Group Presentation

EN101: Group Research Presentations

For your group presentations, you’ll be discussing your best 8-10 sources with the class, using those sources to tell us about your take on your topic. You can use PowerPoint, Prezi, other presentation software, or a handout to help focus and guide the presentation. You should plan on presenting to the class for 15 minutes.

All group members will receive the same grade for the presentation, unless circumstances indicate otherwise. How you divide the labor is up to you, but each member needs to take some part in the oral presentation, and each member needs to be equally involved in the preparation. At the end of the presentations, I will ask each group member to rate his/her own performance on the project, along with the performance of his/her group members.

Below you’ll find more detailed guidelines for putting together the presentation.

1. Decide on a focused purpose for your presentation.
Your presentation will need a purpose: a thesis or an angle on your research that you’d like to present to the class. What do you want to tell the class about your topic based on the research you’ve found? For example, if you’re group is dealing with domestic violence, you might want to focus on the question of what local governments can do to address it. If your topic is the mentally ill homeless, you could think about what causes the problem or about what are D.C.’s the biggest challenges in addressing it. Field research will be important. As you think of your group’s angle, return to your original research questions.

2. Select your sources based on your purpose or angle.
As a group, select the best 8-10 sources. You’ll want to consider each source’s accuracy, context, significance, extensiveness, and appropriateness.
• How accurate is your source? Is the material grounded in solid facts, experience, evidence, etc? Is it up-to-date? Is it biased or unfair? (Remember that a source making a particular argument can be really useful in research, but be careful if the source uses unfair tactics or unsubstantiated claims.)
• What is the source’s context? Where was it published? Is it peer-reviewed/ scholarly? Does it come from a place you trust?
• How significant is the source? Is it a foundational or critical work on your topic? Did the source make a new point or contribute in a major way to what we know about the topic? Do other writers reference this source in their works?
• How extensive is the source? Does it consist of just a few brief paragraphs with a small bit of information? Or does it delve into depth and detail about the topic over several pages or more?
• How appropriate is the source? Does it directly address your focused purpose or angle, or does it address a related but less central aspect of your general topic? Does it contribute to your understanding of your narrow topic, or does it inform you of the broader context or a related but more tangential aspect of the topic? (Remember that you can use sources that aren’t directly focused on your narrow topic if you have good justification for including them; i.e., you need them to understand the big picture or to grasp a different aspect of the problem.)

3. Decide on an organizational strategy for the presentation.
You might want to present the major aspects of the topic, bringing in the sources as they become relevant to your discussion. Or you might move through the sources one by one, discussing their relevance to your purpose as you touch on each one. Remember that either way you’ll want to keep us focused on your purpose/angle throughout the presentation, and you’ll want to bring each source into the discussion at least once.

4. Put together the materials for the presentation.
You’ll want to decide what kinds of materials will best support your presentation. However, whether you use handouts or presentation software, keep in mind that you’ll want to include only brief amounts of text to keep us focused. You’ll want to speak more at length about the sources in your own words. You can certainly use notes to help you out, but you should be familiar enough with the sources and topic that you can discuss them on your own. (I’d be happy to make copies of a handout for the class; I’ll need it at least 24 hours in advance.)
Hint: If you want to use images (which can really help bring your ideas to life), you can take them from the Creative Commons, but don’t forget to give credit! You can also use your own images if you’d like, but still give the group member credit.

5. Prepare your delivery.
Use the materials from class about designing effective presentations to help you out. Don’t forget to practice! Use a mirror, a friend, or each other as a practice audience.

Grading Criteria:
Purpose: The purpose for the presentation is clear and presents a focused and significant angle or approach to the topic.
Sources: Sources are accurate, appropriate, significant, and extensive, and it’s clear how each helps to develop the purpose. Each of the 8-10 sources is discussed at least once.
Organization: The presentation moves in a clear and organized manner and stays focused on the purpose. We don’t wander around and the audience isn’t left wondering how everything fits together.
Materials: The materials are polished and effective and contribute to the presentation.
Delivery: The group is prepared, has good energy and enthusiasm for the topic, and speaks clearly and comprehensibly.
Class involvement: The group gets the class involved, encouraging classmates to think and ask questions.

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