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Focus on Starting or developing writing.

HEAT Stage 4: Planning the structure of your assignment.

4.3 Focus on: starting or developing writing


There are many ways of doing this and you need to work out which suits YOU best. Here are a few ideas to start with – see if you think any of them might help you, or adapt them to suit your own way of learning.


The 'Sticky Notes Shuffle' or 'Chop and Sort' Approach

You will need:

  • Develop confidence to make a start with your writing
  • A large piece of paper (or board, or even your desk) and
  • A supply of sticky notes ( in different colours) or
  • Paper, scissors and Blu-Tack

Brainstorm ideas about the assignment title/question, move them around – start to build a basic shape for your assignment and identify what else you need to do.

Use colour here to link similar parts and go on to use these colours in your research and reading.

The Thought-Mapping (or spider gram) Approach.

Start with the basic title or question, break it down into topics and then smaller and smaller chunks:

Add more links as you get more ideas

Extend the 'family tree' or 'flow chart' as you get more ideas.

The 'Family Tree' Approach

Start with the basic title or question and break it down into smaller and smaller chunks:

Extend the 'family tree' as you get more ideas.

Just add more 'clouds' as you get more ideas.

The 'Tidy Table 'Approach


Topic What does this mean? What do I already know? What do I need to find out? How am I going to find it?


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