Evaluate Ideas

One of the main goals of the prewriting process is to use exploring and focusing techniques to generate ideas. Once those ideas are generated, writers must evaluate them to determine whether and how they will fit into a particular piece of writing.

In many cases, only a fraction of the ideas generated during prewriting are worth pursuing. Keep in mind that the best ideas fit in well with your assigned topic, audience, and purpose. To help you determine which ideas are the most valuable, try rating them using the brief survey shown in this table.

Check the appropriate box to the right for each statement below. Strongly agree Agree somewhat Do not agree
This idea is relevant to my topic.
This idea will further my purpose.
This idea will help me meet my audience’s expectations.
I will find authoritative evidence and logic to support this idea.
I will be motivated to write more about this idea.

After you have evaluated your ideas to determine the most promising ones, you can then think about how each idea may work in your paper. As you sort through your material, consider what type of information each idea is:

At this point, you can reassess your ideas. If, for example, you find that an idea you thought was promising does not fall into one of the types of information listed above, it may be that the idea is not relevant to your topic after all. On the other hand, if you find that you do not have any supporting details in your prewriting, you will need to concentrate on coming up with more evidence for your main point as you develop your writing.