In school projects, layout can be the difference between a logical, convincing presentation and one that flops. As you determine the layout for your project, consider the information you need to present and devise ways that you can help your audience understand the process and support your conclusions.
Cause and Effect
In many historical and social situations, cause and effect can be difficult to spot through a maze of dates and names. To bring clarity to a confusing situation or concept, use a cause-and-effect layout. Start with your end result and work backward to find the initial causes. Lay them out from beginning to end so the reader can start at the beginning and trace the causes and effects. Depending on the complexity of the situation, you may also need to add supporting side causes that join into the main chain.
When you are presenting a project that deals with science or an experiment, lay it out using the scientific method as a guide. Start with the initial question that prompted the project, and explain the basic research that went into it. Based on the research, state your hypothesis, which should be an educated guess that answers your question. Explain how you conducted experiments or observation to test the hypothesis, and present the viewers with the resulting data. Analyze the data and explain the result: Was your hypothesis right or wrong?
For projects that focus on history or in which time is a significant factor, use a chronological layout. Start with the beginning event and follow it through time. This format is particularly effective when you are doing a project about a person's life, the progression of a war, or tracing the development of a society. To show chronological progression, use a timeline, which consists of important events listed along a single line marked with dates.
If you are laying out a project that has a wide range of ideas that have no logical or chronological relationship, use a mind map. In a mind map, you can show connections that are not necessarily apparent. Start with the initial idea and put it in the center of the page. From it, draw radiating lines that lead to main ideas. Repeat until you reach the end of your thought process. You can use this approach to explain how you went from one idea to another or to illustrate how ideas that seem disparate are actually closely related.
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