Writing Well

You're Not Done Yet

Writer's Block

Include only respected people in the field. Don't waste your time with cranks and people with their own agendas to further.

Not so fast, partner! There are lots of other places to look. And here they are:

Write Angles

Consider audiovisual sources, too. These include records, audio-cassettes, videotapes, slides, and photographs. AV materials can often be borrowed from your library as you would books, magazines, and other print sources.

  1. Interviews. There's a lot to be said for first-hand information. Discussing your subject with an expert adds credibility and immediacy to your report. You can conduct interviews by telephone, by e-mail, or in person.
    Call and confirm the interview, prepare a series of questions well in advance of the interview, and later write a note thanking the person for his or her time. Get the person's permission beforehand if you decide to tape-record the interview. Obtain a signed release for the right to use their remarks on the record.
  2. Surveys. Surveys can help you assess how a large group feels about your topic or a significant aspect of it. On the basis of the responses, you draw conclusions. Such generalizations are usually made in quantitative terms, as in “Fewer than one third of the respondents said that they favored charter schools.” To get fair and unbiased data …
    • Survey a large number of people.
    • Avoid loaded questions that lead people toward a specific response.
    • Make the form simple and easy.
  3. Government documents. The government publishes tons of pamphlets, reports, catalogs, and newsletters on most issues of national concern. Government documents are often excellent research sources because they tend to be factual and unbiased. To find government documents, try these CD-ROM and online indexes:
    • Monthly Catalogue of the United States Government Publications
    • United States Government Publications Index
  4. Special collections. Many libraries also have restricted collections of rare books, manuscripts, newspapers, magazines, photographs, maps, and items of local interest. They're usually stored in a special room or section of the library and you'll probably need permission to access them.
book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well © 2000 by Laurie Rozakis, Ph.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.


Zika Virus Q&A: 4 Facts for Pregnant Women & Families
Zika virus is pretty scary. Pregnant or not, learn what steps to take to protect your family from Zika, including travel restrictions and mosquito bite prevention.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

Ommm! 5 Meditation & Mindfulness Activities for Families
Family meditation and mindfulness can help reduce anxiety and promote health and happiness. Learn some fun and easy mindfulness activities for kids, and set them on the path to inner peace!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks