ORAL PRESENTATION GUIDELINES AND SUGGESTIONS
Please click on the icon to the left to download a printable copy of the judging form for the presentation category in the Penn State Mont Alto Academic Festival. Please note: this file is in Microsoft Word format.
Your task is to translate the information from your research paper or project into an engaging, succinct 15 minute oral presentation (5 additional minutes may be used to address audience questions). Your presentation will be evaluated according to both the quality of the content and the presentation style. Please review the Oral Presentation Judging Form to see the judging criteria.
WHAT SHOULD I INCLUDE IN MY PRESENTATION?
This will depend on the kind of research project you conducted. In general, your presentation should include the following information:
1. An introduction to explain the purpose of your work, i.e., research question, thesis.
2. An explanation of why your question or problem is important.
3. A description of your methods of gathering information and your analysis of this information (the ways in which you attempted to answer the question, or examine or solve the problem).
4. The results of your research and your conclusion
Focus on the essential information required to help the audience understand what you learned, how you learned it, and why it was important to learn.
If you use media or visual aids, please make sure that the necessary technology will be provided.
Seek advice from your faculty mentor to assist you in making specific decisions about what to include or exclude.
HOW SHOULD I ORGANIZE MY PRESENTATION?
1. INTRODUCTION: This should accomplish two functions:
a. First, interest your audience in your project by identifying your research question and establishing the importance of your research.
b. Second, preview the main points of your presentation to prepare the audience to hear and remember your speech.
2. BODY: The main body of your presentation will comprise most of your speech. It should have clearly identifiable, well-connected points that develop out of your paper. The kind of main points will depend upon the kind of research conducted in your paper, i.e., quantitative or qualitative or descriptive. Quantitative research requires data collected through an experiment or survey. Qualitative or descriptive research involves an examination or development of an idea or theory, an analysis of a problem, or creation a work of art, music, literature or poetry.
3. CONCLUSION: Should also accomplish two functions:
a. Summarize your main points.
b. End with a powerful line that reinforces the importance of your research.
4. TRANSITIONS: In addition to basic structure (introduction, body and conclusion, you can improve the organization of your presentation by using transitions from one section to the next and from one main point to the next. Transitions provide clear guides to your audience as they listen to you.
HOW SHOULD I DELIVER MY PRESENTION?
Keep in mind that your research is what matters most. While effective delivery can enhance a strong research project, good delivery cannot improve weak research!
Dress professionally and strive to deliver your presentation extemporaneously. That means do not read from your paper and also do not memorize your presentation. Instead, work at internalizing it by planning, preparing and practicing. Know your material so well that you can speak with authority about it without having to read sentences or memorize specific words. You are welcome to use note cards to help guide you during your presentation by citing a few key words and phrases rather than full sentences.
Practice your presentation several times (at least 10 times, even 20)
Practice it out loud.
Practice it in front of your faculty mentor.
Practice it in front of a mirror.
Practice in front of friends, family members, your pets, anyone who will listen.
If you have visual aids, practice your speech using them.
Time your speech when you practice to ensure it fits the 15 minute time limit.
Lastly, what matters most is your research, what you have learned, how you learned it, why it was important to learn. The emphasis is on your research – not on you.
(Adapted from the PSU Beaver Undergraduate Research Fair)