Getting organized…

  1. Organize your major points on a page or a page and a half of paper.
  2. Type all quotations (or xerox them) on separate pieces of paper so you can find them at the appropriate time.
  3. Prepare a transparency or multiple copies for the class if you have special maps, a chronology, technical terms, or illustrations that everyone should see.

When you begin…

  1. Start out with a strong, clear thesis of what your presentation is all about.
  2. Make sure you have a limited number of major points which you stress, and illustrate.
  3. Have a sense of how long you will take by practicing before a mirror or an available roommate.

As you start to write…

  1. Remember that you will know more than you put down on paper. Try for a limit of ten pages (which is more difficult than fifty!).
  2. Begin with a substantive statement of the topic/problem you are dealing with.
  3. End with a summary, with questions that are left unanswered, with a new thought that you would like to pursue. The end of your paper should be as strong and interesting as the beginning.
  4. Use standard footnote procedures. Jacques Barzun and Henry Graffís The Modern Researcher or Kate Turabianís Manual will serve as references. You may use anthropological style (Author, year of publication: page number) if you organize your bibliography properly: Author. Year. Title. Place of Publication: Publisher.
  5. Footnotes and bibliography may be at the end; however, footnotes that explain something in the text should be at the bottom of that page. So, if the major notes are at the end, and something in the text needs explaining, use a symbol in the text, * for instance, and place the explanation at the bottom of the page.
  6. Proofread. No “A” paper can be sloppy, full of typos and misspellings.

– Eleanor Zelliot

See also: How to Lead a Class Discussion