Instructions for in-class presentations on the readings

Presentations should take about five to eight minutes each.

The first thing to emphasize is what the presentations should not do, which is to recap or summarize the reading at any greater length than is suggested below. Indeed, no summary is needed at all. The assumption is that each of us has read it. Your task is to add something on top of our grasp of its content.

Perhaps you will render a strong opinion on the reading; perhaps you will judiciously parse its good and not-so-good aspects. Whatever you do, be lively and precise.

The following are some examples of things you might include in your presentation. You could pick one or two of these approaches, or perhaps several if time permits, and of course you may follow your own inclinations as well or instead:

  1. As a prelude to further comment, you may briefly explain the point of the reading in question. Perhaps a quick statement of its main thrust, noting its major ideas or contentions.

  2. Say how it relates to the other things we’ve looked at that week, and/or general issues that this course has raised.

  3. Tell us what is persuasive about this reading, and what might give you grounds for doubt. What are its strengths and weaknesses? What assumptions does it make, what theoretical framework or paradigm does it employ? If it is a piece of empirical research, what sources is it based on, and what might these sources be particularly useful for? What might be their limitations or biases?

  4. Explain what kind of research projects (if any) might usefully adopt or apply some of the assumptions, concepts, ideas, or models of this reading.

  5. Discuss what questions it opens for the future, leaves unanswered, or otherwise suggests to you.