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Presentation Tips

As part of completion of your thesis/project, you will present your research at Student Showcase in April. At Student Showcase students may give either oral presentations or poster presentations. Student Showcase accommodates PowerPoint slide presentations.

Oral Presentations

Below are some helpful ideas as you prepare to read your paper.

  • Prepare a professional PowerPoint presentation that is not text heavy and includes graphics from your research (graphs, images, etc).
  • Proofread your presentation!
  • Adjust your presentation to be appropriate to your audience. This may mean adding an entirely new introduction, which explains the background and significance of your topic.
  • Be sure to practice your presentation out loud so it flows and you don't go over the time limit.
  • If you are concerned that you will be nervous, consider writing things like "Slow down!" "Enunciate!" "Smile!" and "Relax!" in your notes.

Poster Presentations

For tips on preparing a poster presentation, please read this page.

You may also find this video about preparing a poster using PowerPoint useful.

Below are some general guidelines for poster production:

In contrast to an oral presentation, a poster is a visual representation of the research project that must convey the essence of your message. In effect, it talks for the researcher. The poster presenter is on hand to answer questions and provide further details.

Posters are generally no larger than 4 feet by 4 feet. A printout on a plotter is generally 4 feet by 3 feet. (By using a PowerPoint approach, the poster may be laminated and tacked to a board on an easel for easy display rather than assembling the parts of the poster as is traditional.)

General Format

  • Title Tells the name of the project, the people involved in the work, and their affiliation; the title should be large, descriptive, and concise.
  • Abstract States what you set out to do, how you have done it, the key results, and the main findings and conclusions.
  • Introduction Includes clear statements about the problem that you are trying to solve, the new ideas or items you are trying to discover or create, or the proofs that you are trying to establish. Note the background work that has led up to the current status of your research of creative work in this area.
  • Theory or Methods Explains the basis of the techniques that you are using or the procedures that you have adopted in your study. You should also state and justify any assumptions, so that your results can be viewed in the proper context.
  • Results Show illustrative examples of the main results of products of your work.
  • Conclusions Discusses the main findings of your investigation and their value.
  • Further Plans Contains recommendations and thoughts about how the work could be continued. What kind of things could be done next? What are some possible long-term goals or outcomes?
  • Acknowledgements Allows you to thank organizations that have provided financial support or the individuals who donated time to help with the project.


  • Keep the material simple and concise with plenty of white space.
  • Use colors sparingly to emphasize, differentiate, and add interest. (In general, it is better to keep the background light, as people are used to that.)
  • Pictures, graphs, and charts can be helpful in communicating a message quickly. Equations should be kept to a minimum, be large enough to read, and accompanied by definitions to explain significance of each variable. Label any diagrams and drawings. Clipart may be used for interest as long as it doesn't distract.
  • Font size should be such that a reader can stand at a distance of 5 feet and read the text.
  • Use underline text, bold face, italics, or combinations to emphasize words and phrases.
  • Spelling counts. (Typographical errors do not reflect well on credibility or the presenter or on the university.)
  • A poster is the story of your research. You should draft versions of your poster sections and check them for mistakes, legibility, consistency in style, and various layout arrangements. Ask your mentor professor, friends, or family to review to make sure it's your best work. Do not wait until the last minute.