Office of Undergraduate Research

Research Presentation Guide

Research Presentation Guide

Presenting your research is a key component of conducting research. Some students conduct research to gather a more in-depth look into their field. Others are looking to build their research skills and portfolio. Whatever your reason may be for presenting, the task can seem a little intimidating at first. One way to combat this presentation anxiety is with careful preparation and understanding what is expected from your presentation. Knowing the guidelines for each type of presentation is the first step to making sure your presentation is a good representation of all of your hard work.


 

General Guidelines

1. Be organized!

Know the clear and unifying point of your research, and be able to communicate it to an audience.

2. Use the format of your academic discipline

Most research in the sciences and some social sciences is organized in the following components (or versions of them):

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion
  • References
  • Acknowledgements

In other disciplines, these components may be less formal, but all research should have an introduction, address a question or problem, and discuss or analyze the results of its inquiry. Consult with your faculty mentor regarding selecting the best format for your presentation. The Purdue Online Writing Lab has a lot of resources for student researchers including style guides. Students can also search past Student RSCA Conference and Creative Activities and Research Symposium (CARS) abstracts through the Bronco Scholar University Online Repository website.

3. Make your research as accessible as possible to a broad academic audience, without sacrificing its disciplinary rigor.

4. Anticipate possible questions

Take notes on questions (and the names and addresses of the contacts you’ll make while discussing your work).

5. Rehearse your presentation in advance.

6. Credit all sources; be truthful; respect your audience

 


Oral & Performance Presentation Guidelines

Oral and performance presentations are carefully prepared to be live 10-minute presentation via the Zoom Meeting platform. Student presenters will be able to share their screen to display their PowerPoint or other online presentation format with the audience. After each student presentation, there will a live 4-minute Q&A session where they answer questions from the audience. For the Student RSCA Conference (held annually in March), the student can request to participate in a "competitive session" with a judges' panel, the judges will ask questions first and then the audience. This request is made as part of the application to present at the conference.
The presentation are grouped by category, addressing a common subject matter (e.g. Education, Humanities & Letters, Engineering & Computer Science). In the sciences and some social sciences, presentations are usually made from notes and are accompanied by visual materials such as tables, graphs, charts, and photographs (most often in PowerPoint, but sometimes with other presentation programs). In the humanities and some other social sciences, presentations are usually read aloud from a prepared text, sometimes with accompanying visual materials. Work with your faculty mentor to produce an oral and performance presentation appropriate to your discipline. 

We encourage you to use the tips below that will best help you prepare your for your oral or performance presentation. 

  • Rehearse your presentation in advance with friends or family. Make sure that it is no more than ten-minutes long. Ask your rehearsal audience what they have learned to see if you're getting your point across.
  • Establish early a clear and unifying point and repeat at least three times during your presentation.
  • Clearly explain the applicability of your research to your discipline and/or the real world.
  • Face your audience; speak slowly and clearly and project your voice to the back of the room. Whether you are working from notes (or slides) or reading from a text, make eye contact with your audience as frequently as you can.
  • If you're speaking from notes, number them so that you won't lose your place, and remember the general outline of the points that you want to make and the order in which you'll make them. If you're reading, read slowly enough to understand what you're reading (at a rate of about two minutes per double-spaced page).
  • If you are using visual aids, prepare them well in advance and make sure they are clear.
  • Keep words to a minimum on visual aids; make sure they are readable from the back of the room. Words should be large enough to read from several feet away, but don’t use all caps. Avoid using light colors for words such as yellow or orange. The size of the typeface should be at least 14 point .
  • Number your visual aids so you always know the order in case they get dropped or misplaced.
  • Watch your audience response; if they seem lost, slow down.
  • Bring a pen and pad of paper for notes and to record names and addresses of contacts.

Student presenters with questions about computer or technical support should contact the event organizers in advance at our-cpp@cpp.edu

For the campus conference held in-person, Cal Poly Pomona will provide computers, projectors, and screens for students making oral presentations with visual aids. (PowerPoint is the only supported presentation software, it is the students’ responsibility to make sure the format, version, and presentation software works on the provided computers.) All computers are PCs. Participants should not bring their own computers.

  • Students should bring presentations in a PC-compatible format on a USB memory drive.
  • Presentations prepared on a Mac must be rehearsed at least once in advance on a PC to ensure compatibility.
  • All presenters must indicate clearly the equipment they will need when abstracts are initially submitted.

  • A faculty moderator will chair your panel. They will introduce you and other presenters to the audience, describe the session's topic, keep time, and facilitate a brief discussion following each presentation. It is essential that panels keep on schedule; moderators will stop presenters if they appear likely to run over their allotted time.
  • Arrive a minimum of 15 minutes before the beginning of your session and check-in with the moderator so they know you are there and ready to present. For in-person conferences, this will allow you time to upload your presentation to the computer n the presentation room. Stay for the duration and be an active listener. Do not arrive late or leave following your presentation; this is discourteous to other presenters.
  • Check all support materials in advance (back-up PowerPoint presentations, handouts, transparencies, etc.) to avoid unnecessary delays in starting your presentation. 
  • Have a backup plan in the event of equipment failure (for instance, we recommend that you bring transparencies or handouts to guard against computer malfunctions if you're using PowerPoint). For the virtual conference, have a back-up link to your presentation in case there moderator has issues with sharing your pre-recorded presentation with the audience.
  • Listen to other panelists’ presentations and participate in discussions that follow.

The criteria below are used at the CSU Systemwide Student Research Competition that occurs after the annual conference in March. Ten student projects are selected from the campus conference to represent Cal Poly Pomona at the CSU Systemwide Student Research Competition that occurs later in the spring term (April/May each year). Each oral & performance presentation will be judged on the following:

  • Clarity of purpose
  • Appropriateness of methodology
  • Interpretation of results
  • Value of the research or creative activity
  • Ability of the presenter to articulate the research or creative activity
  • Organization of the material presented
  • Presenter's ability to handle questions from the panel and general audience


Poster & Creative Works Presentation Guidelines

The Poster & Creative Works Showcase has been modified to fit a virtual format. Instead of preparing and printing a 4 ft x 3 ft poster and being available to answer questions through a 1:1 interaction with audience members, student presenters will participate in a panel where they give a brief introduction to their project and then have time to answer questions from their fellow presenters and audience members.

Poster & Creative Works presentations are carefully prepared to be a live 4-minute elevator pitch followed by a 2-minute Q&A session where they answer questiosn from the audience. The presentations are given via the Zoom Meeting platform. Student presenters will be able to share their screen to display their PowerPoint or other online presentation format with the audience. There will be a moderator in the room to help with facilitating the Q&A and discussion for each session grouped by category, addressing a common subject matter (e.g. Education, Humanities & Letters, Engineering & Computer Science).

After all the student presenters have had a chance to speak, there will be general discussion period where you will have additional time to speak to your fellow presenters and audience members in the session. This will be a great time to ask follow-up questions and learn more about the other student presenters in your session. 

We encourage you to use the tips below that will best help you prepare your poster and creative works presentation. 

  • Rehearse your presentation in advance with friends or family. Make sure that it is no more than two-minutes long. Ask your rehearsal audience what they have learned to see if you're getting your point across. 
  • Clearly explain the applicability of your research to your discipline and/or the real world.
  • Face your audience; speak slowly and clearly and project your voice to the back of the room. Whether you are working from notes (or slides) or reading from a text, make eye contact with your audience as frequently as you can.
  • If you are using visual aids, prepare them well in advance and make sure they are clear. For example, you can display a PDF of the poster for your project as your Zoom Meeting virtual background. For students who would like to share a PDF of their poster or project, we will make these files available to students who present in your session.
  • Keep words to a minimum on visual aids; make sure they are readable from the back of the room. Words should be large enough to read from several feet away, but don’t use all caps. Avoid using light colors for words such as yellow or orange. The size of the typeface should be at least 14 point .
  • Number your visual aids so you always know the order in case they get dropped or misplaced.
  • Watch your audience response; if they seem lost, slow down.
  • Bring a pen and pad of paper for notes and to record names and addresses of contacts.

  • A faculty moderator will chair your panel. They will introduce you and other presenters to the audience, describe the session's topic, keep time, and facilitate a brief discussion following each presentation. It is essential that panels keep on schedule; moderators will stop presenters if they appear likely to run over their allotted time.
  • Arrive a minimum of 15 minutes before the beginning of your session and check-in with the moderator so they know you are there and ready to present. For in-person conferences, this will allow you time to upload your presentation to the computer n the presentation room. Stay for the duration and be an active listener. Do not arrive late or leave following your presentation; this is discourteous to other presenters.
  • Check all support materials in advance (back-up PowerPoint presentations, handouts, transparencies, etc.) to avoid unnecessary delays in starting your presentation. 
  • Have a backup plan in the event of equipment failure (for instance, we recommend that you bring transparencies or handouts to guard against computer malfunctions if you're using PowerPoint).
  • Listen to other panelists’ presentations and participate in discussions that follow.

We invite you to prepare a PDF of a poster of your project. This poster can be displayed either as a Zoom Meeting virtual background or as a PDF you share with students in your sesssion. You an adjust your poster size and content to best fit a virtual format such as 8.5 x 11 letter size. Consult with your faculty mentor regarding the best format for your presentation.

In-Person Poster Format Guidelines

Poster presentations should be no larger than 4'(width) x 3'(height) Landscape. When you apply to present, the conference will provide specific guidelines on whether your poster will be pinned to bulletin board or mounted on a hard backing that will be displayed on an individual easel. Follow the instructions provided by the specific conference. Also please note: NO TAPE, VELCRO, GLUESTICKS, or other permanent fasteners should be visible. If you require a special set-up for your presentation such as a table to display a prototype or design project, please notify the conference so that they can accommodate your request.

Space on a poster is limited, so pick wisely what to present. Your display should be self-explanatory and have a logical flow—others should be able to follow the order even if you are not present. Start with a rough draft of your design on paper, using graph paper or post-it notes to simulate sections.

Place your title at the top of the poster and make sure that the text is large (usually at least 2 inches in height) and clear. Include your name and major, and the name of your faculty mentor and his/her department name, the name of your school and the names of other co-authors. Incorporate appropriate graphics in your poster. Label or describe any charts, tables, figures, graphs, or photos that you use. Make sure all edges line up evenly. Edit, review, and spell check all the elements of your poster display. Be sure to firmly attach all materials to your poster board (spray adhesive, found in art supply stores, works best).

In-Person Poster Style Guidelines

  • Don't use more than two fonts. Instead use bold, italic and font size to set type differently. Times New Roman, Arial, and Garamond are suggested typefaces.
  • Titles should be at least 2 inches high.
  • The body type for the main sections should be at least 18 point if possible.
  • Words should be large enough to read from several feet away, but don’t use all caps.
  • Stick to a color scheme (try a couple that complement or contrast with each other such as black or navy on white). Try mounting text and figures on colored paper, or using some colored font.
  • Be consistent with your white space between sections of text, figures and headings; white space should be ample so the poster doesn't’t look crammed.