Another method for exploration goes by many names: mind mapping, mapping, clustering, etc. This is a visual way of seeing the connections between your ideas and organizing them. To start, you put the topic in the center of the page and draw a circle around it.
Then you can add other details, drawing circles around those and lines of connection:
The mind map can then act as a sort of outline for your essay. Seeing those connections in this visual way shows where you might need more detail or examples, and you can then take those ideas to organize into body paragraphs.