Important presentation issues

Instruction: These are guidelines for presentation issues which usually pose a big problem for graduate students and young researchers. This is an adaptation of a text placed in the Internet without copyright limitations. You are sure to realize that, no matter how brilliant your ideas might be, they will fail to achieve their potential because of your failure to address presentation issues. On reading and understanding the following text your purpose will be to acquire the standard guidelines along which a presentation is built. This will be your goal as a researcher. However your goal as an examinee is to get ready to present the ideas through the vocabulary that you acquire in this section at your English candidate exam.

Part 1. Performance Adequacy

Many good research papers fail to achieve their potential because of the student’s failure to address six important presentation issues: (1) Presentation Format; (2) Syntax and Spelling; (3) Adequate Research and; (4) Citation; (5) Plagiarism; and (6) Field Component.

Presentation Format:

Each professor normally will indicate the type of presentation format preferred for a particular course. In general, all papers should be typed, double spaced (about 0.33» from one line to the following line), have 1» margins all around, and be printed in a clear, readable font style. The preferred font size usually is Courier or Times New Roman 12 cpi. Headings and subheadings should be used to indicate the major sections of the paper. You can center or left justify these headings, with one line space above and below the heading. The first line of each paragraph should be indented five spaces, and there should be no line spaces left between paragraphs (except when introducing a heading or subheading). Some professors prefer a ragged right justification (as in this paragraph), while others accept full justification of both margins. Consult your professor on this issue.

A cover page setting out the title of the paper, the name of the course, and the name of the paper’s author should be provided for all research papers. Consult with your professor for specific requirements on this issue.

Syntax and Grammar:

There is nothing more frustrating than reading a research paper plagued with spelling and syntax errors! Every student has campus access to word processing. Before you print out a final draft copy of your paper, USE THE SPELL CHECK AND THE GRAMMATIK programs!!! In a computerized environment, spelling errors and major syntax errors are totally unacceptable.

Read over your paper carefully BEFORE you print out the final copy. Have a friend or relative read the paper back to you so you can listen to how it sounds. Watch out for simple grammar problems such as «its and it’s,» «their and there,» «were and where,» and subject-verb agreement errors. Avoid common mistakes, such as «Australia is a democratic country and their government......» This is WRONG! Countries are «it,» not «she» or

«he» or «their.» The correct sentence would read «Australia is a democratic country and its government ......»

If you are unsure about any grammar or spelling issue, consult a writing aid, visit the University Writing Center, or ask your professor for help. Remember, it’s not only important what you say, but how you say it! The key to a successful paper is to EDIT, EDIT, EDIT!!!

Quality of Research:

A well written and researched paper should draw from accepted academic sources. What are academic sources? Primarily, these are books written by academics and other experts as well as professional journal articles. Geography, for example, has dozens of academic journals where geographers publish their research (Geographical Review, Professional Geographer, Annals of the AAG, Transactions, Journal of Transport Geography, etc.). You should endeavor to consult these journals in your research as they contain a rich and varied collection of articles.

Academic journal articles are those published in accepted professional journals, usually 10-15 pages in length, with a detailed bibliography, and are usually peer reviewed by other academics and professionals. Check with your professor if you are unsure about a particular journal source. Articles that are NOT considered academic in nature are those published in media magazines (Time, Newsweek, Beijing Review, Oil and Gas Journal, Economist, etc.) that are often anonymous in nature, short in length, and with no cited bibliography. Other NON-JOURNAL sources include statistical abstracts, encyclopedias, reference books, etc. Although these are valid and very useful sources, and should be used in your work, they do not fit the definition of «academic journal articles» for the purpose of a research paper.

Be extremely careful about material read and downloaded from the Internet or any world-wide web source. Most academic journal articles are not available on the web. If you find material on the Web, it must meet the criteria outlined above to qualify as a legitimate academic journal article. ALL material downloaded from the Web and used in a paper should be checked against other reputable sources. DO NOT try and submit prepackaged research papers downloaded from the Web! You will be caught, you will receive an «F» for the course, and you will be charged with fraud!

Answer the following questions:

Did your professors indicate the type of presentation format in your research field? If they did, when did you learn about it first?

Are grammar and style criteria important in Ukrainian/Russian language papers?

What academic sources do you regularly use?

Do you often download from the Internet?

Do you always check downloaded data against reputable sources?

Prepare a 2 minute story about the framework of a good presentation format.

Part 2. Professional Adequacy


Your research paper will contain material gained from a variety of academic and non-academic sources. All sources must be clearly and correctly attributed in the text (see plagiarism in section 5) and listed in a Bibliography or Works Cited section at the end of your paper. Many different types of citation styles exist. Most researchers use the parenthetical or Harvard reference style (see e.g. .a current issue of Geographical Review or the Annals of the Association of American Geographers for examples of this style).

Example: World cities are connected by hierarchies of transport networks (Keeling 1995). Or: Brian Turton (1992:67) observed recently that «a problemoriented approach is often used.»

If you use a source with multiple authors (three or more), cite as follows in the text -(Keeling et al. 1995) -but provide the full name of all the authors in the bibliography (i.e. Keeling, D., Hoffman, W., and Trapasso, M. (1995) Useless meetings I have attended. Journal of High-Pressure Research 75(4):25-30.

If citing material from the Internet, provide the full description of the http address (i.e. http://www.wku.edu) in the bibliography, along with the author’s name (if there is one), the location of the material cited, the year of publication, and the page number or name.

Here are some examples of how to cite materials in the bibliography section of your paper.

Single-author book:

Keeling, D.J. (1996) Buenos Aires: Global Dreams, Local Crises. London and New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Multiple-author book:

Clinton, W.J., and Carter, J.E. (1995) Crises I Have Caused. Washington, DC: Republican Press.

Journal Article:

Trapasso, L.M. (1995) Water resource systems developed centuries B.C., Part II: The Dujianyan water works in the Peoples Republic of China. Proceedings of the Geography Section of the KAS 95:19-21.

Newspaper Article with no author:

New York Times (1996) Death to the left-wing Liberals, November 27, Section D, 15.Consult a good writing manual or your professor for further assistance with citation styles and formats.


Plagiarism is a serious problem that is not very well understood by most students. Simply stated, plagiarism is the act of passing someone else’s work off as your own or using someone’s research without proper citation. Direct plagiarism occurs when a passage is quoted verbatim (word for word).

Indirect plagiarism occurs when the student paraphrases the original work without giving credit to the original author. Paraphrasing means to substitute certain words and to alter some sentences while repeating all the main ideas. Even though the original work was not copied verbatim, the ideas and substance have been copied.

The general rule here is that if something is considered very general knowledge it does not need citation.

For example, «China today has over 1 billion inhabitants and it is a very crowded country.» Most people know this so you don’t need citation. However, if you have more specific data, such as «China had 1.31 billion inhabitants in 2001,» you will need a citation because this level of specificity is not common knowledge.

However, if you use ANY piece of material from a published (or, in certain circumstances, unpublished) source, you MUST provide proper citation. The rules on how to avoid plagiarism can be quite confusing. Consult your professor or a good writing guide on tips to avoid this serious problem. Basically, you should have a citation in every paragraph where you have used material from a published source, including the Internet.

Moreover, EVERY map, table, graphic, or picture that you include from whatever source (even if it’s your own material) must have a proper caption and a full citation (i.e. Source: Photograph by the author). DO NOT fill up the paper with lines of direct quotes from material. Put the material in your own words and cite the original source.

If you have more than four lines of direct quotation on any one page in your paper, you probably have too much direct quotation. If in doubt about this, talk to your professor!

Finally, every direct quote used in a research paper should be cited with the author’s last name, date of publication, and PAGE NUMBER from the original source (i.e. Keeling 1997:105).

Acts of intentional plagiarism will result in an automatic «F» (bad grade) for the paper and for the course, along with appropriate action from the University Academic Complaint Committee. In extreme cases, students have been expelled from the University for plagiarism. Learn the rules NOW!! DO NOT PLAGIARIZE.

Your field Component of the Research Paper:

Finally, we come to the very heart of many research paper problems — the failure to include your field component in the paper. Having your field component does not mean throwing some table in at the end of the research paper!

Your discipline is concerned with definite relationships. Your research should be addressing some aspect of these relationships — an analysis of patterns, stream-flow processes, implications of policy, diffusion patterns, network changes, etc., etc., etc.

Ask yourself at the beginning of the research project what the field component of your paper is going to be. What pattern or process are your investigating? How has it changed? How might it change as the result of some action or process?

Also important to this concept is the «SO WHAT?» question. You must have a good rationale for conducting the research. Why are you researching this topic or issue? Adding to the body of knowledge about a topic, exploring new methodological approaches to a problem or issue, evaluating policy implications for a specific problem, or helping us to understand more fully the complexity of human-environment relationships all are solid rationales for conducting research.

Finally, and above all, you should enjoy your research. Choose issues or problems that really motivate you and challenge you professionally and intellectually. Don’t opt for the already hashed-over approach that will bore you to distraction. Address the serious and challenging issues--the reward and satisfaction will be much higher in the long run.

Answer the following questions:

Are local citation standards different from American/European citation standards?

What is meant by indirect plagiarism?

What is meant by direct plagiarism?

What is meant by a field component of a research paper?

How can you avoid plagiarism in your research paper?

Vocabulary and idiom notes to memorize and use

Presentation format

To center-justify or left-justify these headings

To set out the title of the paper, the name of the course, and the name of the paper’s author

To be plagued with spelling and syntax errors Academics

To be checked against other reputable sources

To submit prepackaged research papers downloaded from the Web Plagiarism is the act of passing someone else’s work off as your own Direct plagiarism

To quote verbatim (word for word).

Indirect plagiarism

Common knowledge

University Academic Complaint Committee To come to the very heart of

Stream-flow processes Diffusion patterns Network changes

«SO WHAT?» question

Rationale To opt for

A hashed-over approach

To bore smb to distraction

In the long run


Incomplete noun clauses

Noun clauses are the third type of subordinate clause. They begin with nounclause markers. Noun clauses that are formed from statements begin with the noun-clause marker that. Noun clauses formed from yes/no questions begin with the noun-clause markers whether or if. Those formed from information questions begin with whwords: what, where, when, and so on.


Dr. Hopkins’ office is in this building, (statement). I’m sure that Dr. Hopkins’ office is in this building.

Is Dr. Hopkins’ office on this floor? (yes/no question).

I don’t know if (whether) Dr. Hopkins’ office is on this floor. Where is Dr. Hopkins’ office? (information question).

Please tell me where Dr. Hopkins’ office is.

Notice that the word order in direct questions is not the same as it is in noun clauses. The noun clause follows statement word order (subject + verb), not question word order (auxiliary + subject + main verb). Often one of the distractors for noun-clause items will incorrectly follow question word order.


I don’t know what is her name, (incorrect use of question word order).

I don’t know what her name is. (correct word order) *She called him to ask what time did his party start, (incorrect use of question word order).

She called him to ask what time his party started, (correct word order).

Noun clauses function exactly as nouns do: as subjects, as direct objects, or after the verb to be.


When the meeting will be held has not been decided, (noun clause as subject).

The weather announcer said that there will be thunderstorms, (noun clause as direct object).

This is what you need, (noun clause after to be).

Notice that when the noun clause is the subject of a sentence the verb in the main clause does not have a noun or pronoun subject.

In structure items, the noun-clause marker, along with any other part of the noun clause—subject, verb, and so on—may be missing from the stem, or the whole noun clause may be missing.


was caused by breathing impure air was once a common belief.


That malaria

Why malaria

Because malaria

Choice (A) is incorrect because there are two verbs (was caused and was) but only one subject. Choice (C) is incorrect because Why is not the appropriate noun-clause marker in this sentence; the noun clause is based on a statement, not on an information question. Choice (D) is incorrect because it forms an adverb clause, but the main clause lacks a subject. In the correct answer the noun clause itself (That malaria was caused by breathing impure air) is the subject of the verb was in the main clause.

One basic question psychologists have tried to answer is

people learn

how do people learn

people learn how

how people learn

Choice (A) is incorrect; there is no connector between the first clause and the second. Choice (B) incorrectly follows question word order. Choice (C) is incorrect because how is in the wrong position.

Exercise: Choose the one option—(A), (B), (C), or (D)—that correctly completes the sentences, then mark the appropriate blank

begin their existence as ice crystals over most of the earth seems likely.


If raindrops

What if raindrops

That raindrops

Scientists cannot agree on related to other orders of insects.

that fleas are

how fleas are

how are fleas

fleas that are

It was in 1875 joined the staff of the astronomical observatory at Harvard University.

that Anna Winlock

Anna Winlock, who

as Anna Winlock

Anna Winlock then


Identify and correct errors involving noun clauses

both ineffective and hypocritical, doesn’t help to promote ideas of linguistic equality and multilingualism in Europe.

A) Language policy in the European Union is

If language policy in the European Union is

When language policy in the European Union is

That language policy in the European Union is

kept up for so long is obvious and clear.

A) Why have these illusions been

Why these illusions have been

If these illusions have been

By whom have these illusions been

A) Raindrops

(B) If raindrops itself

What if raindrops

That raindrops

A) Raindrops

If raindrops

What if raindrops

That raindrops

A) Raindrops

If raindrops

What if raindrops

That raindrops

A) Raindrops

If raindrops

What if raindrops

That raindrops

A) Raindrops

If raindrops

What if raindrops

That raindrops

A) Raindrops

If raindrops

What if raindrops

That raindrops

A) Raindrops

If raindrops

What if raindrops

That raindrops

The traditionally superior position of the French in Europe explains

of their own linguistic power.

A) what they cannot accept in the decline

that they cannot accept the decline

how they cannot accept the decline

whether they cannot accept the decline

_1_ _of some sociolinguists, _2 the idea of English as a European lingua franca

There is the politically-correct ideologies

It is the politically-correct ideologies

What are the politically-correct ideologies

The politically-correct ideologies 2

A) constantly fuel opposition against

that constantly fuel opposition against

what if constantly fuel opposition against

because they constantly fuel opposition against