Dr. Edwards' Notes on Giving Oral Presentations

Now that you have had some direct experience of the nitty gritty of doing science you know that one doesn't anticipate all problems in an experimental design and the first few times through a procedure produces data that is readily flawed. In presenting one's research, however, one puts aside as much of the "flawed" data as one can, and focuses on what worked... that is the best collected data (i.e. the most reliable).

Consider the following guidelines when presenting your short reports:

1. Include in sequence, all the parts of a paper: Title, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion and a summary of you conclusions.

2. In order to make your talk short, you need to abbreviate the components to their essentials. That is, consider what is truly necessary and helpful for your audience to know about background information, the essentials of materials and methods stated as succinctly as possible, and the major "take-home" point or points you want to make about your study.

3. Try to present your information and ideas in a LOGICAL sequence that builds on itself.

4. You can indicate in results or discussion, where improvements in experimental design would best be made and what further questions arise from your study.

5. Simplify your figures and use large font sizes to make them easier to read.. Present your simplified and enlarged figures/tables on poster board, transparencies, or as handouts. Don't put lots of information into a figure...keep them simple so that your audience can get the point of each figure. If figures are done several days before your talk instructors can make transparencies for you. There will be colored pens for transparencies in Bio rm 109. You can use these to color on transparencies if you like.

6. Leave some time at the end of your talk for your audience to ask questions. It is this question and answer interchange that can give you important insights into your work and provide insights that you may not have considered. Answer questions as best you can, but indicate when you do not know or have not considered a question that has been asked (you might recognize that the question is a good one, in your opinion!). Speculate if you want to, but indicate that you are speculating.