The Common Topoi and Tagmemic Questions

Use the common topoi and tagmemic questions to stimulate your creative abilities.


What is it? What are the unique features of the subject?

Example: What were the unique achievements of the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission?


How is the subject similar to or different from other members of its class?

Example: What did the Apollo 11 mission accomplish that previous or subsequent missions did not?


How much can a subject vary, and how can it vary over time without losing its essential nature?

Example: What facts does NASA or a conspiracy theorist present as evidence?


How can you observe the subject? How often can you observe it?

Example: What pictures, video, or physical evidence do we have regarding Apollo 11?


How will the subject change over time? How is the subject changing over time?

Example: How have interpretations of Apollo 11 evolved? What conspiracy theories have been raised since 1969?


What’s the larger, systems view? In other words, how do the parts of your subject relate to one another? How does your subject relate to other subjects?

Example: Many web sites and television shows have argued that the Apollo mission was a hoax. contWhy is that? What science was required to carry off the lunar landing and what evidence does NASA have to prove the Apollo mission?