Presentation Guidelines

Your presentation should be between 12-15 minutes in length. Because the audience may not be familiar with your paper topic, please try to minimize the use of technical terms and jargon when you describe the theories/statistical techniques that you employ.  Papers should be presented, not read verbatim.  Work from an outline, script, or (PowerPoint) slides. Practice your presentation in advance, paying close attention to the time limit, as it will be strictly enforced.

One common model for organizing presentation is as follows:

  1. Introduce your paper by stating your research question(s) clearly.
  2. Indicate to the audience why providing an answer to this question is important (e.g., how does the research fill a gap in knowledge? does your research have implications for policy makers, for society at large?).
  3. Briefly describe the answers that other researchers have provided to your research question (i.e., review the literature on your research question) to contextualize the argument you will make.  If you test hypotheses in your paper, be sure that you explain your rationale for the predictions.
  4. Indicate how you went about answering your research question (e.g., library research, analyzing data others have collected, collecting your own data). Briefly note any strengths and weaknesses of your approach.
  5. If your paper involves the analysis of data, briefly describe the methods used to analyze such data.
  6. Describe your major findings. (If you do not use slides, you might prepare handouts showing your key results for anticipated audiences of 20-25 members.)
  7. Conclude by describing the contribution your paper makes to the literature and/or larger community.  You might also suggest possible directions for further research.

A faculty member or graduate student will act as a discussant in each paper session.  The discussant will briefly comment on the papers at the end of the session or raise questions for discussion. Audience members will also have a few minutes to pose questions to the presenters.