Scientific Presentations


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Sample of an effective powerpoint presentation given at a UCSD workshop

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Scientific Presentations

  1. 1. How To Give An Effective Scientific Presentation Kelly D. Hester, Ph.D. UCSD-OGSR Workshop
  2. 2. Begin with an outline <ul><li>Start with the big picture. </li></ul><ul><li>Address the scientific question. </li></ul><ul><li>Discuss how to present the background. </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly state the hypothesis. </li></ul><ul><li>Talk about the methods. </li></ul><ul><li>Present the experimental data. </li></ul><ul><li>Summarize the results of the study. </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest experiments or plans for future studies. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Describe the Big Picture <ul><li>Build slides to proceed from familiar topics to more detailed information. </li></ul><ul><li>Allow for everyone in the audience to begin on the same page. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be afraid to tell a joke and break the ice. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Every scientific study begins with a question <ul><li>Lead the audience to the major question to be addressed in the study. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t talk too fast. </li></ul><ul><li>Define your terms, don’t assume the audience understands your acronyms. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Give a discussion about the background <ul><li>It is not necessary to teach “Intro to Science.” </li></ul><ul><li>Give an adequate discussion without too much detail. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t read off of the slide. </li></ul><ul><li>Use illustrations for the background. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Every scientific inquiry is addressed by a hypothesis <ul><li>Give the rationale for the study. </li></ul><ul><li>Clearly state the hypothesis. </li></ul><ul><li>List three or four objectives. </li></ul><ul><li>Show how the ideas are linked. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Experiments demonstrate if the hypothesis was true <ul><li>Discuss methods but don’t describe too much detail unless it is a novel approach. </li></ul><ul><li>If the experiment didn’t work or generate data state how the methods were appropriate to answer the question. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Effective presentation of the data is critical <ul><li>Explain the data in each figure clearly. </li></ul><ul><li>Oftentimes experiments lead to more questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Practice a summary for each slide before moving to the next one. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Giving a well thought out summary is essential <ul><li>Re-state the main points at the end of the presentation and show how they are related. </li></ul><ul><li>Suggest additional experiments that may help. </li></ul><ul><li>Give ideas or thoughts for further studies. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Making the presentation effective <ul><li>Know your time limits and stay within them. </li></ul><ul><li>Generally speaking allow 1 minute per slide. </li></ul><ul><li>Practice! Practice! Practice! </li></ul><ul><li>Allow someone to listen to your presentation beforehand and offer suggestions. </li></ul><ul><li>Keep animations to a minimum. </li></ul>
  11. 11. The summary is a chance to give a recap <ul><li>Showing the Big Picture. </li></ul><ul><li>Addressing the Question. </li></ul><ul><li>Discussing the Background. </li></ul><ul><li>Stating the Hypothesis. </li></ul><ul><li>Presenting the Data. </li></ul><ul><li>Summarizing the Results. </li></ul><ul><li>Make a few acknowledgements. </li></ul><ul><li>Thank the audience for their attention. </li></ul><ul><li>Offer to address any questions. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t forget to ! </li></ul>