During the final full week of class (M/W/F) we will have an opportunity to share the work we’ve been toiling away with over the past few weeks. Each presentation will be a dynamic, concise, and rehearsed 6-8 minutes (about 3-4 pages of text double-spaced). If you want pointers on the presentation portion, the College has a Speaking Lab that can help. It is crucial that you do not go over your time limit.
In these presentations, you will offer a condensed form of your research paper (essentially adapting what you’ve already written to fit the 3-4 page range) that includes all the major parts. Here’s a general guide:
(1) Establish your opening moves and clearly articulate your argument and the conversation you are entering. Consider this the equivalent of the intro + the dueling thesis statements (~1 page).
(2) Give your audience a more detailed sense of the conversation, noting the most crucial sources and how you engage them. Here, you might give more information about one or two key sources, but just note the rest in a sentence or two (~1 page)
(3) Offer a sense of how your argument / analysis extends beyond, refutes, or otherwise joins this conversation, and give us at least one main set of reasons and evidence that support your claim. Remember: your evidence will most often come in the form of analysis. (~1 page).
(4) Conclude—bring it home!
The verbal presentation of your work serves a number of purposes:
- As with the blog, this presentation serves to emphasize that your work has an audience beyond your professor. Also, it asks you to persuade that audience in the present tense: we’ll be right in front of you!
- It gives you an opportunity to practice skills that will be crucial in many of your future classes: most importantly, confidently sharing your work with others. Many of the metaphors we’ve been using to discuss the research process—story, character, setting—come to life in a different way when you speak your story.
- This presentation gives you the opportunity to practice what I call voice revision. I believe that if we all clearly spoke each line of our papers, we would correct many errors, vary much static prose, and clarify many sentences. Though you will only present a portion of your paper, I recommend doing a complete voice revision of the whole thing.
- These presentations ask that your audience be good listeners, and that they ask thoughtful questions at the end of your talk. You will be presenting alongside others with related topics, and our job, as an audience, will be to make interesting connections, orchestrating so many TICs on the fly as we go!
I encourage the use of visual aids. Some of you will feel comfortable reading from a prepared text while making great eye contact. Others will feel more comfortable using some presentation software (e.g. Powerpoint) to provide a rough script for your work while projecting quotes that they engage, or showing us ads that you analyze. You can go old school or tech it up: but make sure your choices count! Whatever you choose, it is crucial that you rehearse and prepare this talk for your audience. This is a formal occasion, and you should treat it as such. That said, you can count on a friendly and engaged audience.