Handouts are crucial in linguistic research, so it’s important that you master this discourse genre. Here are some basic guidelines for creating an effective handout for sociocultural linguistics.

Make people pay attention to the content of the handout, not its appearance

  • Use only white paper.
  • Use a readable, ordinary font like Times or Courier. Don’t vary fonts (or font styles or sizes) for design purposes; you may alternate between a text font and a transcript font, or you may put headings in a different font/size/style, but make the text as uniform as possible. And bear in mind that most academics have poor eyesight; use at least 12 point font. If you want to shrink two portrait pages to fit one landscape page to save space, enlarge your font accordingly so that the handout text is the equivalent of 12 point.
  • Use white space judiciously; don’t cram more than you can fit into each page, and don’t leave gaping blank spots. Never double-space a handout.

Make the handout easy to navigate.

  • Match the handout order to the presentation order. Don’t make audience members flip back and forth between pages (or between handouts; you should have only one handout for your presentation). If a large transcript or table won’t fit where you want to put it, reduce its size, break it into pieces, leave white space, or restructure your presentation order. If you have an extremely long transcript that you are analyzing in detail, you may include the whole thing in an appendix, but you must repeat the excerpts you analyze within the main text of the handout.
  • Double-sided handouts are highly recommended (they’re lighter weight and save paper).
  • Always staple multipage handouts, preferably only once, in the upper left corner.
  • Include page numbers!
  • During your presentation, guide people through the handout. You may optionally refer to page/section numbers, but you absolutely must refer to example numbers, and to line numbers when used.
  • During your presentation, give people time to digest examples. Ideally play at least one or two of your examples and read the rest. If you don’t have time to play or read the whole example, try to at least read a piece of it or mention the key part of it (e.g., “In example (4), first-person pronouns occur in lines 4 and 19.”)

Elements of the handout

Title sectionThis occurs at the top of page 1 (and nowhere else; don’t have a header with the title on every page). This section includes more than the title. You should have the following information, typically in this order, typically centered (i.e., model it on the manuscript of the article that this presentation will eventually become): title of paper, your name, (your university affiliation and perhaps department: for conferences, job talks, etc.), your email address. It’s a marker of a newbie to put too much information in the title section; if you want to include the presentation location (e.g., the conference acronym, such as AAA or LSA) and date, you can add it in the first page header or below your email address, but don’t list the session title, organizer, etc.


This can vary quite a bit, depending on the nature of your presentation. You can structure the body using headings and/or an outline format, or if your presentation is primarily data-driven, you can simply allow readers to follow along using the example numbers. Don’t overstructure your handout; one or two heading levels is the most you should use.


You can include quotes from other researchers if relevant, but you should not number them. Cite the author, date, and page number parenthetically, and then add the full reference in your reference section at the end of the handout.


All data examples should be numbered. Tables and figures should be numbered separately from data examples. That is, if you have a table that occurs after data example (4), call it Table 1 and follow it with data example (5). Number all examples, tables, and figures using Arabic numbers only. By convention, data examples are usually numbered in parentheses above the data: (1), (2). Don’t write “example” before the example number.


Keep their design simple, and use them only for the presentation of material that won’t work better in a data example or a graphic of some kind (e.g., lists of discourse markers and their function in the discourse work well in a table; simple statistics may be best presented in a table, but often a graphic is better for this purpose). Transcripts should almost never be in tables. All tables should have clear and informative captions: not “Table 1: Codeswitching” but “Table 1: Percentage of codeswitching in narrative, by gender.” Look at examples of published tables to find an effective format. Tables are harder to design than you might think.


Figures include charts and graphics. If you have graphics, make sure they’re clearly visible on the handout. Color graphics are pretty but expensive; a clear black and white photocopy is usually fine. Like tables, figures should also have informative captions.


Provide line numbers for transcripts of more than a few lines (typically 5 or so). Line numbers should be Arabic numbers with no parentheses or periods. Try to format your numbering so that long lines don’t run into the numbering column or the speaker name column.


1   A: blahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah
blahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah.
2   B: blahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah.


1   A: blahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah
blahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah.
2   B: blahblahblahblah blahblahblahblah.

Include only the text that you absolutely need to make your argument and use ellipses to mark omitted text; if you need to use a long transcript, highlight the material under discussion (e.g., underline or boldface, arrow in the margin).

Transcription conventions

You should list all the transcription conventions you use in the handout, and only those. To save space, you can simply cite your source for transcription conventions, if you’re using a widely known system like Jefferson’s or Du Bois’s.


List only the references mentioned in the presentation (orally or on the handout). These are usually no more than five or ten for a short talk, or a page for a longer talk.


` Animals need food to survive. There are animals that eat plants only. Some eat flesh of other animals only. Other eats both plants and flesh of animals.

Herbivores – Animals that only eat plant.

Herbivore is the anglicized form of a modern Latin coinage, herbivora, cited in Charles Lyell‘s 1830 Principles of Geology.[1] Richard Owen employed the anglicized term in an 1854 work on fossil teeth and skeletons.[1] Herbivora is derived from the Latin herba meaning a small plant or herb,[2] and vora, from vorare, to eat or devour.[3]

Carnivores – Some animals eat only other animals.

An Omnivore, meaning ‘all-eater’ (Latin omnivorare: “all, everything”, “to devour”), is a polyphage (“many foods“) species that is a consumer of a variety of material as significant food sources in their natural diet. These foods may include plantsanimalsalgae and fungi.[1]

carnivore (pron.: /ˈkɑrnɪvɔər/) meaning ‘meat eater’ (Latincarne meaning ‘flesh’ and vorare meaning ‘to devour’) is an organism that derives its energy and nutrient requirements from a diet consisting mainly or exclusively of animal tissue, whether through predation orscavenging.[1][2] Animals that depend solely on animal flesh for their nutrient requirements are considered obligate carnivores while those that also consume non-animal food are considered facultative carnivores.[2] Omnivores also consume both animal and non-animal food, and apart from the more general definition, there is no clearly defined ratio of plant to animal material that would distinguish a facultative carnivore from an omnivore, or an omnivore from a facultative herbivore, for that matter.[3] A carnivore that sits at the top of the foodchain is an apex predator.

Omnivores often are opportunistic, general feeders with neither carnivore nor herbivore specializations for acquiring or processing food, and are capable of consuming and do consume both animal protein and vegetation.[2] Many omnivores depend on a suitable mix of animal and plant food for long-term good health and reproduction.

Since carnivores have to hunt down and kill other animals they require a large amount of calories. This means that they have to eat many other animals over the course of the year. The bigger the carnivore, the more it has to eat. You should make sure that you have many more herbivores and omnivores than carnivores.

Omnivores – Animals that eat both plants and animals. You eat plants when you eat fruits, vegetable, rice and corn. Likewise you eat eggs, meat, milk, cheese which comes from animals. Thus, humans and some animals like cats and dogs are omnivors

Omnivores often are opportunistic, general feeders with neither carnivore nor herbivore specializations for acquiring or processing food, and are capable of consuming and do consume both animal protein and vegetation.[2] Many omnivores depend on a suitable mix of animal and plant food for long-term good health and reproduction.

Omnivores eat plants, but not all kinds of plants. Unlike herbivores, omnivores can’t digest some of the substances in grains or other plants that do not produce fruit. They can eat fruits and vegetables, though. Some of the insect omnivores in this simulation are pollinators, which are very important to the life cycle of some kinds of plants.

Herbivores Carnivores Omnivores
 cows haws cats
carabaos owls dogs
goats crocodiles human
horses snakes Bear chicken
bees sharks chicken
butterfly lion Pigs rat
rabbit tigers rat

Science for Daily Use Textbook.