I'm researching how best to do what I will describe below; any advice / info would be much appreciated:
The Flash presentation would have forward(next), back, play / pause buttons, along with a menu button.
How does one go about compartmentalizing content? Do I have each chapter as a button in the main menu and have the actual content composed for each chapter as its own movie clip? And then using actions can get playhead to jump to (or call upon) the movie clip that needs to be played? The next and back buttons would need to "know" to go to what is either next or back content-wise and keep the correct sequence.
I'm trying to learn more about the standard method utilized for this type of project...any links / tutorials that I can read up on that meets this project functionality?
There isn't really a standard method for doing presentations. Some people use the timeline, others control movieclips, and sometimes a little of both come in handy.
If the content is purely static, then a timeline approach will sually suffice, and one can make use of current frame information in order to manage the navigation.
If animation is involved, then you might have timeline transitions that don't allow for frame to frame navigation, where you end up keeping track of where you are and where you can go using an array instead of sequencial frames.
If you happen to have interactive elements that you might want to retain as they were left, then it becomes handy to have movieclips as slides that never leave but just get turned visible/invisible as needed.
In general, it might easiest to manage each slide as a movieclip regardless of how you approach presenting them. That way allows you to take any one of the approaches just mentioned.