Writing Well

Cast a Critical Eye

Four guys went on a cross-country road trip. They were from Idaho, Iowa, New York, and Florida. Two hours into the trip, the man from Idaho rolled down his window and started tossing potatoes out of the car. The guy from Florida said, “What are you doing?”

“We have too many potatoes in Idaho,” he replied, “and this is a great way to get rid of some.”

An hour later, the Iowan rolled down his window, opened his duffle bag, and began tossing out ears of corn. The New Yorker said, “Now what are you doing?” The Iowan replied, “Well, we have far too much corn in Iowa, so I figured this would be a great chance to get rid of some of it.”

About two hours later, the Floridian rolled down his window and tossed out the man from New York.

We make evaluations on a daily basis; some are valid, while others may be a bit hasty. Nonetheless, in life and in writing, sometimes you have to be ruthless in your judgments. In this section, you'll learn to evaluate and track the material you use in your research paper to make sure you select only reliable sources.

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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.

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