Giving a Research Talk

Doing good science is of no consequence unless you communicate your findings and their importance to others. While publishing papers helps with that, also important is to talk to other scientists at public meetings or seminars. In this ppt you find some tips on how to best present your work at such venues.

In addition to the information presented in the ppt, we would like to share a few pointers that apply specifically to the lab meetings of our group:

The purpose of these meetings is as follows:

a) Educate your audience.
b) Get some feedback on your research idea and/or findings.

You will note that b) can only happen if your audience understands your study and you satisfy point a). So point a) should be more important to you. You will also note, that your audience is very diverse. Some of us do behavioral research in humans or other animals. Some use EEG, optical imaging or fMRI. Some look at heart rate or hormones… What this means is that you should assume your audience knows nothing about your area and present an introduction to your experiment such that everyone can follow.

To this end, you should pay particular attention to the background of your study – provide a good overview of the literature. Additionally, you need to be extra careful when you introduce your DV/paradigm. What are you measuring? What does your measure reflect? What other studies have used this measure/paradigm and in what way? How are you using this measure/paradigm (are you using it in the same way as people before you or are you doing something new)?

Additionally, we would recommend that you try to keep the presentation interactive. Ask people in the audience questions that relate to what you just said and that test whether they understood you. Likewise, if you are the audience ask the presenter to clarify or explain points that you feel need clarification. This needs to be a dialogue!

Finally, when you do your presentation, please set things up and test them at least 10 minutes BEFORE the meeting so that we can start on time.