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Making connections, developing ideas .

HEAT Stage 1: Understanding the assignment and getting started.

1.3 Making connections, developing ideas ...

making connections


This section will help to:

  • Develop confidence to make a start with your writing
  • Expand and organise ideas
  • Develop planning strategies

How to develop your ideas

Start with what you know

  • A really good place to start, is writing notes about what you know already about your title or assignment task. By doing this, you may discover that you know more than you originally thought.
  • Choose a method of note taking to record your ideas that suits your learning style. (See 'Planning and breaking down your assignment using your learning style').
  • Refer to your lecture notes and course materials for initial references.
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Dig deeper

  • Ask yourself some questions about the title eg. Is the subject important? Why? What are the current views or research?
  • Apply these key words to your subject: What, Who, When, Where, How and Why (see 'Making a start' ), to develop your thoughts further.
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What do you need to find out?


Now look at your plan, and take a different colour pen and underline or write notes of the things you need to find out or you don't know. This will be your 'jobs to do list'. By doing this, you will use your time efficiently and not waste time making notes on areas that you don't need.

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Now, what do you think you want to say?


Even at this early stage, having an idea of your overall argument will help you to write clearly and confidently. However as you research your subject your initial ideas may change, so be open to the opinions of others along the way, and be prepared for this research to present you with lots of questions.

What is the balance of the points you want to make? Using the marker below, where would you place your views at this stage? 50/50, 70/30, 60/40?


0    10    20    30    40    50    60    70    80    90    100

Your argument may not be as clear at this stage, and very often it is not about finding reasons for or against. Your aim is to make 'a careful judgement after balanced consideration of all aspects of a topic' (McMillan and Weyers 2006 p137).


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