There are notes about thinking that you can find in the Research Kitchen

And humour should not be discounted when it comes to thinking.

A field that has made thinking differently about long standing problems something of a mantra is behavioural economics. Here is a good illustration.

All ideas come from somewhere, they have a point in time when they were developed. So many of the idea or mind sets we now come across all did not exist at one time in the past. Tracing the origins of ideas, particularly if they inform the way you think about your research question is seriously important. It will help you make sense of contemporary literature and give you a much better grasp of your research questions.

Mapping the history of the ideas that have informed your agenda is an important first step. This should give you a good sense of the ways in which folk in the past thought about, modelled, theorised the idea set with which you are working. Your review of recent literature will also give you a good sense of the current patterns of thinking about your research agenda.

All of these elements might be collapsed under the notion of thinking about your research. You will have been working on some of these ideas in other courses but it is useful to try and draw a few things together.

Thinking differently is always tricky and perhaps more so when you are just embarking on a new research agenda and all you are being encouraged to do is to stick within a narrow band of ideas and literatures. But I'm firmly of the view that learning to think differently about your problem space is a key part of doing research that will get noticed and will therefore more likely have an impact.

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