AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators



Dana Dehart on Using Mind Mapping to Organize Projects

I am Dana DeHart, Research Associate Professor at The Center for Child & Family Studies, a multidisciplinary evaluation and training unit within the University of South Carolina’s College of Social Work. I conduct grant-funded research dealing with violence and victimization. Some of my recent projects have included studies on incarcerated women, prior victimization, trauma histories of delinquent girls, and needs assessments for victim service initiatives, elder mistreatment prevention, and higher education in child welfare.

Hot Tips: I’m visually oriented, so when I’m planning or reporting on projects, I use mind-mapping software to help organize my thoughts. Wikipedia describes a wide variety of free and pay software applications for mind-mapping (Compendium, FreeMind, MindMapper, etc.). Typically, these allow the user to create tree-like networks of nodes with linked text, like the one below.

You can type text directly into a textbox corresponding to each node (see Effects on Well-Being, below), or you can cut and paste text from other programs such as your qualitative analytic software.

You can add or delete nodes, shuffle nodes around from branch to branch, and export the entire map to a graphic image file or to a word processing file that presents textual content as a report (see below).

Rad Resource: The mind-mapping software that I use is Mindjet MindManager. A free trial version is available at

· ·


  • Aubrey Perry on Mind Mapping and xMind · AEA365 · December 28, 2012 at 3:09 am

    […] Rad Resource: For more information on how you can integrate mind mapping with your evaluation projects, check out Dana Dehart’s post on AEA365. […]


  • Sophia Juarez on the Best Free Tool Around for Collaborative Outlining · AEA365 · January 30, 2012 at 3:15 am

    […] outlines or outlines within lists. Some people’s brains work well when making mindmaps (see Dana Dehart’s July 2011 post). For better or worse, and I know it isn’t fashionable to say so, I’m a fairly linear thinker. […]


  • Author comment by Marcus · September 9, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Ana,

    I have not personally used any PC alternatives, but Scrivener’s website provides some potential options:

    Hope this helps!


  • Ana Claudia F. · September 8, 2010 at 9:39 am

    Hi Marcus,

    Do you know any application like this on PC?

    And thanks Dana, I´ll try mindjet.

    Thank you.


  • Author comment by Marcus · July 11, 2010 at 11:04 am

    Hi Dana,

    While not necessarily mind mapping software per se, there’s an application on Mac OS X called “Scrivener” which does much of the same–it’s software designed for writers and academics that organizes the writing process by breaking things down into logical steps. Great post though!


Leave a Reply




To top