Suppose your assignment for sociology
class asks you to look at a social issue related to gender and explore various
factors that play a role. It’s a research paper, and you’re expected to make an
argument about which factors are most important. You may decide to explore why
women earn less on average than men. These are some of your ideas. Now, how can these ideas relate? Are some ideas bigger than others? Do some ideas come first?
Which ones? How many ideas are there? Do some ideas overlap or relate very
closely? Maybe one idea leads to another as in this sketch. Don’t worry about
how your sketch, diagram, or shape looks. The point is to see how your ideas relate.
Your ideas could look like this, or like this, or maybe they shape up this way. In
some cases when you draw your ideas, you may find that one doesn’t fit neatly.
That may be a clue that you don’t need it for this particular paper. If you feel
the idea is really important, try a new sketch and see if it fits them better
another way. Of course, it’s up to you to find the shape that best communicates
your ideas. Start sketching, and pick a shape that speaks to you and helps
reframe your thoughts.