engineering, Signs, Personality, Funding
It’s the third year, we’re back and better than ever!
Before the first workshop with Adam, myself, Samantha and AJ went away and began brainstorming topics of interest using markers to create mindmaps. This was a simple exercise to get us thinking about possible avenues of research and ultimately shake off the summer cobwebs from our pesky little brains.
Using different coloured markers, we set ourselves a time limit of ten minutes and tried to brainstorm as many things as we could that we found interesting. At the end of the ten minutes, we had three different mindmaps. We then swapped over and used our respective coloured markers to underline any topics of interest that we shared or anything that perhaps we had missed out on our own mindmaps that we find interesting.
Good Start, Bad Start
We then had a ‘Good Start, Bad Start‘ workshop with Adam. The aim of this workshop was to generate lots of mindmaps and possible starting points for individual research. In groups, we began to consider whether topics of interest that had been written down had any researchable qualities to them.
This workshop involved lots of mind mapping and rapid idea generation. We used methods from ‘How to have Great Ideas’ by John Ingledew to create large branching mindmaps in six different topics:
What makes you: Laugh, Cry, Angry, Excited, Interested, Intellectually Stimulated?
In a group (Myself, AJ and Samantha) we had to brainstorm six different categories. My personal lists can be found under ‘What makes me?’
Other Idea Generation Techniques
After working as a group to consider what might be a good start and a bad start, we went away with a theme in mind and began brainstorming avenues of research surrounding that topic as a group. We chose conspiracy theories as it was something all three of us found interesting, yet we didn’t think to add it to our own list of interests.