Literature Review/Poster Presentation Guide

Literature Review & Poster/Visual Presentation Guide
In many disciplines presentations are given at academic conferences, symposia, and other places where scholars share their work with one another (including the Massachusetts Undergraduate Research Conference).  It can be very challenging to display and communicate all of one’s research findings in a synthesized manner and short timeframe.  Following are some thoughts about both preparing your presentation and also how to maximize your experience as an audience member.
The overall purpose of your presentation is to share your research process and findings with the class. In all cases, whatever topic you choose for your research, the objective is to stimulate in your listeners an understanding of that topic and how you went about developing that understanding for yourself as a researcher.
The purpose of your talk is to present your research. Keep that goal in mind as you consider what to include and how to organize it.. In the visual portion of your presentation, be sure to include the following:

1)    Title
2)    Your research question
3)    Examples of what you found (results) including
a.    Visual and quantitative information
b.    Important quotes
4)    Your conclusion

Remember to keep your presentation (and your visual material) concise. It is very easy to overwhelm an audience with too much text.  Also, be sure to use a font size that is large enough to read from several feet away.
Presentation considerations. Five minutes go fast! Therefore, stick with the most important points (details can come in the Q&A session), and be sure to organize your presentation logically. Be sure to practice. Nothing will prepare you better than giving your presentation several times to an audience. Speak slowly, clearly, expressively. Make eye contact. Also make sure your visual really does support your oral presentation and aid your audience!
Concluding your presentation. End your presentation with a quick summary or suggestion of what’s been gained by your research.  Then be prepared for questions. Be ready with a question of your own in case the audience needs prompting. A crucial part of your presentation is thinking about how to engage the audience. Listen closely, be sure you understand each questioner’s intent, and then answer as directly as possible.
II. AUDIENCE’S ROLE: Even when not presenting, you play a crucial role in the presentation and determining its quality.  As a listener, demonstrate your interest: make eye contact with the presenter as you listen closely, and take notes so you can ask informed, pertinent, and helpful questions during the Q&A period. Putting a presenter at ease can go a long way to ensuring an effective presentation.