• Unit 5: Providing Supporting Content

    By now, you should have nearly completed the outline for your presentation based on what you already know and your preliminary research. In Unit 5, we take a deep dive into how to create appropriate supporting material for your presentation that will convince your audience that you are credible. Then, we examine the most widely-accepted ways to cite your sources.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

    • 5.1: Types of Supporting Content

      Begin your research by considering what you already know about the topic. You will often already have resources at hand, such as your textbook or your experience. Think about how you can integrate outside sources with supporting evidence to improve your credibility and bolster your claims. There are several ways to provide good supporting content:

      • identify specific facts and statistics that prove your claims;
      • offer a personal story;
      • provide a hypothetical example; or
      • use other people's stories.

      Each piece of evidence you use helps prove your sub-points and your thesis.

      • 5.1.1: Facts and Statistics

        Facts and statistics include population data, conversation transcripts, and historical events. In general, try not to use statistics to make your point too often, and when you do, be sure to put them in terms that are relevant to your audience. It is easy to overwhelm your audience since many people find numbers intimidating and difficult to remember. Round numbers up or down to the nearest whole number.

      • 5.1.2: Examples and Stories

        Using examples and stories to explain your point can be extremely compelling. Complicated concepts and ideas resonate more clearly and memorably with audience members who have had similar experiences, and the information you share becomes personable and understandable. However, think twice before getting too personal.

        You may want to avoid telling about an experience where you acted unprofessionally or broke the law, which could undermine your credibility. You may want to incorporate other people's stories if you have not had an experience related to your presentation's central ideas. Always give credit to your storyteller to avoid ruining your credibility with accusations of plagiarism or misrepresentation. You can describe the storyteller in general terms if you need to protect their identity.

    • 5.2: Using Credible Sources

      You need to research your topic to identify external content that supports what you have to say. Remember that your credibility is at stake since your audience will distrust the information you provide, and you as a presenter if they suspect the materials you discuss are disingenuous.

    • 5.3: Finding Appropriate Sources

      Your ability to research and find appropriate, credible sources to prove your arguments is a powerful and valuable skill that will help you in every educational and business environment. The following articles offer strategies for identifying and gathering reliable supporting materials. You can find many resources at your local library and through online search engines.

    • 5.4: Critically Analyzing Your Research

      Whether you found your material with the help of a librarian or located it through an online search, you must ensure your research's reliability. In this segment, we will explore how to assess the accuracy of sources, evaluate their reputation, and understand how your audience perceives them. All of these factors will impact your choices of what material to use and how to use them.s

    • 5.5: Citing Your Sources

      Documenting your sources bolsters your credibility as a presenter. The supporting facts and second opinions you provide assures the audience of the quality and thoroughness of your research, prevents accusations of plagiarism, and credits the authors and researchers you have cited. Your notes may also help your audience members track down additional information about your topic if they want to research more.

      You have three options for citing your sources during an oral presentation:

      1. mention them orally;
      2. note them within the text of your presentation aids; and
      3. list them on a concluding slide of your presentation aid.

      In general, you should always use at least one of these three methods for citing your sources, but try to use all three if you have time during your presentation and space in your presentation aids.