Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/112

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the end of which time his audience ought to have acquired the gist of what has taken him weeks or months to learn. Evidently then the speaker must present only a selection of his best facts, theories and conclusions, in the most carefully planned order. He must say nothing at all about much of the material that he has gathered; he must touch very lightly and briefly on various subordinate items, and he must bring forward only those statements for fuller presentation which bear most significantly on his problem, and which can as far as possible be easily understood and remembered by his hearers. For this purpose he must, of course, before he begins to speak, know what grade of audience he is to address: for however useful the exercise of merely addressing an audience may be to an inexperienced speaker, whether what he says is understood or not, he must remember that an audience which has listened for half an hour or more and learned little, has wasted its time. A courteous consideration of those present, as well as a selfish regard for the opinion they will form of him and his work, should lead the speaker to make every effort to repay them for their time and attention, by making his presentation as intelligible and interesting as possible. He must therefore strive to produce a clear and definite understanding of his results in the mind of each hearer, in such form that a good share of them can be carried away and remembered. Hence it is not only on the ground of a generous consideration for the feelings of his audience, but, as above said, also from a selfish interest in his own progress, that he ought now to strive to make himself clearly intelligible. If he does not do this, he will be like an unsociable goldwasher, who, with patient endurance, has worked over a great volume of gravel for the sake of finding a few grains of gold, and who then, instead of having the gold refined and coined in form for current circulation among his fellows, keeps it in the comparatively useless form in which he found it; and at the same time complains that the value of his patient work is not recognized.

In view of all this it is manifestly desirable that a student should give due attention to the presentation of his results, as well as to the methods of investigation by which the results were gained. He will be aided in both these worthy efforts if he recognizes clearly the striking differences between the two processes, and then gives to each process the attention necessary to its best development. An analysis of the method of investigation, as applied to the study of land forms, here follows. A fuller statement regarding presentation will be given in a second article.

Analysis of Investigation.—As long as geography was concerned only with the observation and record of visible facts, its methods were relatively simple. They included, as far as land forms are concerned, the determination of latitude and longitude, the measurement of direc-