Sunday, April 26, 2009

How To Present A Paper In Conference


Many people assumed that it is difficult to present a paper. It needs a perfect preparation, as it is stated that scientific oral presentations are not simply readings of scientific manuscripts; it should be organized into sections that parallel the sections in the scientific paper. 
The article below is summarized from MIT course by J. Dicarlo and N. Kanwisher. It is further described that in the scientific paper there are key sections, which are: 

1) INTRODUCTION (why did you do it?)
2) METHODS (how did you do it?)
3) RESULTS (what did you find?)
4) DISCUSSION (what does this mean?)
5) CRITIQUE AND GROUP DISCUSSION (Your job as presenter is to not only present the paper, but also lead class discussion of its strengths, weaknesses, and broader implications. To help focus the class discussion, end your presentation with a list of approximately three major questions/issues worthy of further discussion)

• The first 1 or 2 slides should introduce your subject to the audience. 
• Give a concise background Very briefly (you only have about 20-25 minutes total). 
• State the question addressed in the paper explicitly. 
• Start with the “big picture” and then immediately drive to how your study fits in the big picture (one or two sentences.) 
• One key difference of the talk versus the paper is that you should state your major conclusion(s) up front. 

• There should be 1 or 2 methods slides that allow the audience to understand how the study was conducted. 
• You might include a flow chart describing the “recipe” of the study. 
• Do not put in details that might be appropriate in a paper (people can ask about them at the end if they are interested). 

• The next slides should show the major results. If appropriate, it is nice to start with a slide showing the basic phenomenon that might remind your audience of the variables that were manipulated and introduce your audience to the basic unit of measure. 
• Show figures that clearly illustrate the main results. 
• Do not show charts of raw data. All figures should be clearly labeled. 

4. DISCUSSION (Conclusions)
• List the conclusions in clear and easy to understand language. 
• You can read them to the audience. 
• Give one or two sentences about what this likely means (your interpretation) in the big picture and perhaps some future directions. 

• Please end your presentation with at least two or three major things that should be discussed; things that might be improved in the study, additional study that you think might be appropriate or better, and general issues about object recognition. 
• Encourage the discussion from the audience at this point and you should be prepared to foster this by raising these issues. 

Overall tips:
• Control of time. 
• Hold the interruptions and questions until the end of your presentation. 
• Recommended slides are less than the minutes allowed for the presentation (e.g. 20 slides for a 20 minute presentation). 
• Show enthusiasm for your topic. 
• You have clear slides, with large fonts and minimal clutter.
• Those slides are organized along the primary topics discussed above.
• Have in mind the key points you want to make with each slide. A very helpful tip here is to memorize your first one or two sentences. 
• Speak in short sentences, use easy to understand language, and avoid jargon!. 
• 95% of the work is done before you even show up to give the presentation:
• Practice a lot.

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