PS: SUPPORTING YOUR IDEAS

This unit talks about supporting yours ideas

Forms of Support

The term supporting materials refers to the information a person provides to develop and/or justify an idea that is offered for a listener’s consideration. Supporting materials serve a variety of functions in oral presentations: to clarify the speaker’s point, to emphasize the point, to make the point more interesting, and to furnish a basis that enables others to believe the speaker’s point. Without supporting materials, an oral presentation is little more than a string of assertions (claims without backing).

We have already noted that Support Material illustrates your assertions so the audience will understand the concepts and conclusions you are presenting. These are various forms of supporting materials:

Examples: Concrete instances. Visual is better. Make sure the audience understands or can relate to what the example is illustrating (3rd step)

Testimony (authority): direct quotations or paraphrases – using someone else’s knowledge/information and, thus, their credibility. Requires acknowledgement (oral citation).

Surveys: compilations of many people’s views, public opinion, quantitative. Be sure you understand what group the survey represents and who is the source of the survey.

Definition: clarification of unfamiliar terms and concepts [by example, by synonym, by classification].

Analogy: illustrating a concept by relating the unfamiliar to the familiar. Be sure the audience understands the points of similarity

Statistics: quantitative information. Good for establishing significance. Use round numbers if possible. “Humanize” large abstract numbers by linking them to something familiar.

Narration: stories. They are visual, personal and chronological. Highly concrete and memorable. Good for illustration; weak for proof.

Explanation (description/detail): describing an idea or concept in your own words. Most effective when highly visual (use lots of adjectives). Often overused.

Proof – getting the audience to accept your ideas, believe you, and be persuaded. There are three traditional types of proof:

Pathos – using emotions to get support

Ethos – using credibility to get support (either your own credibility or that of your sources)

Logos – using logic and evidence (support material) to prove you are correct and gain support.

General and Specific Guidelines for Supporting Material


General Guidelines for Supporting Materials

  1. Pertinence — Each piece of support should be clearly relevant to the point it is used to support.
  2. Variety — The presentation should not rely excessively on one type of support (such as examples) but should instead use a number of different forms of support.
  3. Amount — The presentation should include a sufficient amount of support (enough to make the ideas presented both clear and compelling to the audience).
  4. Detail — Each piece of support needs to be developed to the point that audience members can both understand the item of support AND can see how the item backs up the point it is used to support.
  1. Appropriateness — Each piece of supporting material should meet the demands that the audience and the occasion place on the kind of material that is likely to be received favourably. A “scholarly” audience, for example, will probably place higher demands on the speaker’s sources of information than a “general” audience would. A “graphic” description of a particular topic, while entirely fitting in some occasions, might be out of place in another.

Specific Guidelines for Supporting Materials

Supporting materials are usually offered in recurring forms. Depending upon the form of support provided, you should ask yourself some questions to determine if you are making the best possible use of that kind of material:

For Examples/Narratives

Is the example/narrative representative?

Is the example/narrative sufficiently detailed and vivid? Is the example/narrative personalized?

If necessary, was the source cited in the speech?

For Statistics

Is the source of the statistics reliable?

Has the source of the statistics been cited in the speech? Has the statistics been used correctly?

Have you rounded-off complicated statistics?

Have you interpreted the statistics (explained it in another way)? Have you done something to emphasize the statistic?

Have you used statistics sparingly?

For testimony

Is the source qualified to make the statement you’re quoting? Is the quotation accurate?

Have you attributed the testimony prior to the quote?

Have you made it clear whether you are paraphrasing or quoting directly?

If you are quoting, is the quotation brief?

Have you clearly signaled where the testimony begins and ends? Are the source’s conclusions reasonably free from bias?

For comparison/contrast

Is comparison appropriate and justified?

Is the comparison meaningful — does it tell your audience something valuable?

Have you avoided overdoing the comparison?

Locating the information

personal experiences and observations interviews

library materials

Recording your Information and Citing Sources.

A source is the place where you got your information, such as a book, newspaper clipping, vital record certificate or e-mail exchange. A citation is how you record that source for future reference and connect it to your data. It is important to cite your sources, but also important to cite them correctly. These are the proper formats for recording your genealogy research findings. Please remember that it is very important to properly document and cite your sources when preparing for a public speech event. There are so many possible sources that you may come across which makes it vital that you keep proper track of where each piece of information came from.

There are many ways to record a citation, and they vary for the different kinds of sources. How you record a book is different from how you would record a newspaper clipping. While I would not expect an undergraduate student to learn a dozen different citation formats, you should still try to be as complete and consistent as possible. Whether you use the usual punctuation and style (brackets, etc) is really up to you. Remember that it is never ethical to pass on someone else’s ideas as if they were your own. Always give credit to the people whose ideas you have used by naming your sources.

It is important to cite your sources, but also important to cite them correctly. Study the formats for citing sources:

Books: Author, book title, (publisher, publication date), page numbers, location of source.

John Smith, Our Family History in Wales, (Family Tree Books, 1973), p. 45-55, found at the Huntsville Public Library.

Newspaper Clippings: “Title of piece”, name of newspaper, city, date of publication, page numbers, location of source.

“Old Courthouse Demolished”, Huntsville Daily Press, Huntsville Ontario, March 16, 1962, p. 13.

Source:National University Open of Nigeria

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