Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research
How to Make a Successful Research Presentation
Turning a research paper into a visual presentation is difficult; there are pitfalls, and navigating the path to a brief, informative presentation takes time and practice. As a TA for GEO/WRI 201: Methods in Data Analysis & Scientific Writing this past fall, I saw how this process works from an instructor’s standpoint. I’ve presented my own research before, but helping others present theirs taught me a bit more about the process. Here are some tips I learned that may help you with your next research presentation:
More is more
In general, your presentation will always benefit from more practice, more feedback, and more revision. By practicing in front of friends, you can get comfortable with presenting your work while receiving feedback. It is hard to know how to revise your presentation if you never practice. If you are presenting to a general audience, getting feedback from someone outside of your discipline is crucial. Terms and ideas that seem intuitive to you may be completely foreign to someone else, and your well-crafted presentation could fall flat.
Less is more
Limit the scope of your presentation, the number of slides, and the text on each slide. In my experience, text works well for organizing slides, orienting the audience to key terms, and annotating important figures–not for explaining complex ideas. Having fewer slides is usually better as well. In general, about one slide per minute of presentation is an appropriate budget. Too many slides is usually a sign that your topic is too broad.
Limit the scope of your presentation
Don’t present your paper. Presentations are usually around 10 min long. You will not have time to explain all of the research you did in a semester (or a year!) in such a short span of time. Instead, focus on the highlight(s). Identify a single compelling research question which your work addressed, and craft a succinct but complete narrative around it.
You will not have time to explain all of the research you did. Instead, focus on the highlights. Identify a single compelling research question which your work addressed, and craft a succinct but complete narrative around it.
Craft a compelling research narrative
After identifying the focused research question, walk your audience through your research as if it were a story. Presentations with strong narrative arcs are clear, captivating, and compelling.
- Introduction (exposition — rising action)
Orient the audience and draw them in by demonstrating the relevance and importance of your research story with strong global motive. Provide them with the necessary vocabulary and background knowledge to understand the plot of your story. Introduce the key studies (characters) relevant in your story and build tension and conflict with scholarly and data motive. By the end of your introduction, your audience should clearly understand your research question and be dying to know how you resolve the tension built through motive.
- Methods (rising action)
The methods section should transition smoothly and logically from the introduction. Beware of presenting your methods in a boring, arc-killing, ‘this is what I did.’ Focus on the details that set your story apart from the stories other people have already told. Keep the audience interested by clearly motivating your decisions based on your original research question or the tension built in your introduction.
- Results (climax)
Less is usually more here. Only present results which are clearly related to the focused research question you are presenting. Make sure you explain the results clearly so that your audience understands what your research found. This is the peak of tension in your narrative arc, so don’t undercut it by quickly clicking through to your discussion.
- Discussion (falling action)
By now your audience should be dying for a satisfying resolution. Here is where you contextualize your results and begin resolving the tension between past research. Be thorough. If you have too many conflicts left unresolved, or you don’t have enough time to present all of the resolutions, you probably need to further narrow the scope of your presentation.
- Conclusion (denouement)
Return back to your initial research question and motive, resolving any final conflicts and tying up loose ends. Leave the audience with a clear resolution of your focus research question, and use unresolved tension to set up potential sequels (i.e. further research).
Use your medium to enhance the narrative
Visual presentations should be dominated by clear, intentional graphics. Subtle animation in key moments (usually during the results or discussion) can add drama to the narrative arc and make conflict resolutions more satisfying. You are narrating a story written in images, videos, cartoons, and graphs. While your paper is mostly text, with graphics to highlight crucial points, your slides should be the opposite. Adapting to the new medium may require you to create or acquire far more graphics than you included in your paper, but it is necessary to create an engaging presentation.
The most important thing you can do for your presentation is to practice and revise. Bother your friends, your roommates, TAs–anybody who will sit down and listen to your work. Beyond that, think about presentations you have found compelling and try to incorporate some of those elements into your own. Remember you want your work to be comprehensible; you aren’t creating experts in 10 minutes. Above all, try to stay passionate about what you did and why. You put the time in, so show your audience that it’s worth it.
For more insight into research presentations, check out these past PCUR posts written by Emma and Ellie .
— Alec Getraer, Natural Sciences Correspondent
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30+ Best Research Presentation Templates for PowerPoint (PPT)
Finding the right PowerPoint template plays an important part in getting your message across to the audience during a presentation. And it’s especially true for research presentations.
Using the right colors, graphs, infographics, and illustrations in your slides is the key to delivering information more effectively and making your presentation a success.
Today, we handpicked a great collection of research presentation PowerPoint templates for you to make the perfect slideshows for various types of research papers and studies.
Whether you’re preparing for a presentation at a school, event, or conference, there are templates in this list for all purposes. Let’s dive in.
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Science & Research Presentation PowerPoint Template
This PowerPoint template is a perfect choice for preparing a research presentation to share your scientific findings and reports.
The template has 30 unique slides with unlimited color options. There are a few infographics included in the slideshow as well.
Why This Is A Top Pick
The presentation has a very modern and creative design where you can showcase your data and information in an attractive way. You won’t be making boring research presentations ever again.
Labvire – Research Presentation PowerPoint Template
Labvire is another modern PowerPoint template you can use for various types of research presentations. It’s also ideal for laboratory-related research presentations. The template has fully customizable slide layouts with editable charts, graphs, and more. You can choose from more than 40 unique slide designs as well.
Novalabs – Science Research PowerPoint Template
Novalabs PowerPoint template features a highly visual and attractive design. The template includes 36 different slides that feature large image placeholders for adding a more visual look to your presentations. There are lots of editable graphics, shapes, and tables included in the template too. Feel free to customize them however you like.
Research & Development PowerPoint Template
The minimal and clean design of this PowerPoint template makes it a great choice for delivering more effective research presentations. With fewer distractions in each slide, you’ll be able to convey your message more easily. The template comes with 30 unique slides. You can change the colors, fonts, and shapes to your preference as well.
Marketing Research Presentation PowerPoint Template
When talking about research presentations, we can’t forget about marketing research. Most sales and marketing meetings usually include a sophisticated marketing research presentation. This PowerPoint template will help you design those research presentations without effort. It includes a total of 150 slides, featuring 30 unique slides in 5 different color schemes.
Free Business Market Research Presentation Template
This is a free PowerPoint template designed for making business market research presentations. It gives you 27 different and fully customizable slides to create professional slideshows for your business meetings.
Free Business Data Analysis & Research Presentation
With this PowerPoint template, you can create colorful and creative business research and data analysis presentation without any design skills. It includes 35 unique slides with lots of infographics and editable shapes. The template is free to use as well.
Lernen – Research Thesis PowerPoint Presentation
Larnen is the ideal PowerPoint template for making research slideshows for your thesis presentations. It includes 30 unique slides that are available in light and dark color themes. It also has editable charts and graphs.
Aristo – Research Academic PowerPoint Presentation
This PowerPoint template is also made with academic research presentations in mind. The template has a professional design with clean layouts and light colors. It comes with more than 30 different slides.
Biosearch – Science Research PowerPoint Template
You can use this PowerPoint template to make professional presentations to present research data and results. It lets you choose from 40 different slides and 90 color themes. The slides are available in both light and dark color themes as well.
Neolabs – Laboratory & Science Research PPT
Neolabs is another science research presentation made with laboratory research teams in mind. You can use it to make effective slideshows to present your research findings. There are 30 unique slides in this template.
Free Business Cost Analysis PowerPoint Template
This is a free PowerPoint and Google Slides template that comes with 35 unique slides. It’s ideal for making research presentations related to business financials.
Research & Case Study PowerPoint Template
Create the perfect case study presentation using your research data with this PowerPoint template. It includes a modern slide design with infographics and charts for effectively presenting your data.
Liron Labs – Laboratory Research PowerPoint Template
Another PowerPoint template for laboratory research presentations. This template includes 15 useful slide layouts with editable graphics, free fonts, and image placeholders. You can edit and customize the colors and text as well.
Research Thesis PowerPoint Template
Make an attractive and creative research thesis presentation using this PowerPoint template. There are over 30 unique slides in this template. You can either use dark or light color themes to create your presentations.
Colorful Thesis Research PowerPoint Template
If you want to make your research presentations look more colorful and creative, this PowerPoint template is for you. It has 15 different slides with fully customizable layouts. It has editable shapes, free fonts, and image placeholders too.
Free Data Analysis Research PowerPoint Template
This PowerPoint template is also free to download. You can also customize it using PowerPoint or Google Slides. This template is ideal for marketing agencies and teams for presenting research and data analysis.
Laboratory & Science Research PowerPoint Template
You can make more convincing and unique lab research presentations using this PowerPoint template. It features a creative design that will easily attract the attention of your audience. You can use it to make various other science and research presentations too. The template includes 30 unique slides.
The Biologist – Research Presentation PowerPoint Template
Just as the name suggests, this PowerPoint template is designed with biology and science-related presentations in mind. It includes many useful slide layouts that can be used to make various types of research presentations. There are 30 different slide designs included in this template with editable shapes and colors.
Modern Science & Research PowerPoint Template
If you’re looking for a PowerPoint template to create a modern-looking research presentation, this template is perfect for you. It features a collection of modern and attractive slides with lots of space for including images, icons, and graphs. There are 30 unique slides in the template with light and dark color themes to choose from.
Marketing Report & Research PowerPoint Template
This PowerPoint template doubles as both a research and report slideshow. You can use it to create various marketing reports as well as marketing research presentations. It comes with 30 slides that feature minimal and clean designs. It includes lots of editable charts, infographics, and tables as well.
Market Research Presentation PowerPoint Template
Another modern PowerPoint template for making market research presentations. This template includes 25 unique slides with master slides, image placeholders, and editable colors. The template is ideal for marketing agencies and corporate businesses.
Free Academic Research Thesis PowerPoint Template
This free PowerPoint template is designed for defending your academic research thesis dissertation. Needless to say, it’s a useful template for academics as well as teachers. The template features 23 unique slide layouts with customizable designs.
Free Economics Research Thesis Presentation Template
You can use this free template to create thesis and research presentations related to economics. It’s useful for academic students and gives you the freedom to choose from 21 slide layouts to make your own presentations.
Labia – Research Presentation Powerpoint Template
Labia is a research presentation template made for professionals. It comes with a set of modern slides with multipurpose designs. That means you can customize them to make many different types of research presentations. There are 30 unique slides included in this template that come in 5 different color themes.
Medical Research Infographics & Powerpoint Slides
You’ll be using lots of charts, graphs, and infographics in your presentations to showcase data in visual form. Not to mention that visuals always work well for attracting the audience’s attention. You can use the infographic slides in this template to create better research presentations. Each slide features a unique infographic with animated designs.
Foreka – Biology Education & Research Presentation PPT
Foreka is a PowerPoint template made for educational presentations, especially for covering topics related to biology. But it can also be customized to present your research presentations. The slides have very useful layouts that are most suitable for making research slide designs. There are 30 slides included with light and dark color themes.
Maua – Aesthetic Business Research PowerPoint Template
This PowerPoint template is suitable for making elegant and stylish business reports and business research presentations. It’s especially great for making background research and competitor research slideshows. The template comes with 30 slides featuring master slides, image placeholders, and more.
World Data Scientist Powerpoint Presentation Template
You can use this PowerPoint template to create research presentations for many different types of topics, industries, and projects. The template includes lots of data-centric slides where you can easily showcase your data in visual form. There are 30 unique slides included with the template as well.
Free SWOT Analysis Infographics PowerPoint Template
SWOT analysis is a commonly used methodology in business research presentations. With this free PowerPoint template, you can create stylish SWOT analysis infographics for your presentations. It includes SWOT infographics in 30 different styles.
Free Market Research Presentation Infographics PPT
This is a collection of free PowerPoint slides that feature various styles of infographics you can use in your business and market research presentations. There are 30 different infographic slides included in this template. You can edit, change colors, and customize them however you like.
Sinara – Science & Research Powerpoint Template
Sinara is a brilliant PowerPoint template you can use to craft a professional presentation for science-related research and reports. It’s available in 3 different color schemes as well as the option to customize the colors to your preference. The template comes in light and dark themes too.
Political Science and Research PowerPoint Template
This PowerPoint template will be quite useful to political science and international relations students. It features a total of 150 slides you can use to create attractive presentations for your research and methodologies. There are slides in 5 different color schemes.
How to Make a Research Poster in PowerPoint
We bet you didn’t know that you could actually design posters in PowerPoint. Well, you can and it’s very easy to do so.
The easiest way to make a poster in PowerPoint is to use a pre-made template like the one above.
You can easily copy one of the slides from a template, and resize the slide dimensions to create a vertical poster. Then add a title with a few lines of text and you’ll have yourself a poster.
Or, if you want to craft a poster from scratch, you can read our complete guide on how to create posters in PowerPoint with step-by-step instructions.
For more useful presentation templates, be sure to check out our best educational PowerPoint templates collection.
Ten simple rules for effective presentation slides
* E-mail: [email protected]
Affiliation Biomedical Engineering and the Center for Public Health Genomics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America
- Kristen M. Naegle
Published: December 2, 2021
- Reader Comments
Citation: Naegle KM (2021) Ten simple rules for effective presentation slides. PLoS Comput Biol 17(12): e1009554. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1009554
Copyright: © 2021 Kristen M. Naegle. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: The author received no specific funding for this work.
Competing interests: The author has declared no competing interests exist.
The “presentation slide” is the building block of all academic presentations, whether they are journal clubs, thesis committee meetings, short conference talks, or hour-long seminars. A slide is a single page projected on a screen, usually built on the premise of a title, body, and figures or tables and includes both what is shown and what is spoken about that slide. Multiple slides are strung together to tell the larger story of the presentation. While there have been excellent 10 simple rules on giving entire presentations [ 1 , 2 ], there was an absence in the fine details of how to design a slide for optimal effect—such as the design elements that allow slides to convey meaningful information, to keep the audience engaged and informed, and to deliver the information intended and in the time frame allowed. As all research presentations seek to teach, effective slide design borrows from the same principles as effective teaching, including the consideration of cognitive processing your audience is relying on to organize, process, and retain information. This is written for anyone who needs to prepare slides from any length scale and for most purposes of conveying research to broad audiences. The rules are broken into 3 primary areas. Rules 1 to 5 are about optimizing the scope of each slide. Rules 6 to 8 are about principles around designing elements of the slide. Rules 9 to 10 are about preparing for your presentation, with the slides as the central focus of that preparation.
Rule 1: Include only one idea per slide
Each slide should have one central objective to deliver—the main idea or question [ 3 – 5 ]. Often, this means breaking complex ideas down into manageable pieces (see Fig 1 , where “background” information has been split into 2 key concepts). In another example, if you are presenting a complex computational approach in a large flow diagram, introduce it in smaller units, building it up until you finish with the entire diagram. The progressive buildup of complex information means that audiences are prepared to understand the whole picture, once you have dedicated time to each of the parts. You can accomplish the buildup of components in several ways—for example, using presentation software to cover/uncover information. Personally, I choose to create separate slides for each piece of information content I introduce—where the final slide has the entire diagram, and I use cropping or a cover on duplicated slides that come before to hide what I’m not yet ready to include. I use this method in order to ensure that each slide in my deck truly presents one specific idea (the new content) and the amount of the new information on that slide can be described in 1 minute (Rule 2), but it comes with the trade-off—a change to the format of one of the slides in the series often means changes to all slides.
- PPT PowerPoint slide
- PNG larger image
- TIFF original image
Top left: A background slide that describes the background material on a project from my lab. The slide was created using a PowerPoint Design Template, which had to be modified to increase default text sizes for this figure (i.e., the default text sizes are even worse than shown here). Bottom row: The 2 new slides that break up the content into 2 explicit ideas about the background, using a central graphic. In the first slide, the graphic is an explicit example of the SH2 domain of PI3-kinase interacting with a phosphorylation site (Y754) on the PDGFR to describe the important details of what an SH2 domain and phosphotyrosine ligand are and how they interact. I use that same graphic in the second slide to generalize all binding events and include redundant text to drive home the central message (a lot of possible interactions might occur in the human proteome, more than we can currently measure). Top right highlights which rules were used to move from the original slide to the new slide. Specific changes as highlighted by Rule 7 include increasing contrast by changing the background color, increasing font size, changing to sans serif fonts, and removing all capital text and underlining (using bold to draw attention). PDGFR, platelet-derived growth factor receptor.
Rule 2: Spend only 1 minute per slide
When you present your slide in the talk, it should take 1 minute or less to discuss. This rule is really helpful for planning purposes—a 20-minute presentation should have somewhere around 20 slides. Also, frequently giving your audience new information to feast on helps keep them engaged. During practice, if you find yourself spending more than a minute on a slide, there’s too much for that one slide—it’s time to break up the content into multiple slides or even remove information that is not wholly central to the story you are trying to tell. Reduce, reduce, reduce, until you get to a single message, clearly described, which takes less than 1 minute to present.
Rule 3: Make use of your heading
When each slide conveys only one message, use the heading of that slide to write exactly the message you are trying to deliver. Instead of titling the slide “Results,” try “CTNND1 is central to metastasis” or “False-positive rates are highly sample specific.” Use this landmark signpost to ensure that all the content on that slide is related exactly to the heading and only the heading. Think of the slide heading as the introductory or concluding sentence of a paragraph and the slide content the rest of the paragraph that supports the main point of the paragraph. An audience member should be able to follow along with you in the “paragraph” and come to the same conclusion sentence as your header at the end of the slide.
Rule 4: Include only essential points
While you are speaking, audience members’ eyes and minds will be wandering over your slide. If you have a comment, detail, or figure on a slide, have a plan to explicitly identify and talk about it. If you don’t think it’s important enough to spend time on, then don’t have it on your slide. This is especially important when faculty are present. I often tell students that thesis committee members are like cats: If you put a shiny bauble in front of them, they’ll go after it. Be sure to only put the shiny baubles on slides that you want them to focus on. Putting together a thesis meeting for only faculty is really an exercise in herding cats (if you have cats, you know this is no easy feat). Clear and concise slide design will go a long way in helping you corral those easily distracted faculty members.
Rule 5: Give credit, where credit is due
An exception to Rule 4 is to include proper citations or references to work on your slide. When adding citations, names of other researchers, or other types of credit, use a consistent style and method for adding this information to your slides. Your audience will then be able to easily partition this information from the other content. A common mistake people make is to think “I’ll add that reference later,” but I highly recommend you put the proper reference on the slide at the time you make it, before you forget where it came from. Finally, in certain kinds of presentations, credits can make it clear who did the work. For the faculty members heading labs, it is an effective way to connect your audience with the personnel in the lab who did the work, which is a great career booster for that person. For graduate students, it is an effective way to delineate your contribution to the work, especially in meetings where the goal is to establish your credentials for meeting the rigors of a PhD checkpoint.
Rule 6: Use graphics effectively
As a rule, you should almost never have slides that only contain text. Build your slides around good visualizations. It is a visual presentation after all, and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, on the flip side, don’t muddy the point of the slide by putting too many complex graphics on a single slide. A multipanel figure that you might include in a manuscript should often be broken into 1 panel per slide (see Rule 1 ). One way to ensure that you use the graphics effectively is to make a point to introduce the figure and its elements to the audience verbally, especially for data figures. For example, you might say the following: “This graph here shows the measured false-positive rate for an experiment and each point is a replicate of the experiment, the graph demonstrates …” If you have put too much on one slide to present in 1 minute (see Rule 2 ), then the complexity or number of the visualizations is too much for just one slide.
Rule 7: Design to avoid cognitive overload
The type of slide elements, the number of them, and how you present them all impact the ability for the audience to intake, organize, and remember the content. For example, a frequent mistake in slide design is to include full sentences, but reading and verbal processing use the same cognitive channels—therefore, an audience member can either read the slide, listen to you, or do some part of both (each poorly), as a result of cognitive overload [ 4 ]. The visual channel is separate, allowing images/videos to be processed with auditory information without cognitive overload [ 6 ] (Rule 6). As presentations are an exercise in listening, and not reading, do what you can to optimize the ability of the audience to listen. Use words sparingly as “guide posts” to you and the audience about major points of the slide. In fact, you can add short text fragments, redundant with the verbal component of the presentation, which has been shown to improve retention [ 7 ] (see Fig 1 for an example of redundant text that avoids cognitive overload). Be careful in the selection of a slide template to minimize accidentally adding elements that the audience must process, but are unimportant. David JP Phillips argues (and effectively demonstrates in his TEDx talk [ 5 ]) that the human brain can easily interpret 6 elements and more than that requires a 500% increase in human cognition load—so keep the total number of elements on the slide to 6 or less. Finally, in addition to the use of short text, white space, and the effective use of graphics/images, you can improve ease of cognitive processing further by considering color choices and font type and size. Here are a few suggestions for improving the experience for your audience, highlighting the importance of these elements for some specific groups:
- Use high contrast colors and simple backgrounds with low to no color—for persons with dyslexia or visual impairment.
- Use sans serif fonts and large font sizes (including figure legends), avoid italics, underlining (use bold font instead for emphasis), and all capital letters—for persons with dyslexia or visual impairment [ 8 ].
- Use color combinations and palettes that can be understood by those with different forms of color blindness [ 9 ]. There are excellent tools available to identify colors to use and ways to simulate your presentation or figures as they might be seen by a person with color blindness (easily found by a web search).
- In this increasing world of virtual presentation tools, consider practicing your talk with a closed captioning system capture your words. Use this to identify how to improve your speaking pace, volume, and annunciation to improve understanding by all members of your audience, but especially those with a hearing impairment.
Rule 8: Design the slide so that a distracted person gets the main takeaway
It is very difficult to stay focused on a presentation, especially if it is long or if it is part of a longer series of talks at a conference. Audience members may get distracted by an important email, or they may start dreaming of lunch. So, it’s important to look at your slide and ask “If they heard nothing I said, will they understand the key concept of this slide?” The other rules are set up to help with this, including clarity of the single point of the slide (Rule 1), titling it with a major conclusion (Rule 3), and the use of figures (Rule 6) and short text redundant to your verbal description (Rule 7). However, with each slide, step back and ask whether its main conclusion is conveyed, even if someone didn’t hear your accompanying dialog. Importantly, ask if the information on the slide is at the right level of abstraction. For example, do you have too many details about the experiment, which hides the conclusion of the experiment (i.e., breaking Rule 1)? If you are worried about not having enough details, keep a slide at the end of your slide deck (after your conclusions and acknowledgments) with the more detailed information that you can refer to during a question and answer period.
Rule 9: Iteratively improve slide design through practice
Well-designed slides that follow the first 8 rules are intended to help you deliver the message you intend and in the amount of time you intend to deliver it in. The best way to ensure that you nailed slide design for your presentation is to practice, typically a lot. The most important aspects of practicing a new presentation, with an eye toward slide design, are the following 2 key points: (1) practice to ensure that you hit, each time through, the most important points (for example, the text guide posts you left yourself and the title of the slide); and (2) practice to ensure that as you conclude the end of one slide, it leads directly to the next slide. Slide transitions, what you say as you end one slide and begin the next, are important to keeping the flow of the “story.” Practice is when I discover that the order of my presentation is poor or that I left myself too few guideposts to remember what was coming next. Additionally, during practice, the most frequent things I have to improve relate to Rule 2 (the slide takes too long to present, usually because I broke Rule 1, and I’m delivering too much information for one slide), Rule 4 (I have a nonessential detail on the slide), and Rule 5 (I forgot to give a key reference). The very best type of practice is in front of an audience (for example, your lab or peers), where, with fresh perspectives, they can help you identify places for improving slide content, design, and connections across the entirety of your talk.
Rule 10: Design to mitigate the impact of technical disasters
The real presentation almost never goes as we planned in our heads or during our practice. Maybe the speaker before you went over time and now you need to adjust. Maybe the computer the organizer is having you use won’t show your video. Maybe your internet is poor on the day you are giving a virtual presentation at a conference. Technical problems are routinely part of the practice of sharing your work through presentations. Hence, you can design your slides to limit the impact certain kinds of technical disasters create and also prepare alternate approaches. Here are just a few examples of the preparation you can do that will take you a long way toward avoiding a complete fiasco:
- Save your presentation as a PDF—if the version of Keynote or PowerPoint on a host computer cause issues, you still have a functional copy that has a higher guarantee of compatibility.
- In using videos, create a backup slide with screen shots of key results. For example, if I have a video of cell migration, I’ll be sure to have a copy of the start and end of the video, in case the video doesn’t play. Even if the video worked, you can pause on this backup slide and take the time to highlight the key results in words if someone could not see or understand the video.
- Avoid animations, such as figures or text that flash/fly-in/etc. Surveys suggest that no one likes movement in presentations [ 3 , 4 ]. There is likely a cognitive underpinning to the almost universal distaste of pointless animations that relates to the idea proposed by Kosslyn and colleagues that animations are salient perceptual units that captures direct attention [ 4 ]. Although perceptual salience can be used to draw attention to and improve retention of specific points, if you use this approach for unnecessary/unimportant things (like animation of your bullet point text, fly-ins of figures, etc.), then you will distract your audience from the important content. Finally, animations cause additional processing burdens for people with visual impairments [ 10 ] and create opportunities for technical disasters if the software on the host system is not compatible with your planned animation.
These rules are just a start in creating more engaging presentations that increase audience retention of your material. However, there are wonderful resources on continuing on the journey of becoming an amazing public speaker, which includes understanding the psychology and neuroscience behind human perception and learning. For example, as highlighted in Rule 7, David JP Phillips has a wonderful TEDx talk on the subject [ 5 ], and “PowerPoint presentation flaws and failures: A psychological analysis,” by Kosslyn and colleagues is deeply detailed about a number of aspects of human cognition and presentation style [ 4 ]. There are many books on the topic, including the popular “Presentation Zen” by Garr Reynolds [ 11 ]. Finally, although briefly touched on here, the visualization of data is an entire topic of its own that is worth perfecting for both written and oral presentations of work, with fantastic resources like Edward Tufte’s “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” [ 12 ] or the article “Visualization of Biomedical Data” by O’Donoghue and colleagues [ 13 ].
I would like to thank the countless presenters, colleagues, students, and mentors from which I have learned a great deal from on effective presentations. Also, a thank you to the wonderful resources published by organizations on how to increase inclusivity. A special thanks to Dr. Jason Papin and Dr. Michael Guertin on early feedback of this editorial.
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Reference management. Clean and simple.
- How to make a scientific presentation
A good scientific presentation achieves three things: you communicate the science clearly, your research leaves a lasting impression on your audience, and you enhance your reputation as a scientist.
But, what is the best way to prepare for a scientific presentation? How do you start writing a talk? What details do you include, and what do you leave out?
It’s tempting to launch into making lots of slides. But, starting with the slides can mean you neglect the narrative of your presentation, resulting in an overly detailed, boring talk.
The key to making an engaging scientific presentation is to prepare the narrative of your talk before beginning to construct your presentation slides. Planning your talk will ensure that you tell a clear, compelling scientific story that will engage the audience.
In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to make a good oral scientific presentation, including:
- The different types of oral scientific presentations and how they are delivered;
- How to outline a scientific presentation;
- How to make slides for a scientific presentation.
Our advice results from delving into the literature on writing scientific talks and from our own experiences as scientists in giving and listening to presentations. We provide tips and best practices for giving scientific talks in a separate post.
- Scientific presentation outlines
There are two main types of scientific talks:
- Your talk focuses on a single study . Typically, you tell the story of a single scientific paper. This format is common for short talks at contributed sessions in conferences.
- Your talk describes multiple studies. You tell the story of multiple scientific papers. It is crucial to have a theme that unites the studies, for example, an overarching question or problem statement, with each study representing specific but different variations of the same theme. Typically, PhD defenses, invited seminars, lectures, or talks for a prospective employer (i.e., “job talks”) fall into this category.
➡️ Learn how to prepare an excellent thesis defense
- Questions to ask yourself before you write your talk
1. How much time do you have?
The length of time you are allotted for your talk will determine whether you will discuss a single study or multiple studies, and which details to include in your story.
2. Who will you speak to?
The background and interests of your audience will determine the narrative direction of your talk, and what devices you will use to get their attention. Will you be speaking to people specializing in your field, or will the audience also contain people from disciplines other than your own? To reach non-specialists, you will need to discuss the broader implications of your study outside your field.
The needs of the audience will also determine what technical details you will include, and the language you will use. For example, an undergraduate audience will have different needs than an audience of seasoned academics. Students will require a more comprehensive overview of background information and explanations of jargon but will need less technical methodological details.
Your goal is to speak to the majority. But, make your talk accessible to the least knowledgeable person in the room.
3. What do you want the audience to learn from your talk?
This is called the thesis statement, or simply the “take-home message”. Having listened to your talk, what message do you want the audience to take away from your presentation? Describe the main idea in one or two sentences. You want this theme to be present throughout your presentation. Again, the thesis statement will depend on the audience and the type of talk you are giving.
Your thesis statement will drive the narrative for your talk. By deciding the take-home message you want to convince the audience of as a result of listening to your talk, you decide how the story of your talk will flow and how you will navigate its twists and turns. The thesis statement tells you the results you need to show, which subsequently tells you the methods or studies you need to describe, which decides the angle you take in your introduction.
➡️ Learn how to write a thesis statement
The goal of your talk is that the audience leaves afterward with a clear understanding of the key take-away message of your research. To achieve that goal, you need to tell a coherent, logical story that conveys your thesis statement throughout the presentation. You can tell your story through careful preparation of your talk.
Preparation of a scientific presentation involves three separate stages: outlining the scientific narrative, preparing slides, and practicing your delivery. Making the slides of your talk without first planning what you are going to say is inefficient.
Here, we provide a 4 step guide to writing your scientific presentation:
- Outline your presentation
- Plan your presentation slides
- Make the presentation slides
- Practice your presentation
- Step 1: Outline your presentation
Writing an outline helps you consider the key pieces of your talk and how they fit together from the beginning, preventing you from forgetting any important details. It also means you avoid changing the order of your slides multiple times, saving you time.
Plan your talk as discrete sections. In the table below, we describe the sections for a single study talk vs. a talk discussing multiple studies:
The following tips apply when writing the outline of a single study talk. You can easily adapt this framework if you are writing a talk discussing multiple studies.
Introduction: Writing the introduction can be the hardest part of writing a talk. And when giving it, it’s the point where you might be at your most nervous. But preparing a good, concise introduction will settle your nerves.
The introduction tells the audience the story of why you studied your topic. A good introduction succinctly achieves four things, in the following order.
- It gives a broad perspective on the problem or topic for people in the audience who may be outside your discipline (i.e., it explains the big-picture problem motivating your study).
- It describes why you did the study, and why the audience should care.
- It gives a brief indication of how your study addressed the problem and provides the necessary background information that the audience needs to understand your work.
- It indicates what the audience will learn from the talk, and prepares them for what will come next.
A good introduction not only gives the big picture and motivations behind your study but also concisely sets the stage for what the audience will learn from the talk (e.g., the questions your work answers, and/or the hypotheses that your work tests). The end of the introduction will lead to a natural transition to the methods.
Give a broad perspective on the problem. The easiest way to start with the big picture is to think of a hook for the first slide of your presentation. A hook is an opening that gets the audience’s attention and gets them interested in your story. In science, this might take the form of a why, or a how question, or it could be a statement about a major problem or open question in your field. Other examples of hooks include quotes, short anecdotes, or interesting statistics.
Why should the audience care? Next, decide on the angle you are going to take on your hook that links to the thesis of your talk. In other words, you need to set the context, i.e., explain why the audience should care. For example, you may introduce an observation from nature, a pattern in experimental data, or a theory that you want to test. The audience must understand your motivations for the study.
Supplementary details. Once you have established the hook and angle, you need to include supplementary details to support them. For example, you might state your hypothesis. Then go into previous work and the current state of knowledge. Include citations of these studies. If you need to introduce some technical methodological details, theory, or jargon, do it here.
Conclude your introduction. The motivation for the work and background information should set the stage for the conclusion of the introduction, where you describe the goals of your study, and any hypotheses or predictions. Let the audience know what they are going to learn.
Methods: The audience will use your description of the methods to assess the approach you took in your study and to decide whether your findings are credible. Tell the story of your methods in chronological order. Use visuals to describe your methods as much as possible. If you have equations, make sure to take the time to explain them. Decide what methods to include and how you will show them. You need enough detail so that your audience will understand what you did and therefore can evaluate your approach, but avoid including superfluous details that do not support your main idea. You want to avoid the common mistake of including too much data, as the audience can read the paper(s) later.
Results: This is the evidence you present for your thesis. The audience will use the results to evaluate the support for your main idea. Choose the most important and interesting results—those that support your thesis. You don’t need to present all the results from your study (indeed, you most likely won’t have time to present them all). Break down complex results into digestible pieces, e.g., comparisons over multiple slides (more tips in the next section).
Summary: Summarize your main findings. Displaying your main findings through visuals can be effective. Emphasize the new contributions to scientific knowledge that your work makes.
Conclusion: Complete the circle by relating your conclusions to the big picture topic in your introduction—and your hook, if possible. It’s important to describe any alternative explanations for your findings. You might also speculate on future directions arising from your research. The slides that comprise your conclusion do not need to state “conclusion”. Rather, the concluding slide title should be a declarative sentence linking back to the big picture problem and your main idea.
It’s important to end well by planning a strong closure to your talk, after which you will thank the audience. Your closing statement should relate to your thesis, perhaps by stating it differently or memorably. Avoid ending awkwardly by memorizing your closing sentence.
- Step 2: Plan your presentation slides
By now, you have an outline of the story of your talk, which you can use to plan your slides. Your slides should complement and enhance what you will say. Use the following steps to prepare your slides.
- Write the slide titles to match your talk outline. These should be clear and informative declarative sentences that succinctly give the main idea of the slide (e.g., don’t use “Methods” as a slide title). Have one major idea per slide. In a YouTube talk on designing effective slides , researcher Michael Alley shows examples of instructive slide titles.
- Decide how you will convey the main idea of the slide (e.g., what figures, photographs, equations, statistics, references, or other elements you will need). The body of the slide should support the slide’s main idea.
- Under each slide title, outline what you want to say, in bullet points.
In sum, for each slide, prepare a title that summarizes its major idea, a list of visual elements, and a summary of the points you will make. Ensure each slide connects to your thesis. If it doesn’t, then you don’t need the slide.
- Step 3: Make the presentation slides
Slides for scientific presentations have three major components: text (including labels and legends), graphics, and equations. Here, we give tips on how to present each of these components.
- Have an informative title slide. Include the names of all coauthors and their affiliations. Include an attractive image relating to your study.
- Make the foreground content of your slides “pop” by using an appropriate background. Slides that have white backgrounds with black text work well for small rooms, whereas slides with black backgrounds and white text are suitable for large rooms.
- The layout of your slides should be simple. Pay attention to how and where you lay the visual and text elements on each slide. It’s tempting to cram information, but you need lots of empty space. Retain space at the sides and bottom of your slides.
- Use sans serif fonts with a font size of at least 20 for text, and up to 40 for slide titles. Citations can be in 14 font and should be included at the bottom of the slide.
- Use bold or italics to emphasize words, not underlines or caps. Keep these effects to a minimum.
- Use concise text . You don’t need full sentences. Convey the essence of your message in as few words as possible. Write down what you’d like to say, and then shorten it for the slide. Remove unnecessary filler words.
- Text blocks should be limited to two lines. This will prevent you from crowding too much information on the slide.
- Include names of technical terms in your talk slides, especially if they are not familiar to everyone in the audience.
- Include citations for the hypotheses or observations of other scientists.
- Proofread your slides. Typos and grammatical errors are distracting for your audience.
- Good figures and graphics are essential to sustain audience interest. Use graphics and photographs to show the experiment or study system in action and to explain abstract concepts.
- Don’t use figures straight from your paper as they may be too detailed for your talk, and details like axes may be too small. Make new versions if necessary. Make them large enough to be visible from the back of the room.
- Use graphs to show your results, not tables. Tables are difficult for your audience to digest! If you must present a table, keep it simple.
- Label the axes of graphs and indicate the units. Label important components of graphics and photographs and include captions. Include sources for graphics that are not your own.
- Explain all the elements of a graph. This includes the axes, what the colors and markers mean, and patterns in the data.
- Use colors in figures and text in a meaningful, not random, way. For example, contrasting colors can be effective for pointing out comparisons and/or differences. Don’t use neon colors or pastels.
- Use thick lines in figures, and use color to create contrasts in the figures you present. Don’t use red/green or red/blue combinations, as color-blind audience members can’t distinguish between them.
- Arrows or circles can be effective for drawing attention to key details in graphs and equations. Add some text annotations along with them.
- Write your summary and conclusion slides using graphics, rather than showing a slide with a list of bullet points. Showing some of your results again can be helpful to remind the audience of your message.
- If your talk has equations, take time to explain them. Include text boxes to explain variables and mathematical terms, and put them under each term in the equation.
- Combine equations with a graphic that shows the scientific principle, or include a diagram of the mathematical model.
Animations and transitions
- Use animations judiciously. They are helpful to reveal complex ideas gradually, for example, if you need to make a comparison or contrast or to build a complicated argument or figure. For lists, reveal one bullet point at a time. New ideas appearing sequentially will help your audience follow your logic.
- Slide transitions should be simple. Silly ones distract from your message.
- Decide how you will make the transition as you move from one section of your talk to the next. For example, if you spend time talking through details, provide a summary afterward, especially in a long talk. Another common tactic is to have a “home slide” that you return to multiple times during the talk that reinforces your main idea or message. In her YouTube talk on designing effective scientific presentations , Stanford biologist Susan McConnell suggests using the approach of home slides to build a cohesive narrative.
- Step 4: Practice your presentation
To deliver a polished presentation, it is essential to practice it. Here are some tips.
- For your first run-through, practice alone. Pay attention to your narrative. Does your story flow naturally? Do you know how you will start and end? Are there any awkward transitions? Do animations help you tell your story? Do your slides help to convey what you are saying or are they missing components?
- Next, practice in front of your advisor, and/or your peers (e.g., your lab group). Ask someone to time your talk. Take note of their feedback and the questions that they ask you (you might be asked similar questions during your real talk).
- Edit your talk, taking into account the feedback you’ve received. Eliminate superfluous slides that don’t contribute to your takeaway message.
- Practice as many times as needed to memorize the order of your slides and the key transition points of your talk. However, don’t try to learn your talk word for word. Instead, memorize opening and closing statements, and sentences at key junctures in the presentation. Your presentation should resemble a serious but spontaneous conversation with the audience.
- Practicing multiple times also helps you hone the delivery of your talk. While rehearsing, pay attention to your vocal intonations and speed. Make sure to take pauses while you speak, and make eye contact with your imaginary audience.
- Make sure your talk finishes within the allotted time, and remember to leave time for questions. Conferences are particularly strict on run time.
- Anticipate questions and challenges from the audience, and clarify ambiguities within your slides and/or speech in response.
- If you anticipate that you could be asked questions about details but you don’t have time to include them, or they detract from the main message of your talk, you can prepare slides that address these questions and place them after the final slide of your talk.
➡️ More tips for giving scientific presentations
- Final thoughts
An organized presentation with a clear narrative will help you communicate your ideas effectively, which is essential for engaging your audience and conveying the importance of your work. Taking time to plan and outline your scientific presentation before writing the slides will help you manage your nerves and feel more confident during the presentation, which will improve your overall performance.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Preparing scientific presentations
A good scientific presentation has an engaging scientific narrative with a memorable take-home message. It has clear, informative slides that enhance what the speaker says. You need to practice your talk many times to ensure you deliver a polished presentation.
First, consider who will attend your presentation, and what you want the audience to learn about your research. Tailor your content to their level of knowledge and interests. Second, create an outline for your presentation, including the key points you want to make and the evidence you will use to support those points. Finally, practice your presentation several times to ensure that it flows smoothly and that you are comfortable with the material.
Prepare an opening that immediately gets the audience’s attention. A common device is a why or a how question, or a statement of a major open problem in your field, but you could also start with a quote, interesting statistic, or case study from your field.
Scientific presentations typically either focus on a single study (e.g., a 15-minute conference presentation) or tell the story of multiple studies (e.g., a PhD defense or 50-minute conference keynote talk). For a single study talk, the structure follows the scientific paper format: Introduction, Methods, Results, Summary, and Conclusion, whereas the format of a talk discussing multiple studies is more complex, but a theme unifies the studies.
Ensure you have one major idea per slide, and convey that idea clearly (through images, equations, statistics, citations, video, etc.). The slide should include a title that summarizes the major point of the slide, should not contain too much text or too many graphics, and color should be used meaningfully.
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Finally! You have published your research in that journal you always aimed for. After so much time spent researching, writing, reviewing and being evaluated by professors, experts, and peers, we are sorry to say the effort might not be over…That’s right, it’s time to present it to an audience. Actually, to be invited to talk about your research is a good sign. It means it is generating interest among people, and they want to hear more from you.
But presenting scientific work comes with great responsibility, especially after a successful publication, because there is the expectation to be as good as the published article. It is important to know how to convey your ideas as clearly and concisely as possible, keeping high levels of interest and scientific accuracy at the same time. If you are unsure about performing this task, don’t worry. You are not alone and there is plenty of help available.
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Author services, such as what we offer at Elsevier, may just be the breath of fresh air you need. Our professional team of native English speakers, text editors and illustrators can help you come up with the perfect scientific presentation; no matter the audience or context. Because we know that bringing science to people through presentations is part of a successful career, we not only make sure the article publishing process runs smoothly but also how it comes alive to live audiences. You just need to identify some fundamental issues before we take care of all the rest:
- Who are you speaking to? Knowing your audience is the first step to conveying your message successfully. Is your audience made of experts in your research field or is it a more heterogeneous group?
- Work on a presentation flow. Make sure your audience follows your stream-of-thought in every stage of the presentation. The problem, process and results should be clearly identified throughout the presentation.
- Engage the audience. Think of ways to keep your presentation interesting and memorable. Include charts, figures and stunning infographics to show important data. Consider audience interaction opportunities, as well.
See some more tips for giving a good scientific presentation .
Scientific Presentations: the two most common types:
- Written Scientific Presentation: It might happen that sooner or later you will need to adapt your research paper or article to another written format, like a poster or a website. In this case, the major issue you will have to address is that your work has to be self-explanatory, leaving no room for doubts or misconceptions. References and key terms should never be forgotten or illegible and images must mention their source due to copyright and intellectual property laws. Remember that bringing your work to a more general audience makes it more susceptible to being copied and used in ways you cannot control. Addressing all these “minor” issues might be tricky, so we recommend Elsevier’s text editing services to help you fit your presentation into the target written format you need.
- Live Scientific Presentation: This might be the most nerve wracking type of scientific presentation for most researchers, because you have to be face-to-face with an audience. Inevitably, individual skills, like public speaking, a strong stage presence, and the ability to improvise all play a huge part in a live presentation. But look at the bright side, your research is getting some serious attention. Plus, nowadays, there are many ways to keep the audience’s attention more focused on the screen (and your research) and less on you. Add interesting multimedia content and use your speaking time to complement what is on screen rather than duplicate information. Unlike a written presentation, you have the chance to clarify or underline information that might not reach your target properly. Remember to keep a good balance between images, oral information, and text; the latter should be clear and easy to read. For instance, use bullet points, tables and concise statements as much as possible.
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With the increase of published scientific research, it’s getting harder and harder to get your manuscript noticed. High-quality illustrations within your paper can help you in the submission service, and they engage readers once your paper is published. Academic infographics can help you make an impact with your publication on social media and beyond. With Elsevier’s Illustration services , you can work with our experts. The Elsevier team can turn your ideas into professional illustrations that help you make an impact.
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Oral presentation, compiling a powerpoint.
Abstract : a short statement that describes a longer work.
- Indicate the subject.
- Describe the purpose of the investigation.
- Briefly discuss the method used.
- Make a statement about the result.
Oral presentations usually introduce a discussion of a topic or research paper. A good oral presentation is focused, concise, and interesting in order to trigger a discussion.
- Be well prepared; write a detailed outline.
- Introduce the subject.
- Talk about the sources and the method.
- Indicate if there are conflicting views about the subject (conflicting views trigger discussion).
- Make a statement about your new results (if this is your research paper).
- Use visual aids or handouts if appropriate.
An effective PowerPoint presentation is just an aid to the presentation, not the presentation itself .
- Be brief and concise.
- Focus on the subject.
- Attract attention; indicate interesting details.
- If possible, use relevant visual illustrations (pictures, maps, charts graphs, etc.).
- Use bullet points or numbers to structure the text.
- Make clear statements about the essence/results of the topic/research.
- Don't write down the whole outline of your paper and nothing else.
- Don't write long full sentences on the slides.
- Don't use distracting colors, patterns, pictures, decorations on the slides.
- Don't use too complicated charts, graphs; only those that are relatively easy to understand.
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How to make a PowerPoint presentation from a research paper?
Academic presentations could be based on research in progress, unfinished work or the full drafts of a research paper. An academic presentation is a sort of like an advertisement for the paper than an attempt to present all the information in the paper. You need to focus on what is important, highlighting the bold outcomes and results is the key here. The below format is a very basic design showing you how to make a PowerPoint presentation from a research paper:
- Introduction (1 slide)
- Research Questions/Hypotheses (1 slide)
- Literature Review/Theory (1 slide)
- Methods & Data Collection (1 slide)
- Data Presentation/Findings (3-5 slides)
- Conclusion (1 slide)
Obviously, this is just a general guideline. It is however important that you focus on your findings, future implication of your work and limitation since it is the potential for future research. During a presentation method and data collection sections should be kept short. Though, this all depends on the nature of the work.
To create a presentation from a full-length paper or article, you can pull out the most important parts of the article, based on the above list or based on the subheadings in your own article.
For the introduction, you can use the same compelling introduction you use in your paper. In the PowerPoint presentation, it is a good idea to find a picture that describes the aim of your research. Visuals are considered very effective tools for keeping the audience interested and for conveying a point.
Your next slide should contain your research questions mentioned in your introduction as well.
Then, spend no more than a minute contextualizing your research questions and project within the literature. Don’t make the mistake of spending too much time reviewing what others have written about your topic. You just want to illustrate the fact that your work contributes to existing research in the field. People don’t come to conferences to hear literature reviews, they want new information and mind-blowing findings. They want to see the real implications of the findings to the global challenges at hand. The concrete practical solutions.
Think about the questions people might have such as: what data set did you use? How many interviews did you carry out? How many months of participant observation did you complete? What is the timeframe for the data? The geographical observations. Give just enough information to validate your findings for the methodology section.
You should be able to go through all of the above in the first five minutes so that you can spend as much of your time as possible sharing the rich detail of your own data and analyses. If you have ethnographic data, you can tell one story from the field for each point you want to make. For statistical data, you can present a table with findings for each finding you wish to highlight. For interview data, you can use one interview quotes for each theme you plan to highlight.
Once you bold out the significant findings, you can leave a minute or two for your conclusion. Again make sure you use visuals, story format, case studies, quotes, even videos to explain your result to make it very appealing to the audience.
As you make each slide, remember to put a few words as possible on each slide, and place an image on each slide to convey your points visually.
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In quest of a reliable research paper presentation template
If you are supposed to make an oral presentation of your research project PowerPoint becomes a useful tool for presenting your information. You need therefor to come up with an attention -grabbing outline. You don’t have to present the entire project but you should lay down the main points to convince your professor or audience. It is simple outline and not an entirety of the project. There are 3 major steps for creating an outstanding research paper PowerPoint presentation outline.
- Develop a strong thesis statement
- Outline your paper’s argument
- Revise your work and find out how every paragraph supports your thesis
Characteristics of a good PowerPoint research paper outline
- It grounds the writer
- It keeps the audience on topic
- Highlights all the major points
- Slide structure Arrange your slide shows so that you present two of them per minute. Don’t forget to use point form rather than whole statements. For every slide, present up to 4 or 5 main ideas and show each one of them at a time. This maintains concentration of the audience so that they do not read what is ahead. Do not create distracting animations.
- Fonts Make use of standard fonts like Times New Roman. 18 point font size is enough. You can apply different sizes to differentiate main and minor ideas. Smaller fonts can’t be read by the audience, hence they would lose focus. If necessary, use capital letters to emphasize but don’t use complex fonts.
- Color The best color is that which contrasts the background to facilitate easy reading, for instance, dark font and white background. Color should show logic in your overall structure and emphasize some information occasionally. You must not use color for decorative purposes as it would be annoying and distracting. It is pointless to use different colors for different points.
- Background It should be simple and attractive. Light background is better and it should be consistent throughout. Fussy backgrounds are not good.
- Graphs Graphs are better than simple words or charts because they are more comprehensible than raw information. The audience is more likely to retain graphs in their mind than when tables are used.
If you don’t know how to cite a research paper in a PowerPoint presentation, seek guidance from your professor or writing experts at https://mypaperwriter.com/ . The general outline consists of an introduction, main body, and conclusion. In the introduction, greet the audience and give a brief background of what you ought to present. The body carries the whole project with the main points while the conclusion should wrap up everything nicely, thank the audience and give a chance for any questions.
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WRITING A RESEARCH ARTICLE
Apr 02, 2019
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WRITING A RESEARCH ARTICLE. Dr. Rob Danin Senior English Language Fellow www.robdanin.com. FORMAT FOR THE PAPER. TITLE Make your title specific enough to describe the contents of the paper. The title should be appropriate for the intended audience.
- candy store
- your reader
- michael alley
- professional research journal
WRITING A RESEARCH ARTICLE Dr. Rob Danin Senior English Language Fellow www.robdanin.com
FORMAT FOR THE PAPER TITLE • Make your title specific enough to describe the contents of the paper. The title should be appropriate for the intended audience. • The title usually describes the subject matter of the article: “Towards an Understanding of Culture in L2/FL Education” • Sometimes a title that summarizes the results is more effective: “How Native English Speakers Can Be Better English Teachers in Russia”
FORMAT FOR THE PAPER AUTHORS • The person who did the work and wrote the paper is generally listed as the first author of a research paper. • For published articles, other people who made substantial contributions to the work are also listed as authors.
FORMAT FOR THE PAPER ABSTRACT (Summary) • The abstract should be a little less technical than the article itself. • Your abstract should be one paragraph, of 100-250 words, which summarizes the purpose, methods, results and conclusions of the paper. • Start by writing a summary that includes whatever you think is important and then edit. • Don't use abbreviations or citations in the abstract. It should be able to stand alone without any footnotes.
FORMAT FOR THE PAPER INTRODUCTION • The introduction summarizes the relevant literature (lit review) so that the reader will understand why you were interested in this particular topic. • What is the focus of your article? • Why is it interesting? • Questions for further review • One to four paragraphs should be enough. • Make sure you address all the questions you posed in this section of the paper.
FORMAT FOR THE PAPER MATERIALS AND METHODS • How did you answer the questions in your introduction? • Look at other research papers that have been published in your field to get some idea of what is included in this section. • Do not put results in this section. • Mention relevant ethical/cultural considerations. • Various cultures view certain ethical practices differently (e.g., confidentiality)
FORMAT FOR THE PAPER RESULTS • Summarize your main findings in the text. • Do not discuss the results or speculate as to why something happened; that goes in the Discussion section of your paper. • This is where you present the results of your research. • Use diagrams, charts/tables or flowcharts to help clarify key points in your article if appropriate. • Don't use these just to be "fancy". If you can summarize the information in one sentence, then a visual representation is not necessary.
Table / Chart
FORMAT FOR THE PAPER DISCUSSION • Highlight the most significant results, but don't just repeat what you've written in the Results section. • How do these results relate to the original question(s)? • If your results were unexpected, try to explain why. • End with a one-sentence summary of your conclusion, emphasizing why it is relevant.
FORMAT FOR THE PAPER ACKNOWLEDGMENTS • This section is optional. You can thank those who either helped with your study or made other important contributions. REFERENCES (LITERATURE CITED) • Credit use of somebody else's words or ideas (Citations) • There are several possible ways to organize this section. • APA, MLA, Chicago http://myweb.wssu.edu/wallr/ms_form_comparison.htm USEFUL BOOK • William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style, 3rd ed. Macmillan, New York, 1987. http://www.bartleby.com/141/ (online) http://faculty.washington.edu/heagerty/Courses/b572/public/StrunkWhite.pdf (PDF)
Other Considerations EDIT YOUR PAPER • "In my writing, I average about ten pages a day. Unfortunately, they're all the same page." Michael Alley, The Craft of Scientific Writing (1996) Write accurately • Although writing instructors may tell you not to use the same word twice in a sentence, it's okay for scientific writing. Make sure you say what you mean Use past tense except when referring to established facts • The paper will be submitted after all of the work is completed. Be careful with commonly confused words • Culture has an effect on language learning. • Culture affects language learning.
Other Considerations Write clearly • Write at a level that's appropriate for your audience. Use the first person • Instead of: It is thought Write: I think Use short sentences • A sentence made of more than 40 words should probably be rewritten as two sentences. Check your grammar, spelling and punctuation • Use a spellchecker, but be aware that they don't catch all mmistakees. • Don't, use, unnecessary, commas. • Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. • Proof your paper by reading it from bottom to top
Other Considerations Write succinctly Use concise terms
Other Considerations The top ten overused phrases: 1 - At the end of the day 2 - Fairly unique 3 - I personally 4 - At this moment in time 5 - It's not rocket science 6 - Absolutely 7 - It's a nightmare 8 - Shouldn't of 9 - 24/7 10 - With all due respect
Other Considerations Careful Using Clichés • Avoid it like the plague • Dead as a doornail • Take the tiger by the tail • Low hanging fruit • If only walls could talk • The pot calling the kettle black • Think outside the box • Thick as thieves • But at the end of the day • Plenty of fish in the sea • Every dog has its day • Like a kid in a candy store
Other ConsiderationsArticle Publication Juried Non-Juried • Any source that is not in a peer-reviewed research journal • Non-peer reviewed/non-juried/non-refereed (all of those words mean the same thing) • Such sources include newspapers, magazines, websites, non-academic books, etc. • The peer review process ensures that the information in an article is reliable • Submission to a professional research journal • Article is reviewed anonymously by a panel of other researchers in the same field • If approved by the reviewers, then article is published
Creating an Outline for Your Article Title (and Authors) • Make this as catchy as possible • Your reader will read this first then decide if he or she willcontinue reading the rest of the article Introduction • Introduce the problem you will be discussing or write a short story of your experience with the problem Body: this includes • Materials and methods • Results (use of visual graphics?) • Discussion • Acknowledgments and references Abstract (and title) • Consider writing this after the completion of the article • This may help more accurately align the abstract/title to the central theme of the article
Writer’s Workshop • In small groups, please do the following: • Generate possible article ideas • You may already have one! • Collect writing ideas from the group • Choose “seed ideas” that work for you • Plan and begin an article draft • With the article outline provided (or using another outline method), please take time to begin a draft of a possible article you may decide to write.
Best of luck!www.robdanin.com
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