Instructions: This exercise is designed to have each student conduct research, assess and summarize his or her research findings, and present it in PowerPoint format. This will be just like writing a research paper, except that the research findings will be presented in outline form in PowerPoint, rather than as a research paper. Just like a research paper, your presentation should include slides that contain a title, introduction to the topic, main body, summary and conclusions, and bibliography. Creative use of properly cited graphics and photos from the Internet, which are relevant to your topic, is encouraged. Please read carefully the specific guidance below.
Goals of this project include encouraging development of research skills, familiarization with presentation of academic material, and practice in communicating research to an “audience”. 

This research assignment is designed to challenge the student to be creative as well as demonstrate subject matter knowledge. You are also challenged to learn a new skill/practice an existing skill in applying PowerPoint (or OpenOffice) software to your research.

You will not find the “answer” for this assignment in the text or any other single location – this is an integrative assignment that requires you, the student, to create your presentation template and apply your own knowledge on the assigned topic.

You MUST stick to the topic – projects turned in that are not on the topic will not be considered for grading.

Please create a 12-15 slide (to approximate a 15 minute spoken presentation) PowerPoint presentation discussing the way that the following geographic concepts are represented in in a particular food item or cuisine:

1. Regions
2. Diffusion
3. Cultural landscape
4. Distance decay

In other words, illustrate and explain these geographic terms by using a food or cuisine of your choice. Be sure to address these SPECIFIC geographic terms and concepts. You may use “subsets” of these definitions (e.g. contagious diffusion) if such subsets exist. Be sure to refer to your text and glossary to ensure you completely understand these concepts.

Be sure to present clear citations and mature work. Make the most of each slide to show effective communication – one of APUS’s primary learning objectives for all students in all classes (see syllabus for detail).

This exercise will require some research on your part and you are to use legitimate sources. Be careful of Wikipedia or other “wiki” sites. Try for official and creditable sites and sources.

If you do not have access PPT, please use or contact me immediately.

The exercise has three components:

1) show you are very familiar with the topic;

2) become familiar with PowerPoint software as it is commonly used in public and private sectors;3) express your knowledge in a presentation format – efficient and understandable, captivating for your audience.  An example of the Research Project is attached.



Answering an essay question is not difficult, although it requires thought. The challenge in an essay exercise is that the question to which you must respond is given, and it is up to you to develop a thoughtful, logical answer that is relevant, accurate, and complete. This handout is designed to help you develop your skills in this area.

Steps in Formulating a Response

In the case of essay questions, there are several generally accepted steps that will help you to organize your thoughts and write a logical answer.

Read the question carefully

This may seem like an obvious point, but it is critical to success. Take your time to make sure you understand exactly what the question is. Break it down into its component parts, making certain to identify each question and sub-question to which you must respond. Make notes if necessary. Look for specific language used in the question that may give insight into the exact meaning of the question, and therefore clues about the appropriate response.


Again, another obvious point, but one that sometimes is overlooked in the heat of the moment. Take the time to organize your thoughts, including developing a brief written outline of the points you would like to include in your response. Order your points from most important to least important, in case you run into time or length restrictions. Make sure you respond to each part of the question as it is posed.

Organize your thoughts; research if it’s a take-home essay

Take a few moments to organize your thoughts, re-reading the question and your notes. Make sure that your ideas respond to the question. Eliminate irrelevant points, add newly-remembered relevant points. Ask about each point you have listed, “does this help me make my point?” If it does not, eliminate it. Think about the order in which you will present your arguments in order to come to a convincing conclusion. Use examples to support your ideas whenever possible (however, be aware of other examples that may refute your ideas).

Consider challenges to your ideas

Part of the challenge of answering an essay response is in developing a persuasive argument. There are several pitfalls in this area to avoid. First, avoid emotional appeals. Even if you feel strongly about your position, remember that a logical argument is more persuasive than an emotional appeal. Second, examine the issue thoroughly from every side, especially from opposing sides. Know the pros and cons thoroughly. Be able to make a logical case for your position, but be aware of opposing views that may undercut your argument, and develop your response accordingly. Review your notes and modify them as necessary.


After this preparation, begin to write. Begin with an introductory sentence that in some way restates the question to which you are responding. (This is especially important if you are responding to an essay question that is a choice from among several.) State your position clearly, and present your case logically. Again, be sure to respond to each part of the question as it is posed.

Re-read, proofread, and edit

Take the time to re-read your response. Make sure that you have responded clearly and completely to the question as it is phrased. Make sure that your spelling and grammar are correct. If you are using a word-processor (as you might in a take-home essay), use the spell-checker, but be aware that a spell checker does not catch every misspelling. (For example, if you’ve written “from” as “form” the spell-checker will not see a mistake.) There are several strategies for editing. If the essay is a take-home, you might read your response aloud to listen for grammatical mistakes, or have someone else read it. However, if you are at all unsure of your own abilities or those of your proof-reader to catch all grammatical mistakes, in the case of a take-home, have someone at your college’s Writing Center proof it for you.

Prepare your finished product

After you have written, re-read and edited your response, prepare your finished product. In the case of a take-home essay, if you are using a typewriter, make sure that all corrections are made neatly and clearly. If you are using a word-processor, produce a clean copy to submit. The product you submit should be of professional quality. In the case of an in-class essay, write as legibly as possible.

Points to remember:

· Keep in mind your course subject as you develop your responses; use themes covered in class to help frame your arguments whenever possible

· Use documented facts, figures, and examples to support your position

· Steer clear of emotional rhetoric

· No filler (this is an all-natural exercise)

· Use citations as needed

Evaluation of essay questions

In general, an essay will be evaluated according to the following criteria:


· Relevance of your response

· Accuracy of facts, figures and examples

· Consistency and clarity of logic

· Consistency of content with course subject

· Thoroughness of analysis

· Absence of filler and emotional rhetoric


· Use of citations where needed

· Correct spelling and grammar (make use of the Writing Center if necessary)


· Follow the format that your instructor recommends


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