Presentation Guidelines

Oral Presentations

Presentation time is limited to 15 minutes plus 3 minutes for questions and answers. In general, aim for a maximum of 15 to 20 slides (though it all depends on how much time is spent on each slide). REHEARSE!! Your presentation will be stopped when time has expired.

Below is a suggested outline for your PowerPoint presentation:

I. Title Slide

  • Title of Presentation
  • Name
  • Department/Training Program
  • Site Research was Performed (examples include KUMC, KC VAMC, LV VAMC)
  • Date of presentation

II. Introduction/Purpose (why research was done and its importance/significance)

  • Describe previous research in your topic area
  • State the gaps in existing knowledge about this area
  • Give the rationale for doing your project
  • Concisely state the specific aim(s) of your research

III. Materials and Methods (how was research designed and completed)

  • Describe materials and methods used to perform your research
  • State the statistical method(s) used to test for significance in the data (if applicable)

IV. Results

  • Describe the outcome(s).
  • Include tables and figures as appropriate (NOTE: Text should be READABLE!).

V. Discussion/Conclusion(s)

  • State what the results show and mean, and compare them with the specific aim(s) mentioned in the introduction.
  • Interpret results relative to:
    • Similar or conflicting results published by others; and
    • How they incorporate or add to existing knowledge in this specific area of research.

VI. Acknowledgements (optional) - Include names of those you wish to thank for their help.

Poster Presentations

  1. To be eligible for an award, you MUST be present at your poster and prepared to describe your research during the entire poster session.
  2. Posters must be no larger than 4 feet x 6 feet, oriented landscape style.


  1. Posters should include the following sections:
    • Purpose/Introduction: Include the rationale for the study, research question and objectives of the study.
    • Methods/Materials: Include a brief description of research design, techniques, models of inquiry and sources of data.
    • Results: Summarize quantitative/qualitative data or outcomes, including any statistically significant results.
    • Conclusions: Include a brief interpretation of the results and implications for your field of study.

Effective Scientific Posters Quick Reference
(© 2010 George Hess / NC State University:

  • Get your message across with effective visual displays of data and small blocks of supporting text. Think of your poster as an illustrated abstract.
  • Tell readers why your work matters, what you did, what you found, and what you recommend. Avoid excessive focus on methods – it’s the results and implications that count!
  • Overall appearance: Use a pleasing arrangement of graphics, text, colors. Your poster should be neat and uncluttered – use white space to help organize sections. Balance the placement of text and figures.
  • Organization: Use headings to help readers find what they’re looking for: purpose/intro, methods, results, conclusions, etc. A columnar format helps traffic flow in a crowded poster session.
  • Minimize text – use graphics. Keep text in blocks of no more than 50-75 words – don’t create large, monolithic paragraphs of prose.
  • Text size: All text should be large enough to read from 1-2 meters, including the text in figures. Title should be larger, to attract attention from far away.
  • Use color cautiously. Dark letters on light background are easiest to read. Stick to a theme of 2-3 colors. Avoid overly bright colors – they attract attention but wear out reader’s eyes.
  • Clean graphs show data clearly! Eliminate “chart junk” such as grid lines, detailed ticks on axes, data markers, and grey backgrounds to keep the focus on the data. Label data directly, when possible. Legends force the reader to look back and forth to decode the graph.
  • Don’t fight reader gravity, which pulls the eyes from top to bottom (first), and left to right.
  • Include full contact information. You want to be found – the reader should not have to look up anything to find you.
  • Prepare a 3-5 minute verbal explanation. Judges will ask you to “walk me through your poster.” In making such a presentation, don't read the poster. Instead, give the big picture, explain why the problem is important, and use the graphics on your poster to illustrate and support your findings and recommendations.
  • Prepare a summary handout. You want people to remember your work – a handout provides a written record for readers. You can include a miniature version of your poster plus more detailed graphics, tables, and prose. The handout is something else you can refer to when talking to people about your work. Be sure to include complete contact information.

Last modified: Apr 18, 2018