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Scientific Presentations

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Sample of an effective powerpoint presentation given at a UCSD workshop

Sample of an effective powerpoint presentation given at a UCSD workshop


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