Prof. Dr. Holger Kersten
Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg
Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik


Designing a Handout for Your Oral Presentation

On the day of your presentation, you will distribute a handout to the class. Be sure to have a sufficient number of copies available.

The handout should summarize background information (including, for example, information about authors, important dates, genre, form, primary and secondary sources, and any necessary definitions) and outline the main points of your presentation. Think about whether you need to include illustrations, pictures, or other visuals. Proof-read your handout before making the necessary number of copies.

The primary purpose of a handout is to provide

  • a guideline for your listeners so that they know where you are and where you are going.
  • Additionally, the handout allows your listeners to review important information by means of your argument and your bibliography.
An ideal handout clarifies your presentation and gives your audience something to refer to later.

The Features of a Handout


The header should contain the following information: The name of the university as well as the department. In addition, you should specify the semester as well as the date of the presentation. Give the name of the person teaching your class and the title of the seminar. Do not forget your own name. Finally, make sure your handout has a title.

Main Section

Present the main points of your presentation, preferably in the order in which you mention them. Think about how much information you want to present. It may be useful to include definitions of key terms, important quotations from the texts you are dealing with, or controversial claims found in secondary material. -- Do not overwhelm your listeners; it is important that they listen to you and are not distracted by concentrating too much on your handout.

Works Consulted / Selected Bibliography

It is very important for you to list the books, articles and other sources that you consulted for the presentation. Every quotation from secondary sources must be acknowledged (MLA style).

Sources:Wolfram R. Keller's Website (Marburg University), Dr. Debora B. Schwartz, California Polytechnic State University, TESAG Center, James Cook University, Australia
  Version vom 30.08.2018