Visual mapping – much like brain storming or word clouds. Designers often use this approach (see mood boards and pin boards – and the development of digital approaches such as pin-it.
Artists often use thumb nail sketches to develop ideas – these images are thumb-nails – the smaller version of a bigger visual idea… this approach enables a visual record, on a small scale – of a thought process; a way of organising ideas. In this case to better understand the way in which a designer might approach their work. So much information is developed during the research process, and so many connections are made between different ideas it can sometimes get overwhelming. This visual approach enables a re-tracing of these connections.