Mind-Mapping & Social Sciences

Mind map

Image by Squallwc via Flickr

If I’m ever feeling impulsive, I’m going to buy Tinderbox software.  For now, I’ve downloaded the trial version. If you ever have the need to mind-map (i.e. organize/network multiple ideas), this software is amazing. If you’re looking for something free, some folks at Mind-Mapping.org have created a great visual list of software tools, including lots of free choices (so far I like Cacoo).  So why on earth would I need this?

Today I sat in a professor’s office for an hour. I gave him my list of 31 potential paper topics and we used Tinderbox to organize it into categories and network specific concepts between thoughts. I walked out of there with a pretty clear idea of where I need to go next with these ideas – specifically for my thesis topic. It will be a great way to organize potential paper topics (if you’re like me, you have a giant list), or to create a chronology of them.

I can also see the potential for this kind of software during fieldwork, specifically if you don’t have access to the qualitative research database software that’s out there. It’s like Christmas over here – time to play with my new toy!  Go check them out if you have time!

P.S. This particular professor rocks.. our Music of India class is having an Indian cooking lesson & Bollywood watching event tonight @ his place 🙂



  1. Interesting, I’ve never used Tinderbox. Under the freeware category, I personally prefer XMind. Under the not-so-free (but used to be?) category, I love[d] OmniGraffle. (It came with my old Mac and I lost the program when the Mac died.)

  2. “The ethnomusicologist’s location was, like mine and Ara Shirinyan’s, none of the above, or rather, the ethnomusicologist was located in exchange itself, either kind or a jerk, real but unreal, but really unknown to me save for the scarce and electric ways I really know him. The ethnomusicologist recently blogged about a musician whose parents are from two countries and who grew up in a zone of another country ruled by yet another country and who then moves to the country the zone is located in (but not ruled by) yet is outcast there: knowing only three phases of the native language, he finds himself performing on buses as they move down the road. ”

    That Great Beat

  3. Ooh hey, I’m glad you wrote about this. Earlier in the week during a paper I saw, someone was tinkering with mind-map software, but I couldn’t think of what it might be called… so I couldn’t even think of what to google (Denise Von Glahn made an analog mind-map in the US music class I sat in on, and called it an “expanded constellation” … this would have probably just yielded stuff about astronomy). Looks like a good investment.

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