I'm talking about the 4 W's-and-H. These are the basics for writing school-based assignments--and they work very easily in planning a thesis too. They are the backbone of good journalism too. They help students prepare notes for public speaking, they are useful for research, and they keep you focused.
One of the ideas I used as an example here was/are the problems with food safety and preparation for the general public. I went back to the early 1900s and Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, about the meat-packing industry in Chicago....then connected that to the changes in policies that allowed food additives and preservatives in the 1930s...to the outbreaks of food poisoning throughout the '80s-'90s...and then on to the recalls of millions of pounds of meats and Mad Cow disease, right up through today's issues of food contamination and fatalities. It all keeps on going over time: that's "When" it matters. (See more at link).