Research & Presentation (Part 1)

This is going to sound really boring but today I gave a thirty minute presentation on nineteenth century copyright law. Phew! Okay… before you click on the closest link you can find (in order to get out of here) I want to assure you that I won’t be writing about the nineteenth century or copyright law in this post but I WILL be writing about researching and presenting on what others might perceive as a boring topic. Still reading? Okay. Let’s begin.

I’ve got to tell you one of the benefits of being a “theatre person” is that I am constantly surrounded by and being prepared for “entertaining.” There’s something amazing that happens when people want to pay attention. Have you ever started loving a subject because of the teacher? I can tell you that I have: World Geography. I could not be less interested in how much rainfall a certain South American mountain gets on average per year. (Yes, that was an actual sample question from our exams). The teacher, though, was engaging, interesting, and I can’t even tell you how much I learned. I learned not only about World Geography… but (more importantly) about how to take notes.

If you become a professional student like me (I don’t necessarily recommend it) note-taking becomes a crucial skill. This skill is also crucial for high school courses as well as a variety of everyday tasks. There seem to be two main difficulties: Structure and Importance. Structure is important primarily for review (but also as a shorthand among other benefits). If your notes aren’t structured in some sort of sensible way they become unintelligible later on and, thus, useless. Importance is a decision that you make about whether or not a certain item is useful to write down. Since most of us are not able to write as fast as people speak (or as fast as slides are cycled through) it becomes imperative to decide what we will write down.

Next time I’ll be transitioning these primary ideas into a method for presenting your research (even on a boring subject) in an interesting way. Until then: good luck!