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Support and Guidance

Presentation Skills Training Session Videos

Presenters were invited to attend a presentation skills training session led by Bev and Peter Walshe. The sessions can be reviewed by viewing the following videos:

Non-Verbal Communication

Voice and Delivery


Working with Video

Presenting your research

Four main questions:

  1. Why?
  2. What?
  3. So what?
  4. Now what?

Day and Peters (1994), "Quality Indicators in Academic Publishing", Library Review, 43, 7

If your work originated as an essay, you will have been given the title so you can just get started with addressing the question. This is not the case when presenting your own research, so you need to start by saying why your subject is important and why you want to study it. Don’t be tempted to launch into your presentation saying what you did and what the results were, offer some context, give some background and let your audience know what your research questions were and why they are important.

You can then move on to what you did. The way you tackle this will depend on your research and your subject area but you should ensure that your presentation progresses logically and doesn’t jump around. Let your audience know how you went about your research, why you decided to conduct the interviews / experiments / analysis that you did, who / what was involved in your research, what were your results and what was your analysis of those results. Always have your audience in mind when you're preparing your presentation and ensure you are doing all you can to help them understand your research.

Next, you need to tell your audience what your results mean and what your analysis of them has shown. Explicitly, what are the answers to your research questions? What are your conclusions? What effect has this had / could it have on your discipline? You don't want you leave your audience wondering why they attended your presentation and what they have gained - asking 'so what?'.

And finally, 'Now what?' – have your discoveries opened up further questions for research, or have you produced something which is self-contained and doesn't need further study? Are you continuing with your research? Other people listening to your presentation might have been inspired to carry out their own research so let them know what further questions you think your research has raised.

You will only have a short time to present your research, whether orally or by poster, so although we recommend covering all of the aspects mentioned above you will necessarily only touch on some areas while going into more detail on others. Please remember to acknowledge the support or involvement of members of staff in your research if appropriate.

Verbal Presentations

Presentations at many conferences should be 15 minutes long with a further 5 minutes to allow for questions. You can use PowerPoint or Prezi to support your talk but do think imaginatively and creatively about how to engage your audience. Don’t be afraid of getting them involved or presenting without technological support!

There are some excellent websites offering further information on planning and delivering an effective presentation, as well as what visual aids to use, how to deal with questions and how to get your message across succinctly:

You might also want to look at the presentations carried out at the previous meetings of the British Conference of Undergraduate Research (BCUR) or the International Conference for Undergraduate Research (ICUR) and decide for yourself what the presenters did effectively and what you might want to bring into your own presentation.

Poster Presentations

Features of an effective poster design include:

  • Readable in 10 minutes max (5 minutes is better!)
  • Accessible and easily understood by a non-specialist audience
  • Informative, not overwhelming
  • Carefully chosen priorities – foreground key points
  • Minimal text
  • Clear structure (abstract / introduction / main body / conclusion)
  • Clear navigation (headings / number / colour / layout)
  • Overall cohesion (text linked to images and carefully co-ordinated colours and fonts
  • Professionally produced

Additional Advice

  • Don’t justify the text – it's harder to read
  • Consider line spacing – white space
  • Use sub-headings (headings in bold)
  • Limit blocks of text (no more than 10 sentences)
  • Use only 2 fonts for your posterUse correct citation for your discipline
  • Be aware of your colour choices - colourblindness affects 8% of males. Run it through ‘Vischeck’:


Copyright-free Images and Icons

Sources of free images:

And free icons:

You can also refer to for further guidance.