Research Paper Presentation Scripts

Whether you're presenting a technical paper you wrote in an educational environment or one about how to improve efficiency in the workplace to your upper management, preparing the presentation includes the same basic steps. You've already written the paper, which means you've completed the research on the material you're presenting; you're the expert. That doesn't mean you can breeze through the presentation without any preparation, but it should help calm your nerves.

1. Research your audience. You might be presenting to people you know in your office, or you could be presenting to unknown stockholders or faculty. Either way, you should know more about their background and their potential knowledge of the subject of your paper. If you wrote about a new marketing plan, you don't have to break it down to its most basic concepts if your manager has a marketing degree, for example.

2. Find the most important points in your paper. Although the goal is to have the audience members read the paper themselves, the purpose of a presentation is to highlight the key points for the audience. Make an outline of the highlights to help you prepare your presentation.

3. Create a script for your presentation. Although this could be a word-for-word script, it's best to use notes to jog your memory during a presentation to make it more personable. For example, put one key point per notecard and number the cards in case you drop them. Don't regurgitate the same information in your paper. Instead, prepare your presentation to discuss why the key points are important or the differences between your point of view and a well-known paper in the same field.

4. Design visual aids to help you during the presentation. Use presentation software to create slides that include graphics, charts and bullet points to help your audience follow your talk. This information can enhance the information in your paper. For example, if your paper mentions how 30 percent of the population performs a certain activity, create a bar graph showing 30 percent and 70 percent to give the audience a picture of the discrepancy between the two numbers. Presentation software can also serve as your notecards, outlining the bullet points of what you want to discuss without requiring you to read your presentation word for word. If you won't have access to the proper projection equipment, print visual aids on large paper or foam-core board.

5. Practice your presentation in front of friends and family members and ask for constructive criticism. This helps you know whether you can stay within the allotted time constraints with your current script or if you need to tweak it. It can also alleviate any nervousness by helping you feel prepared.

Things Needed

  • Notecards
  • Presentation software
  • Large paper
  • Foam-core board
  • Handouts


  • Create visual aids to help address likely questions as well. After your presentation, your audience might have questions or want clarifications about your paper. Although you aren't expected to have all the answers, you can feel more prepared if you think through possible questions or ask your friends and family for their questions before you give the presentation.
  • At the end of the presentation, give a short summary of the key points of the paper to help your audience remember them.
  • Provide handouts to the audience for review. This can be copies of your visual aids, bullet points about the paper or a copy of your presentation slides.

About the Author

Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.

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This section provides a sample script for delivering a half-day to full-day presentation covering all of the topics listed in the outline. Tailor the script to your chosen program length, content and audience.

Presentation Outline


  • Success stories
  • Legal issues
  • Definitions and statistics

General Library Access

  • Building and physical environment
  • Staff
  • Services

Adaptive Technology

  • Assisting people with:
    • Low vision
    • Blindness
    • Hearing and speech impairments
    • Specific learning disabilities
    • Mobility impairments
    • Health impairments
  • Beginning the process of planning for adaptive technology
  • Getting started: a list of adaptive technology devices
  • Resources

Electronic Resources

  • Universal design principles
  • Accessible Web design
    • General page design
    • Graphical features
    • Special features
    • Web pages test
    • Resources



Distribute handouts.

  • Making Library Resources Accessible to People with Disabilities
  • Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology
  • Meet the Speakers in the Videotape: Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology
  • World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design
  • Meet the Speakers in the Videotape: World Wide Access

Put up overhead transparency.

Universal Access: Electronic Information in Libraries

I'm here today to share with you information and issues related to people with disabilities, electronic resources, and libraries.

Put up overhead transparency.

Adaptive Technology
Electronic Resources

Recent advances in adaptive computer technology, greater reliance on computers, and increased availability and networking of electronic information resources have resulted in life-changing opportunities for many people with disabilities. In combination, these technologies provide many people with disabilities better access to education, careers, and other life experiences.

Libraries play an important role in ensuring equitable access to information for all members of our society. In addition, federal legislation mandates that public institutions, including libraries, provide accommodations for people with disabilities so that they can utilize the same services and resources as other people.

What are some of the electronic resources currently in your library?

Presenter Note: Solicit audience input to list items such as CD-ROM encyclopedias and indexes, online catalogs, WWW pages, and full-text databases.

The information covered in this presentation will provide you with tools and insights that will help ensure that these electronic resources are accessible to the broadest audience. As an extra benefit, you will find that being sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities can often make access easier for everyone.

Put up overhead transparency.

Program Outline

  • Success stories
  • Legal issues statistics
  • General library access
  • Adaptive technology
  • Electronic resources

Our program today will cover these five topics. To begin I will share some success stories or examples of the impact that adaptive technology for computers and electronic resources has had for people with disabilities. Then we will consider the most important legislative directives on the issue and look at some statistics about people with disabilities. We will then consider the bigger picture of access to libraries and library services for people with disabilities. With that background, a videotape presentation and discussion of adaptive technology for computers will bring our focus to electronic resources in libraries. The last segment of the program will include the second videotape presentation and a discussion of universal design of electronic resources applied to the development of World Wide Web pages.

Today's presentation will help you understand the impact of these technologies for people with disabilities while giving you the tools to begin implementing them in your library. Your packet of handouts is one of the tools that will help you apply the ideas presented. Let's walk through it.

Put up overhead transparency.

The following handouts are in your packet.

  • Making Library Resources Accessible to People with Disabilities
  • Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology
  • Meet the Speakers in the Videotape: Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer Technology
  • World Wide Access: Accessible Web Design
  • Meet the Speakers in the Videotape: World Wide Access

Much of the information presented today is provided in these handouts. I will let you know which handout covers the information we are focusing on as we go through the presentation. Keep the handouts handy to save from taking duplicative notes.

Success Stories

Put up overhead transparency.

I'm going to start out today by sharing with you a few stories of people with disabilities who are able to access information resources thanks to the availability of adaptive technology and accessible electronic resources. You'll meet them in the videotape we'll view shortly.

  • Ben cannot use his hands, but muscular dystrophy doesn't interfere with his use of the Internet; he uses a voice input program that allows him to talk his way through the Net - six hours a day!
  • Sarah uses her library's online catalog and the Internet to research and write papers for school. Her learning disability makes it difficult for her to read so she uses a speech output system to read the screen.
  • Anna is blind. She uses a screen reader and speech output system to access her library's full-text databases and CD-ROMs. Her system works well until she runs into programs not designed according to universal design principles.
  • Shane surfs the Net with a small tube in his mouth. The computer obeys his every command as he inputs Morse code - sip for a dot, puff for a dash. His cerebral palsy is only a minor inconvenience as he researches information on his special interest, naval communication.
  • Sherri is legally blind, but has enough sight to use enlarged screen images as she uses governmental resources on the World Wide Web in pursuing her master's degree in public administration.
  • Katie is hearing impaired. She often uses a sign language interpreter. On the Internet, however, Katie communicates with the reference librarian quickly and easily through electronic mail.

These stories provide examples of people with disabilities who are successfully pursuing avocations, education, and careers thanks to adaptive technology and electronic resources. During our presentation today, we will be learning how to ensure that there will be many more success stories like these for people with disabilities.

Legal Issues

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According to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), "no otherwise qualified individual with a disability shall, solely by reason of his/her disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of a public entity." Footnote 1

The ADA and the regulations promulgated to implement it have stressed that people with disabilities should be provided the same services as others, unless this would be less effective. The Department of Justice has stated that "Integration is fundamental to the purpose of the American with Disabilities Act." If accommodation, or an adjustment is needed to make a resource, program or facility accessible to a person with a disability, the individual's preference of accommodation must be given primary consideration. Footnote 2

In short, libraries must assure that people with disabilities can participate in library programs and utilize library resources as independently as possible. And this includes electronic information resources. As legal questions about the implications of the ADA for access to electronic information resources are tested, libraries are being required to provide access to these services.

Put up overhead transparency.

According to decisions in recent cases on access to electronic resources, libraries in academic institutions must proactively and deliberately plan for accessibility. A recent letter from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights noted:

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires a public college to take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with persons with disabilities "are as effective as communications with others" [28 C.F.R. ss 35.160(a)]. OCR has repeatedly held that the term "communication" in this context means the transfer of information, including (but not limited to) the verbal presentation of a lecture, the printed text of a book, and the resources of the Internet.

The letter continues:

"Title II further states that, in determining what type of auxiliary aid and service is necessary, a public college shall give primary consideration to requests of the individual with a disability" [28 C.F.R. ss 35.106(b)(2)]. Footnote 3

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In providing guidance on expectations for libraries in providing access to electronic resources, the letter states:

Modern adaptive technology has radically affected the degree to which it is economically feasible to make printed materials and computer based information systems accessible to blind patrons. The larger and more financially endowed the library, the higher the expectation that a greater volume of information will be made available within a shorter amount of time, particularly when reasonably priced adaptive technology is available to replace tasks that previously required personnel. An important indicator regarding the extent to which a public library is obligated to utilize adaptive technology is the degree to which it is relying on technology to serve its non-disabled patrons. The more technology that has been purchased by a public library to serve non-disabled patrons, the more reasonable the expectation that it will employ technology such as scanners to serve its patrons with disabilities.Footnote 4

As libraries increasingly provide electronic resources, they are legally obligated to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities.

Definitions and Statistics

So, what exactly does "person with a disability" mean?

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"Person with a disability" means "any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities including walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment."

Put up overhead transparency.

Examples of qualifying disabilities covered by legislation may include, but are not limited to, spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, hearing impairments, visual impairments, speech impairments, specific learning disabilities, head injuries, psychiatric disorders, diabetes, cancer, and AIDS.

The examples listed here are conditions which limit people's abilities to perform specific tasks. Some of these conditions are readily apparent; some are invisible. Some require that we provide special accommodations in the library; some do not. Additionally, some people who have conditions with the same label may have very different abilities when it comes to performing specific tasks. For example, one student who has cerebral palsy may have difficulty walking. For another student, cerebral palsy may result in no functional use of her/his hands or voice.

Now that we discussed the definition of disability according to the ADA, let's consider some statistics to gain a better understanding of this service population.

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According to surveys conducted in 1991-1992, 9.6% or 1 in 10 Americans has a severe disability that substantially limits at least one major life activity. 19.4 % or 1 in 5 Americans has a disability. Footnote 5

In addition, we can expect the number of library patrons with disabilities to increase. Some reasons for this increase include:

Put up overhead transparency.

Advances in medical technology and techniques result in greater numbers of people who survive traumatic accidents and problematic births.

Improvements in technology make it possible for more people with disabilities to live independently and have productive lives for which they will want and need library resources.

Increased awareness of people with disabilities' rights to accommodations and equal opportunities in education and employment, guaranteed by 504 and the ADA, has, and will continue to encourage more people to pursue these activities and request accommodations.

The creation of federal and state mandated K-12 and higher education academic support programs helps more students with disabilities complete high school and enter college and careers. The number of students with disabilities enrolled in universities and colleges has already increased. In 1994, 9.2% of all full-time, first-time entering freshman reported a disability, up from 2.6% in 1978.6 This trend will create a greater demand for accessible information resources in academic libraries.

The aging of the baby boomer generation will cause a significant demographic shift in our society, increasing the number of people with low vision, hearing impairments, and other disabilities related to the aging process.

Put up overhead transparency.

Among people aged 18-44, 5% have a severe disability; among people aged 65-74, 25% have a severe disability; and among people aged 75-84, 42% have a severe disability. Footnote 7

All of these factors are leading to increased numbers of people with disabilities who are and will be requesting services at libraries.


The purpose of this introduction is to help you understand why libraries need to be prepared to serve people with disabilities. The legal imperatives of the ADA and other laws and the expected increase of people with disabilities in our constituencies and argue strongly for immediate action. Libraries will be best prepared to serve patrons with disabilities if they strive to include them in regularly provided services. This is best achieved by using universal design principles when designing facilities, equipment, services and resources; by providing a base level of adaptive technology; and by developing a policy and procedures for handling requests for accommodation. By taking these steps the library will be better able to respond quickly to more specialized requests for accommodation.

The rest of today's presentation will help you develop an understanding of adaptive technology and of universal design principles so that you can help develop accessible services and resources for your library.


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