Oral Presentation Guidelines

An oral presentation provides a chance for students to present their research by reading a paper and/or showing PowerPoint slides to a group of interested faculty, students, and judges.  These presentations will allow students to experience what it is like to present their research at a conference in their discipline.

Students making oral presentations will be organized into one-hour sessions. 

During each session four students (or four groups of students working on the same project) from varying disciplines will present.  Each student (or group of students working on the same project) will have 12 minutes to present, followed by 2 minutes for questions and answers from the audience.  A timer will sound at the 10-minute mark, letting you know when you have only 2 minutes left to wrap up.

At each session a faculty moderator will introduce the students and keep track of the allotted time.  Several faculty judges will also be present at each session.

Guidelines for Oral Presentations:

  1. As with poster presentations, students are required to submit an abstract of their oral presentation via the Abstract Online Submission Form
  2. If you have PowerPoint slides, you will need to get a copy of those slides to the director of the Celebration at least 48 hours in advance.  The director will then upload all PowerPoint slides onto the computer in the presentation room.  You must also bring a flash drive copy of your slides as a back-up on the day of the presentation.
  3. Practice your presentation in advance so that you know it will be within the 12-minute mark.
  4. A good rule of thumb is that it takes two minutes to read one page, so your paper should be no longer than six standard, double-spaced pages.
  5. Although you are not expected to memorize your presentation, you should be familiar enough with the material to make frequent eye contact with your audience.
  6. Handouts are not required, but if you choose to bring handouts to your presentation, you should bring 10 copies.
  7. A good oral presentation will: 
    • Summarize your research succinctly: stating your thesis, argument, purpose, and research methods
    • Present the evidence that supports your thesis
    • Point out any conclusions you have reached
    • Explain the larger significance of your research for your field
  8. Finally, students should consult with their faculty sponsor about the best way to present their material.  Your faculty sponsor has probably made many such presentations and can give you some good tips.