There are four presentation types:

  1. Individual and co-authored presentations (one to two persons)
  2. Group/team presentations (three or more persons)
  3. Panel presentations (a gathering of two to three individual presentations under a single theme)
  4. Artistic/creative performances (one or more persons)

Note: the poster format option has moved to a Scholars Day poster session event

Presentation guidelines

Guidelines for individual and co-authored presentations

This format is intended for presenters of a single-topic academic paper or research project. In the past, the norm has been one speaker presenting his or her individual research paper or project. This category is also appropriate for co-authored work.

[Print version]

  • Format

    One presenter, or two presenters in the case of co-authorship. One 20 minute talk plus five minute question and answer period.

  • Tips for preparing

    If a research paper is co-authored, this must be stated and explained in the research proposal. Applicants should provide a rationale for including two presenters rather than one, especially if it is not obvious from the methodology or multi-disciplinary nature of the project.

    When crafting your presentation, assume that the audience knows nothing about your specific topic, but is interested in learning more about your work.

    Hint: Consider an introduction that does one of the following:

    Places your research topic in a larger context.
    Tells the audience how you first became interested in your topic.
    Informs the audience about a major scholarly debate on the topic.
    Refers to new discoveries or theories on the subject.

    Plan to highlight one or two aspects of your research project, since there will not be enough time to present your entire project in detail.
    Practice and time your presentation so that you will know exactly how much information to offer.

    Hint: If you come from a discipline that typically prepares a written paper for academic conferences (i.e., the Humanities), you should plan for five to six double-spaced pages.

    Hint: Even if you plan to read your Scholars Day paper, you should practice it enough times so that you are comfortable looking up and making eye contact frequently with the audience!

    Consider preparing visual aids, such as PowerPoint slides, Prezi slides, and/or printed handouts.
    If you do plan to use visual aids, save your presentation on a flash drive in a Windows compatible format and bring it with you to the presentation room.

Guidelines for topic-centered panel presentations

The purpose of the panel format is to create a cohesive investigation of a single theme through the presentation of several individual research projects. Panelists should keep this goal in mind when preparing their individual remarks and working with the other participants.

[Print version]

  • Format

    Gathering of two to three individual presentations under a single theme. 45 minute talk (divided among the individual papers) plus 10 minute question and answer period.

  • Tips for preparing
    1. Find a moderator who will work with you and your fellow panelists to create a cohesive presentation of a single theme. Determine the role that the moderator will play in the panel.

      Hint: A moderator might play a variety of roles, from simple timekeeper to active participant. Work together as a panel to determine how the moderator will function in your presentation.
       
    2. Develop your individual remarks with the panel format in mind. When possible, connect your research to the work of the other panelists.
       
    3. Practice and time your presentation so that you will know exactly how much information to offer. It is extremely important as a panelist that you do not cut into the time of the next speaker. This is considered disrespectful to the other panelists!

      Hint: If your panel includes three individual speakers, each should prepare to talk for about 10-12 minutes. For disciplines that typically prepare a written paper (i.e., the Humanities), you should plan to write up about four to five double-spaced pages.

      Hint: Even if you plan to read your Scholars Day paper, you should practice it enough times so that you are comfortable looking up and making eye contact frequently with the audience!
       
    4. Consider preparing visual aids, such as PowerPoint slides, Prezi slides, and/or printed handouts.
       
    5. If you do plan to use visual aids, save your presentation on a flash drive in a Windows compatible format and bring it with you to the presentation room.

Guidelines for group/team presentations

  • Format

    Three or more presenters. 20 minute talk plus five minute question and answer period.

  • Tips for preparing

    So what are the secrets of a good group presentation? Here is a list of do's and don'ts.

    1. Prepare your material carefully and logically. Tell a story. The story should have four parts:
      1. Introduction/Motivation
      2. Method
      3. Results
      4. Conclusion/Summary

    In a group presentation, this story should be divided between the participants.

    Hint: There is an old saying among good speakers that describes a presentation from the communication viewpoint: "Tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them. Then tell them what you told them." People generally don’t absorb information the first time they hear it, so it is okay to repeat yourself a little and mention some of your conclusions in the introduction.

    1. Don't put in too much material. Here is a good rule of thumb - each slide takes about one to one and a half minutes to show. Thus a 15-minute talk should only have 12-15 slides.

    Hint: Have only a few conclusion points. The fact is, people will only remember one or two things from your talk - you might as well tell them what to remember rather than let them figure it out for themselves.

    Hint: Avoid equations. Show only very simple equations if you show any at all.

    1. Polish your graphics. Here is a list of hints for better graphics:
      1. Use large letters (no fonts smaller than 16 pts!!)
      2. Keep the graphic simple. Don't show graphs you won't need. If someone in your group has some artistic talent (and you don't) ask for help or opinions.
      3. Use color. Color makes the graphic stand out.
    2. Practice your talk. There is no excuse for a lack of preparation. When working with a group, be sure to practice the transitions between presenters and each presenter should speak for at least 5 minutes. Too many speakers during a single talk distracts from the material at hand.

    Hint: Remember to talk to the audience not to the screen!

    1. When working with a group, discuss ahead of time how questions will be handled. For example, who will answer each type of potential question?

    Hint: When answering a question in a group presentation format, be personable and honest. The audience does not expect you to know the answer to every question and it is better to stop there than dig yourself into a bigger hole. If you don’t know what to say, see if another group member might have a better answer.

    1. General etiquette. It is always a good idea to acknowledge people who helped you. Also, groups should discuss clothing choices so that members look like a team. The audience will be there to hear your material, but when you dress up you send the message that you care enough about the audience to look nice for them.

Guidelines for artistic/creative performances

Format may vary considerably for applicants in the artistic/creative performance category.  Depending on the number of participants, special space needs (piano, stage, etc.) and artistic discipline involved, there will be an option to choose one of two time slots.

  • Format

    Participants in this category will choose either:

    1. 20 minute presentation/performance with five minute question and answer period OR
    2. 45 minute presentation/performance with 10 minute question and answer period

    Please coordinate closely with your faculty advisor to determine the best options for your work.

  • Tips for preparing

    Because preparation will vary widely for this category, it is imperative that you consult with your faculty advisor.