In my writing class, a student asks if zie needs to put issues 1-7 in hir paper.
"I don't know," I say. And then I add, "you won't know until you've done some research and figured out if issues 1-7 are interesting and worth talking about in your paper."
The student insisted, and I said basically the same thing, that zie needs to learn about issues 1-7 in order to know if they're important enough to be included. But, zie worries, there are 7 things. Yes, there are. Research takes time.
Zie is pissed off at me. Again.
Zie wants me to tell hir that no, zie won't need 2-7, and can get by with a cursory glance at 1, or something. Or wants me to tell hir that #4 is the one. But it's not my paper, and I haven't done the research, so I really don't know.
I think that's really hard for this student to understand that zie is writing a paper that actually isn't going to be read by someone who already knows the answer, but by someone who's going to read for real.
It's like doing real research of any kind: you have ideas about what might be important or about how things will turn out, but you don't know until you've actually done the research. And it takes time. This isn't me being mean in withholding information, but me actually not knowing.