Word Mapping is an effective way to kick start and wrap my mind around a new project. Jotting words on a page is one way to document my thinking, tap into prior knowledge and track associations that often lead to new ways of seeing a subject.
"In the 1960s, Joseph D. Novak (1993) at Cornell University began to study the concept mapping technique. His work was based on the theories of David Ausubel (1968), who stressed the importance of prior knowledge in being able to learn about new concepts. Novak concluded that "Meaningful learning involves the assimilation of new concepts and propositions into existing cognitive structures." A concept map is a graphical representation where nodes (points or vertices) represent concepts, and links (arcs or lines) represent the relationships between concepts."
Concept Mapping Defined
Introduction to Concept Mapping