McNair Scholars

Oral & Poster Presentation Guidelines

Students may present virtually either an oral or poster research presentation and will select their preferred research presentation type during abstract submission.

Abstracts and preferred presentation type selections are due March 29th, 2021 by 11:59 PST and are submitted as part of the Individual Student Registration process.

Student presenter applicants will be notified about their presentation type during the week of April 5th, 2021. Individual session assignments will be provided to student presenters sometime in early to mid-April.

Oral Presentation

Oral presentations are 10 minutes in length followed by 2-3 minutes for question and answer. This time limit is strictly enforced. The number of oral presentations are limited due to space constraints. If you are not selected for an oral presentation, you will be asked to present a poster. You will be notified if you are selected for an oral presentation on the week of April 5th, 2021.

As a remote conference, we ask that all oral presentations be conducted synchronously (live) via a shared screen within a Zoom room session at your assigned time throughout the day on Saturday, April 24th, 2021. If you are accepted for an oral presentation but have any technological concerns about sharing your screen or presenting live, please e-mail ASAP to let us know so we can suggest accommodations.

REQUIRED FOR ALL ORAL PRESENTERS: You must provide a back-up copy of your slide deck by end of day Thursday, April 22nd so that we are able to troubleshoot if there are connectivity issues during your presentation session. There will be additional information in early-April with upload instructions and links.

Oral presentation tips: Since you will be appearing live on video alongside your research presentation, dress professionally, and try to present within a quiet, calm space, with an uncluttered background, and ideally with your back to a wall so that people can’t accidentally walk in and out of the screen behind you. Our online platform does not allow for virtual backgrounds, so your audience will see whatever is on your camera when you present! In general, try to keep your slide deck total to 10 slides or less. Practice your presentation, and remember to breathe and allow for space and time as you speak.

Additionally, take a look at the research presentations for the University of California’s Grad Slam – a research presentation competition for graduate students. These presentations are shorter (only 3 minutes!) but provide a lot of examples about how you can talk about complex research in a way that is accessible to lay audiences, and how you can have visually appealing slides that have little to no text and instead are image heavy.

Poster Presentation

All poster presentations will be accepted for the GEG Symposium. Poster presentations will be compiled on the online GEG Symposium platform for viewing as PDFs as well as through a pre-recorded 5 minute video file where you summarize your research poster. Conference attendees will have the option to asynchronously view, comment and/or provide feedback on your PDF poster starting at the conference going through a year after the conference ends and you will be assigned two other poster presentations to view and provide feedback and comments on.

REQUIRED FOR ALL POSTER PRESENTERS: Your 1-page poster PDF and YouTube link to your 5-minute pre-recorded poster presentation must be submitted by end of day Monday, April 19th, 2021. Full instructions about how to design your poster, create a video presentation and save it, upload it to YouTube, and provide closed-captioning on your video can be found in this GEG Poster Presentation Instructional Video. There will be additional information in early-April with upload instructions and links. Horizontal formats are required to maximize the layout of a computer screen. By agreeing to present a poster, you must also review / comment on 2 other posters at some point during the conference.

Poster design tips: For help on how to format a 1-page poster, refer to the first portion of the GEG Poster Presentation Instructional Video. There are also existing free poster templates online or check out UW poster templates. UT Austin has a useful guide for making research posters with examples here.

You will want to keep the unique constraints / context of presenting online in mind as you design your poster. Because your poster will be displayed on a computer screen, it will be particularly vital that your poster has a minimum of text, is largely image based, and that all text on your poster be easily legible without requiring the viewer to squint or zoom in. Additionally, your accompanying audio file will need to include oral clues to the viewer about what section of your poster they should be looking at, i.e. “Starting with my research background in the top left corner…” Finally, though you will not be printing your research poster for this conference, it is worth considering whether you hope to present on the same research at an in-person conference in the future. If so, it may be worth setting the dimensions of your poster to be 48 inches x 32 inches and setting the font size and format as is appropriate so that you can easily print your poster in the future.

General Tips for Both Oral & Poster Research Presentations

Oral and poster research presentations are ways to communicate one’s research in visual and/or oral ways and should be comprehensible to an educated, but non-discipline specific audience. As possible, use layman’s terms to concisely define and/or explain discipline specific terms and processes. Oral and poster presentations will include the same sections that one finds in a research paper such as the following:

  • Background / Introduction: Provide context to explain how your research fits within a bigger picture and what the larger impact of your research might be. This is not a reprint of your abstract.
  • Research Question / Purpose
  • Methods: Take time to not only name your methods, but explain the mechanisms, processes, or theoretical approaches that you employ in your study. Highlight your individual contributions to the research project.
  • Data / Results: Report on any data / results your study has generated. These findings can be preliminary or anticipated.
  • Conclusion / Implications: Again, tie your research findings back to the larger context. What are the big-picture implications or potential impacts of your research findings?
  • Acknowledgments
  • References

PLEASE NOTE: The less text there is on your oral or poster presentation slides, and the more images, graphs or other visuals you can use to demonstrate your ideas and points, the more successful your research presentation will be.