Presenting Your Information
The last stage of any research project is your presentation of the information you have found. There are many ways to do this—you could give an oral presentation, write a formal research paper, or post your work on the Web. In order to decide what format to use, you’ll should to consider the following things.
Your Audience and Purpose
Before you present your information, you need to think about your audience —the people who will read or hear your work. Who are your readers or listeners? Keep their language level in mind, as well as their knowledge of your subject. For example, an oral presentation for a class of third graders would be different from an oral presentation for a class of your peers.
You also need to identify your purpose, the reason why you are presenting your research. People write for different reasons: to inform or explain, to entertain, to persuade, or to express an opinion. In most cases, people write for more than one reason. Think about your purpose while you are researching your information. Then you can plan what you need and don’t need to communicate to your audience. For example, if your purpose is to inform students about the views of two political parties, you might not want to express your opinion about which view is better.
Consider Your Style
Now that you’ve thought about why you are writing and who will be reading your work, you can focus on the style of your presentation. Your style is the way you choose to express yourself. Writing style has of three major elements:
Sentence variety: When you write, you need to use a variety of sentence types. An paper full of short, choppy sentences would not be interesting to read. Vary your sentences to create an interesting rhythm and to emphasize your different points.
Diction: Diction refers to the words you choose to use in your writing. Thinking about your audience and purpose can help you figure out what kinds of words to use when presenting your information.
Tone: Tone refers to the attitude you take toward your subject. For example, your tone can be serious, funny, or casual. Again, thinking about your audience and purpose for writing will help you choose your tone. For example, you might use a more casual tone if you were presenting your information as an oral report to your classmate. If you were typing a paper to hand in your teacher, your tone might be more formal.
Review Your Work
Before you present your information, you need to review it for any errors or mistakes. Handing in a research paper full of typos and grammatical errors, for example, won’t reflect too well on you! Remember that mistakes and errors detract from the power of your work because it makes it harder for your readers to understand what you are saying. Follow these steps to error-free work:
- Check your spelling.
- Review your capitalization and punctuation.
- Review your grammar and usage.
- Check the facts.
- Make your work legible.
- Rehearse your presentation with a friend or family member.
Cite Your Sources
When you’re presenting your information, you need to cite the sources you used. Remember that not properly citing all your sources is considered plagiarism! Just because you found information on the Web doesn’t mean you don’t need to credit the person or organization who provided the information. Make sure you provide a citation for the facts you found, as well as anyone else’s original ideas that you use (whether you’ve directly quoted the material or paraphrased it). You can use the following format when writing citations for each of your Web sources:
- author’s name (if possible)
- title of document, in quotation marks
- title of complete work, in italics or underlined (if applicable)
- date of publication on Web or date of last revision (if known)
- URL in brackets < >
- date on which you accessed the information
Check with your teacher to see if he or she has a different preferred style for citing Web sources.
Use the worksheet to help you present your information.
Presenting Your Information Worksheet
To help you figure out how to best present your information, complete the following information. You can refer to this information as you prepare your research for presentation.
Who is my audience?
What is my purpose for writing? (Remember, you may have more than one purpose!)
____ Checked my spelling
____ Checked my capitalization and punctuation
____ Reviewed my grammar and usage
____ Checked my facts
____ Made my work legible
____ Practiced my oral report
____ Cited all Web sources correctly
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