This assignment represents 10% of your course grade, and a good or poor performance on your oral presentation is significant if you are on the borderline between one grade and another, so do take this assignment seriously, bearing in mind that someone who presents before you may raise expectations for your performance considerably.
The object of this assignment is simple: I want you to report to the class the argument you are making in your research paper, using visual aids (usually in the form of a Power Point presentation, but you can also use Prezi or other software). Essentially, I would like you to teach the class for 10 minutes or so. In this presentation, you might explain why the topic interested you, what you hoped to find, what you did find out, and how some of your hypotheses about your topic were reinforced or changed. Since your research paper should be a argumentative essay of some kind, it might be helpful to offer your thesis and your reasons for it, as well as an acknowledgment of and response to some of the counter-arguments you encountered. Please be prepared for some possible questions—the most important advice I can give you in this regard is that if you don’t know the answer to a question, you should simply say so rather than try to cover a gap in your knowledge.
Given that you have already been researching the argument your are presenting, this should not be a difficult assignment to prepare. If you can stand up with a Power Point presentation and present your argument for about ten to fifteen minutes without getting seriously off the subject, I will likely give you a C or a B. To get a lower grade than this, speak for less than five minutes, seriously deviate from your topic, address it only superficially, or otherwise make clear that you are not really sure of what you are talking about. I will not hesitate to fail presentations that are clearly the result of minimal effort. To get better than a B, you will need to speak clearly, enunciate, make eye contact, and exhibit a clear sense that you are in control of your material (that is, that you know what you are talking about, have organized your material, and that you are not merely reading from a script). To that end, it will help you to practice your presentation a few times: take some notes or make an outline on what you plan to say, give your presentation in front of a mirror or in front of friends, and time yourself. The most common reason people do poorly on this assignment is neglecting it until the last minute and underestimating how well other members of the class are planning their presentations.
A note about PowerPoint and other presentation software: PowerPoint should be used to illustrate a presentation and to help you keep track of the material you are discussing. It should never be used merely for decorating a presentation, nor as a text from which you read.