Unlike class presentations, research presentations at professional conferences (e.g., American Anthropological Association annual meeting) are notoriously short; usually 10-15 minutes. Research presentations at the CIS will mirror such presentations, and are designed as opportunities for students to share their main findings, methodological issues, and/or implications of the research. For CIS 495, you will be limited to 10 minutes for a presentation, with 5 minutes for questions.
I would recommend against using PowerPoint slides; these tend to waste time, and if you are on the job network or applying to graduate school, you need to be able to efficiently express your work in chance or informal encounters. If you reject this advice, I would use no more than one or two slides (for presentation of data (e.g., tables, pictures, etc.) or a video clip (if your capstone project is performative, meaning that you made the video). In general, one PowerPoint slides is 2 minutes of a presentation.
While you are not directly graded on your research presentations, as we academics are not ‘graded’ at professional conferences, you are being judged; it is best to prepare by rehearsing your 10 minute presentation at least once, preferably to an audience who can keep time for you and provide feedback, prior to giving your presentation. There are many different approaches to crafting a well-received presentation – find the style and approach that best fits your personality and your work.
The research presentation should:
- Give the audience a sense of your work
- Want to make them ask questions or stimulate discussion
- Motivate them to read your full-length paper or look more closely at your poster
The research presentation should not:
- Be crafted to impress your audience.
- Review everything you know about the subject.
- Go into every little detail of your research.
Complex ideas can be translated into plain English; while jargon may be appropriate for a disciplinary-specific audience (but in general, I am a believer that even that should be avoided), you should have enough mastery of your subject to explain what you have been doing (or plan to do) to a crowd of grandparents. Repeating back technical jargon is the first step in learning, but with mastery of a particular field comes the ability to explain your work to all kinds of audiences.
Avoid reading directly from a paper; a well-presented research presentation should seem like a conversation between you and learned individuals in the crowd. Try to make eye contact with members of the audience. Use your own words (unless a specific scholar is particularly relevant as your inspiration or your ‘straw man’). Stick to the time limit – the most rehearsed part of your talk should be your conclusion, your closing sentences; if you are close to the time limit (I will signal you when there is one-minute left).
Please don’t hesitate to see me if you have any questions!