IF YOU DON’T DO THE RESEARCH – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Sunday – Mentor


I never think of myself as having had mentors. I suppose I thought they were supposed to announce themselves or wear an ID that said “Mentor” on it. They were the teachers that listened to me. Who really read the papers I wrote and didn’t give me an automatic “A” because I was good with words.

My favorite grade was an A+/D. It was a 40-page paper and I thought it read pretty well. So what kind of grade was that?

I went up to him after class and said “Huh?”

He said: “Great writing. Pity you didn’t do the research. Writing is a wonderful skill, but if you don’t do the research …”

If you don’t do the research — or ignore the results of the research — you become Fox News.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

23 thoughts on “IF YOU DON’T DO THE RESEARCH – Marilyn Armstrong”

        1. He was demanding, but not strict. His classes were wide open to any idea. But he expected you to read the material — really read it, not just skim it — and his papers were long. He required bibliographies, footnotes, tables of contents — like a real paper. He was the ONLY teacher who prepared me for writing the very long documents I spent most of my working life producing. The other great teacher for this stuff was my boss at Grumman. Writing military specs is REALLY demanding.

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  1. I had one of those type of teachers in 11th grade. We had to do an adaptation of a play scene or some other writing assignments…it was College Prep English. I chose the scene from MacBeth … “Out Out Damned Spot..” I wrote it as a script, as if it were going to be filmed instead of acted out in a theater, stage directions and the whole bit. My teacher thought it was amazing and actually read it out loud to the class. Told me privately that I needed to follow that kind of thing as a career (in 1977 guidance counselors didn’t much exist). I was mortified, and I dropped out of school altogether because the compliment made me so uncomfortable. I look back and wish to kick myself and give that stupid misguided girl some advice. Can’t do that. I missed the chance at having a great mentor. Pity. Thanks for sharing your own story about mentors….you obviously had great ones!

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    1. I didn’t think of them as mentors. But also, I would NEVER have dropped out of school for any reason. I WAS going to college. It never crossed my mind that I wouldn’t. That’s how I was brought up. If you didn’t do well in school, you couldn’t go to college … and that means you won’t go to heaven. My best mentor was my mother.

      I think in my family since neither of my parents graduated High School, we were under HUGE pressure to go. My brother didn’t finish, my sister got a masters, I stopped after a B.A., but I should have gone one more degree — but I needed to earn a living. But you know, going to college really MEANT something back then. Now, I don’t think it has the same importance. I think a trade is more likely to earn you a living than a liberal arts bachelor’s degree. Times change.

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  2. Your instructor was correct. Hopefully, he elaborated on those areas where he believed the research to be deficient so that you could learn from the experience. As for Fox News (and many other so-called “news” sources), they are receiving feedback every day regarding their blatant slant and inaccuracy. However, unlike a competent student of any age, they adamantly remain incurious.

    I found it interesting that you posted an entry related to poor research and the damage it causes. Years ago, I posted an article about a false story related to a purportedly massive construction project. It was a hoax, but it escaped the notice of many. If you’re interested, the article is stored here: https://kvsite.weebly.com/uncommon-comments/the-power-of-poor-research

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    1. These days so many lies are accepted as true … I never knew we had so many stupid people in this country. I know we’ve come up with a lot of psychological reasons why people believe idiotic stuff, but I think it’s because they are both stupid and totally lacking in curiosity. Now that we can do real research on the Internet, you really CAN check sources. If you don’t, you’ve got only yourself to blame. But a lot of these people seem very proud of their stupidity. The flat-earthers? The anti-vaxxers? How dumb ARE we?

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  3. I don’t believe that Everybody is a genius… unless you count being able to burp the national anthem as both your highest achievement and a ‘skill/talent’.
    or, you define a genius as one who excels in not giving a shit about anyone else. Some people are sheer ‘genius’ at that, not so good with thinking however.

    People are better at some things than others and some people can actually think and learn to think new things or think new applications of old things, which is my definition of genius, but a lot of us are just ‘average’, not quantitatively better or worse than anybody else – until we have to try to climb the tree, or run the race, or swim the pool, or read the book..or get ‘measured’ to meet any standard. 🙂

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    1. I think that most of we geniuses are only geniuses at whatever the test tested for. That’s the problem with IQ tests. Which test? What did they test for? Did they test creativity or artistic — or musical — ability? Or just general knowledge, word usage, and some math? None of those things define genius. Almost everyone has a talent for SOMETHING and many of those things have nothing to do with IQ testing.

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