Ways to Show Information: Visual, Oral & Quantitative

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  • 0:01 Presenting Information
  • 0:49 Visual Presentation
  • 2:57 Oral Presentation
  • 4:33 Quantitative Presentation
  • 6:02 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

There are many different ways to present information, and all have their own advantages. In this lesson, we'll learn about the three major ways to show information - visual, oral, and quantitative presentations - and the benefits of each.

Presenting Information

Arthur has to give a presentation in his research methods class. He and his friends designed a study and carried it out, and now Arthur has to present their findings. But how?

There are many ways to present information, and Arthur has several options. He could show photos and images to his class to tell them about the study. Or he could talk about it, and tell them about the results. Or, he could present the numbers and show graphs to represent the results.

In reality, of course, a presentation isn't an either-or proposition, and Arthur is probably going to do all of these things because they all have benefits to them. To help Arthur plan his presentation, let's look closer at three ways to present information: visually, orally, and quantitatively.

Visual Presentation

Okay, let's say that Arthur comes down with laryngitis the night before his presentation. He can't talk, so he can't explain to the class about the study that he and his friends designed and carried out. How else might he present information to the class?

Humans are very visual creatures. In fact, the majority of us spend more brain area on sight than on any other sense. So, one way to impart information is through visual presentation, or using images to share ideas. Have you ever put together a PowerPoint presentation? That can be a very visual tool: you have the opportunity to show the entire audience images that represent what you're talking about.

Let's go back to Arthur. He might decide to put together a PowerPoint presentation about his study. He could use photos or drawings of how they ran the study and other images to explain what they found. For example, if they gave surveys out on their school campus, Arthur might show a photo of the survey or photos of students taking the surveys.

Another thing that Arthur could do is to draw a diagram to explain any special equipment or set up that they used for their study. If their study consisted of surveys, they probably don't need any diagrams to explain, but consider a classic study done by Stanley Milgram. In the study, Milgram put one person in a room and told them that they were giving an electrical shock to a person in another room. Of course, they weren't actually shocking the other person, but the person in the other room, who was an actor, yelled and pretended to be receiving a shock.

If all this sound slightly complicated, don't worry. Here's a handy diagram to help you understand it better. Here's where the experimenter, Milgram, would sit. Here's where the subject, the person who was supposedly giving the shock, would sit. And here's where the actor would be, in this room next door. It's easier to understand and more straightforward when you're looking at the diagram, isn't it?


This is the main advantage of visual presentation. Because humans are so sight-oriented, visual information can help us process and understand things better.

Oral Presentation

Of course, visual information can only go so far. Let's look at that diagram of Milgram's experiment again. Without any explanation about it, would you know what you were looking at? Probably not.


This leads us to the next way of imparting information. Oral presentation involves giving information through talking. When I explain about Milgram's experiment, that's a type of oral presentation.

Barring laryngitis, Arthur will probably need to include some oral information in his presentation. That is, he'll want to talk and explain things to his audience. He can, for example, tell his class about how he and his friends developed the survey or what they found out from the survey responses.

Like visual information, oral information is key to making sure that people understand what your presentation is about. And a major benefit of oral presentation is that it allows the presenter to give much more information than they might be able to with a solely visual presentation. Like with explaining Milgram's experiment, speaking allows someone to offer a fuller picture of what went on than a simple photo or diagram can offer.

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