Biology Research Major Thesis Oral Presentation Outline
(Not for Biology Majors)
(25 - 30 minutes in length)
The presentation of your research project should tell a story. It should follow the basic outline of your written thesis but will be different in several ways as noted below.
Important points to think about BEFORE you give your talk:
a) how am I going to get the audience’s attention early and hold it for the duration of the talk?
b) how am I going to get them to ask questions in their heads about my work as I tell them the story (i.e. how do I help them see what I have seen and learned about during my research - visualization?)
c) how will my talk be evaluated? Read over copy of evaluation sheet
d) how many times should I practice to know what I am going to say, how the talk will stick together and how my illustrations will be used when?
Part 1 - Introduction - introduce yourself and the topic with a provocative statement or two (Imagine yourself in ..... ) or with a unique picture that you saw or took or the environment in which you worked during your research or with a big, up close, picture of the critter or plant that you worked with, etc., etc. Describe the project, some terms and definitions that you will be using in the talk; start with broad statements that almost everyone understands or has experience with; use past studies that you have learned about to help describe the context of your work; draw the audience to your specific question and hypothesis - and then describe the purpose of your study. Be visual - use large print on overheads, slides or transparencies; enlarge data so that it is easily seen. Don’t read your talk word for word, but use note cards and have it practiced enough so that these cards are used for reference purposes only - talk tot he audience - teach them what you have learned.
Part 2 - Methods - Best presented as visually as possible with pictures of equipment and you using them; with pictures of the study area and you there working; or as a flow chart of terms connected by arrows with you describing each step in the procedure. Don’t just read the methods - visually present and explain (in “adequate” detail) what you did in outline form to get the data; describe the statistics you used and how the control and experimental groups were treated differently.
Part 3 - Results and Discussion - This section is presented differently in a talk compared to a written thesis; here you present your results in table or figure form comparing control and experimental groups AND you interpret or explain the results at the same time as you present them - you give them meaning immediately - you relate the meaning to your original hypothesis and whether your results support or do not support it. Present and interpret one figure or table at a time, explaining to the audience how this relates to the original question or problem; Then lastly, summarize your findings in writing on a separate slide or overhead in large print - these are the take home lessons that you learned from your work and that you want the audience to remember; include suggestions for future work on this topic and acknowledgments for those that helped you.
Be visual - you are the guide - your audience should be looking at and learning about your research about 75% of the time or more and looking at you about 25% of the time or less! RELAX - these are your fellow biologists that you are talking to!