Project 2: Evidence Analysis Talk

Crowd-sourced map of trees with edible fruit.

COMS 195-01 | Fall 2017 | Jonathan Hunt

In class on Tuesday, October 3

Purpose: This speaking assignment asks you to apply course concepts to real-world situations. You’ll show your knowledge and skill in understanding and handling evidence.

In class and in the assigned readings and videos, we’ve looked at how to identify, collect, assess, and present evidence. The goal of this assignment is to apply what you’ve learned: you’ll analyze and assess evidence.

A successful presentation will show very strong knowledge of concepts, ideas, and claims discussed in class and in readings. This means that you should discuss specific ideas, claims, or arguments from the readings.

Remember what Chris Anderson said about an idea? It’s best to focus on one main idea about credibility, and not try to refer to too many different aspects.

It isn’t enough merely to summarize readings. A successful Project 2 presentation will demonstrate an ability to apply course content to new contexts. By collecting your own evidence, and by discussing and evaluating evidence in a real-world situation, you will show that you can use course material to understand the world around us and the humans in it.

Topic — as always, you should try to develop a topic that is interesting and valuable to you.

There are three angles that can work for this presentation (or if you can think of another approach, I’m happy to hear about it):

  1. Share evidence gathered by you (or your team). Your presentation should include information how you collected the evidence and what we learn from it (if anything).
  2. Contextualize evidence gathered by your (or your team) — give us a quick overview of your evidence and what it shows, and connect or compare it to evidence found by other researchers.
  3. Assess or analyze the use of evidence by a video presenter. The method here is similar to your first presentation: locate a video that interests you, and explain how they use evidence and whether/why their use of evidence is successful.

In a short presentation, don’t give us an overview of all the evidence. Instead, zoom in on something notable or importance, according to you.

Ingredients (the first three are essential; the fourth is optional):

1. Some information about the person, institution, or object you would like to discuss. You need to give us enough information about it so we can understand your talk.

2. A discussion of evidence, drawing on sources provided in class. In any coursework, it’s important to show that you know the course material. Be strong and clear in demonstrating that you read the assigned stuff.

3. Your own assessment of evidence –whether your own or the evidence of others. You should show awareness of how different audiences might perceive the evidence.

4. OPTIONAL: you can also refer to news reports, books, articles, or other “outside” information

Format and Logistics:

  • Length: ~4 minutes
  • Visual aids or slides optional (we’ll present outside but these can be shared on mobile devices).
  • Sources: use course readings as sources (where appropriate); other sources optional

This project requires a number of blog posts:

Additional posts may be required for the grade of A.

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