In the early stages of working on a written assignment you might create a mind map. Starting from a central theme, elements branch out to show relationships among aspects of a topic.
Creating a mind map forces you to consider the relationships among ideas and aspects of the topic.
By asking yourself questions about these relationships, you deepen your understanding of the materials. It is the process of questioning as much as the final map that helps you build the structure and/or arguments for your paper.
Example of Mind Map