XMind Talk: How Does Mind Mapping Help with My Bachelor's Thesis

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As a student majored in applied psychology, Rose has been using XMind for 2 years. As a member of the class of 2020, she has been facing pressure from graduation and job. In today’s read, she will be sharing how she used XMind in her study and paved her way for graduation.


Tell us about yourself and what are you working on right now?

My name is Rose, and major in applied psychology. It’s been a tough year for the Class of 2020. I was occupied by job interviews and bachelor thesis before graduation, and luckily most things were perfectly done.

How long have you been using XMind?

I’ve been starting using XMind in 2018.

It was in a class called General Psychology, and the professor used mind map for explaining the concept of Cognitive Psychology.

Mind map is useful for visualizing information:

  1. Central idea is the issue itself;
  2. When the issue occurs, a hierarchical mental schema will be generated in brain automatically;
  3. Fill in the steps in the solution process in to the schema.

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The professor also introduced other mind mapping software, I’ve chose XMind after trying different products. It’s free to download and the features in trial version is good enough. The built-in templates are great for new-comers, and I was astonished by the mind maps in the gallery. It was smooth when I created my first mind map in XMind, thanks to the simple but intuitive interface.

How does XMind help with your campus life?

Generally speaking, I use XMind for building knowledge systems, assignment, and my bachelor thesis.

Build Knowledge Systems

Psychology is an interdisciplinary subject that uses knowledge in many fields such as mathematics, physics, biology, neurology, medicine, and sociology.

From the perspective of the individual and the external environment, we will explore the question of "why do people think/behave like this", such as personality psychology, social psychology, abnormal psychology and other interesting facts that everyone likes to see.

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Neither observations nor brain inference is enough, we also need experiments or questionnaire data. In the course Experimental Psychology, we get to understand how the classic experiments are designed, then we use Eprime (a programming platform for psychology experiments), and we also find participants for the experiment.

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I use Fishbone for recording the courses. It helps me to observe my progress, so that I can understand the purposes of this course. Not to mention how XMind helps for the final exam.

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I divide a book into different chapters, and record them in different sheets of a single XMind file. Reading an XMind file is like reading the summaries of different chapters which enhances the memory.

Group Assignment

Most of the assignments are group work. When working as a team, the personal performance will not be evaluated separately,

When working as a team, the individual performance will not be evaluated, and that’s why the enthusiasm and efficiency of each other reduce. In social psychology, it is called the social loafing effect.

This situation is common, so I started to use mind maps for devision and recording of the group assignment for avoiding the loafing effect, and it turns out mind mapping also works!

The 3 features are frequently used in the group assignment are:

Logic Chart - Break down the tasks Icon and Legend - Notify the tasks of different group members Boundary - Mark deadline and process

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Bachelor Thesis

I started with jotting down the process of finishing the thesis which also includes the process of research.

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Insert Image and Hyperlink are quite helpful. The image helps me to identify the difference in different models and graphs, which relates to my hypothesis and conclusion.

A mind map filled by paragraphs is not a good mind map. This happened when I was thinking if I should put analysis in previous documents on the mind map which is a bit too much. Hyperlink is a great solution here. I simply use it to link the documents and I can always find it whenever I need.

The mind map helped me a lot since the beginning of my bachelor thesis.

Better Research and Writing

Since the time is limited for research, experiment and writing, and that’s why tracking and knowing the process is significant. With the mind map, I can always find where I am, record everything down, and know the next step is so that I can prepare in advance.

Track and Solve Problems

My professor also worked with different students at the same time, so it might be hard for him to memorize what we discussed last time. I always brought and showed him the mind map of my thesis so that the professor knew why and where the problem came, and we could figure out a solution together.

Presentation with Confidence

I made the PPT based on my mind map, and it was surprisingly easy since I’ve memorized the mind map subtly during writing the bachelor thesis. The presentation went smoothly as well, and I could answer the questions from the professors confidently.

How do you improve your mind mapping skills?

I keep using XMind after landing my first job, and mind maps have been a part of my life: weekly report, meeting notes, presentation, etc.

I love the mind maps that are Simple and Clear, and the principles I’ve insisted are as bblow:

  • More Sheets
  • No more than 4 levels in one sheet
  • Key word instead of sentences
  • Using Relationship, Boundary, Summary, etc. for displaying logical relationships

Another thing I’ve been training is to make beautiful mind maps, like those in the Library. I’ve been practicing the layout, and harmonizing the colors.

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