You're Not Done Yet
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:
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- Monthly Catalogue of the United States
- United States Government Publications Index
- 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.
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
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.
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