presentation of academic work

Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research

How to Make a Successful Research Presentation

Turning a research paper into a visual presentation is difficult; there are pitfalls, and navigating the path to a brief, informative presentation takes time and practice. As a TA for  GEO/WRI 201: Methods in Data Analysis & Scientific Writing this past fall, I saw how this process works from an instructor’s standpoint. I’ve presented my own research before, but helping others present theirs taught me a bit more about the process. Here are some tips I learned that may help you with your next research presentation:

More is more

In general, your presentation will always benefit from more practice, more feedback, and more revision. By practicing in front of friends, you can get comfortable with presenting your work while receiving feedback. It is hard to know how to revise your presentation if you never practice. If you are presenting to a general audience, getting feedback from someone outside of your discipline is crucial. Terms and ideas that seem intuitive to you may be completely foreign to someone else, and your well-crafted presentation could fall flat.

Less is more

Limit the scope of your presentation, the number of slides, and the text on each slide. In my experience, text works well for organizing slides, orienting the audience to key terms, and annotating important figures–not for explaining complex ideas. Having fewer slides is usually better as well. In general, about one slide per minute of presentation is an appropriate budget. Too many slides is usually a sign that your topic is too broad.

presentation of academic work

Limit the scope of your presentation

Don’t present your paper. Presentations are usually around 10 min long. You will not have time to explain all of the research you did in a semester (or a year!) in such a short span of time. Instead, focus on the highlight(s). Identify a single compelling research question which your work addressed, and craft a succinct but complete narrative around it.

You will not have time to explain all of the research you did. Instead, focus on the highlights. Identify a single compelling research question which your work addressed, and craft a succinct but complete narrative around it.

Craft a compelling research narrative

After identifying the focused research question, walk your audience through your research as if it were a story. Presentations with strong narrative arcs are clear, captivating, and compelling.

  • Introduction (exposition — rising action)

Orient the audience and draw them in by demonstrating the relevance and importance of your research story with strong global motive. Provide them with the necessary vocabulary and background knowledge to understand the plot of your story. Introduce the key studies (characters) relevant in your story and build tension and conflict with scholarly and data motive. By the end of your introduction, your audience should clearly understand your research question and be dying to know how you resolve the tension built through motive.

presentation of academic work

  • Methods (rising action)

The methods section should transition smoothly and logically from the introduction. Beware of presenting your methods in a boring, arc-killing, ‘this is what I did.’ Focus on the details that set your story apart from the stories other people have already told. Keep the audience interested by clearly motivating your decisions based on your original research question or the tension built in your introduction.

  • Results (climax)

Less is usually more here. Only present results which are clearly related to the focused research question you are presenting. Make sure you explain the results clearly so that your audience understands what your research found. This is the peak of tension in your narrative arc, so don’t undercut it by quickly clicking through to your discussion.

  • Discussion (falling action)

By now your audience should be dying for a satisfying resolution. Here is where you contextualize your results and begin resolving the tension between past research. Be thorough. If you have too many conflicts left unresolved, or you don’t have enough time to present all of the resolutions, you probably need to further narrow the scope of your presentation.

  • Conclusion (denouement)

Return back to your initial research question and motive, resolving any final conflicts and tying up loose ends. Leave the audience with a clear resolution of your focus research question, and use unresolved tension to set up potential sequels (i.e. further research).

Use your medium to enhance the narrative

Visual presentations should be dominated by clear, intentional graphics. Subtle animation in key moments (usually during the results or discussion) can add drama to the narrative arc and make conflict resolutions more satisfying. You are narrating a story written in images, videos, cartoons, and graphs. While your paper is mostly text, with graphics to highlight crucial points, your slides should be the opposite. Adapting to the new medium may require you to create or acquire far more graphics than you included in your paper, but it is necessary to create an engaging presentation.

The most important thing you can do for your presentation is to practice and revise. Bother your friends, your roommates, TAs–anybody who will sit down and listen to your work. Beyond that, think about presentations you have found compelling and try to incorporate some of those elements into your own. Remember you want your work to be comprehensible; you aren’t creating experts in 10 minutes. Above all, try to stay passionate about what you did and why. You put the time in, so show your audience that it’s worth it.

For more insight into research presentations, check out these past PCUR posts written by Emma and Ellie .

— Alec Getraer, Natural Sciences Correspondent

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How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation of Your Research Paper

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Table of Contents

A research paper presentation is often used at conferences and in other settings where you have an opportunity to share your research, and get feedback from your colleagues. Although it may seem as simple as summarizing your research and sharing your knowledge, successful research paper PowerPoint presentation examples show us that there’s a little bit more than that involved.

In this article, we’ll highlight how to make a PowerPoint presentation from a research paper, and what to include (as well as what NOT to include). We’ll also touch on how to present a research paper at a conference.

Purpose of a Research Paper Presentation

The purpose of presenting your paper at a conference or forum is different from the purpose of conducting your research and writing up your paper. In this setting, you want to highlight your work instead of including every detail of your research. Likewise, a presentation is an excellent opportunity to get direct feedback from your colleagues in the field. But, perhaps the main reason for presenting your research is to spark interest in your work, and entice the audience to read your research paper.

So, yes, your presentation should summarize your work, but it needs to do so in a way that encourages your audience to seek out your work, and share their interest in your work with others. It’s not enough just to present your research dryly, to get information out there. More important is to encourage engagement with you, your research, and your work.

Tips for Creating Your Research Paper Presentation

In addition to basic PowerPoint presentation recommendations, which we’ll cover later in this article, think about the following when you’re putting together your research paper presentation:

  • Know your audience : First and foremost, who are you presenting to? Students? Experts in your field? Potential funders? Non-experts? The truth is that your audience will probably have a bit of a mix of all of the above. So, make sure you keep that in mind as you prepare your presentation.

Know more about: Discover the Target Audience .

  • Your audience is human : In other words, they may be tired, they might be wondering why they’re there, and they will, at some point, be tuning out. So, take steps to help them stay interested in your presentation. You can do that by utilizing effective visuals, summarize your conclusions early, and keep your research easy to understand.
  • Running outline : It’s not IF your audience will drift off, or get lost…it’s WHEN. Keep a running outline, either within the presentation or via a handout. Use visual and verbal clues to highlight where you are in the presentation.
  • Where does your research fit in? You should know of work related to your research, but you don’t have to cite every example. In addition, keep references in your presentation to the end, or in the handout. Your audience is there to hear about your work.
  • Plan B : Anticipate possible questions for your presentation, and prepare slides that answer those specific questions in more detail, but have them at the END of your presentation. You can then jump to them, IF needed.

What Makes a PowerPoint Presentation Effective?

You’ve probably attended a presentation where the presenter reads off of their PowerPoint outline, word for word. Or where the presentation is busy, disorganized, or includes too much information. Here are some simple tips for creating an effective PowerPoint Presentation.

  • Less is more: You want to give enough information to make your audience want to read your paper. So include details, but not too many, and avoid too many formulas and technical jargon.
  • Clean and professional : Avoid excessive colors, distracting backgrounds, font changes, animations, and too many words. Instead of whole paragraphs, bullet points with just a few words to summarize and highlight are best.
  • Know your real-estate : Each slide has a limited amount of space. Use it wisely. Typically one, no more than two points per slide. Balance each slide visually. Utilize illustrations when needed; not extraneously.
  • Keep things visual : Remember, a PowerPoint presentation is a powerful tool to present things visually. Use visual graphs over tables and scientific illustrations over long text. Keep your visuals clean and professional, just like any text you include in your presentation.

Know more about our Scientific Illustrations Services .

Another key to an effective presentation is to practice, practice, and then practice some more. When you’re done with your PowerPoint, go through it with friends and colleagues to see if you need to add (or delete excessive) information. Double and triple check for typos and errors. Know the presentation inside and out, so when you’re in front of your audience, you’ll feel confident and comfortable.

How to Present a Research Paper

If your PowerPoint presentation is solid, and you’ve practiced your presentation, that’s half the battle. Follow the basic advice to keep your audience engaged and interested by making eye contact, encouraging questions, and presenting your information with enthusiasm.

We encourage you to read our articles on how to present a scientific journal article and tips on giving good scientific presentations .

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How to make a scientific presentation

How to make a scientific presentation

Scientific presentation outlines

Questions to ask yourself before you write your talk, 1. how much time do you have, 2. who will you speak to, 3. what do you want the audience to learn from your talk, step 1: outline your presentation, step 2: plan your presentation slides, step 3: make the presentation slides, slide design, text elements, animations and transitions, step 4: practice your presentation, final thoughts, frequently asked questions about preparing scientific presentations, related articles.

A good scientific presentation achieves three things: you communicate the science clearly, your research leaves a lasting impression on your audience, and you enhance your reputation as a scientist.

But, what is the best way to prepare for a scientific presentation? How do you start writing a talk? What details do you include, and what do you leave out?

It’s tempting to launch into making lots of slides. But, starting with the slides can mean you neglect the narrative of your presentation, resulting in an overly detailed, boring talk.

The key to making an engaging scientific presentation is to prepare the narrative of your talk before beginning to construct your presentation slides. Planning your talk will ensure that you tell a clear, compelling scientific story that will engage the audience.

In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to make a good oral scientific presentation, including:

  • The different types of oral scientific presentations and how they are delivered;
  • How to outline a scientific presentation;
  • How to make slides for a scientific presentation.

Our advice results from delving into the literature on writing scientific talks and from our own experiences as scientists in giving and listening to presentations. We provide tips and best practices for giving scientific talks in a separate post.

There are two main types of scientific talks:

  • Your talk focuses on a single study . Typically, you tell the story of a single scientific paper. This format is common for short talks at contributed sessions in conferences.
  • Your talk describes multiple studies. You tell the story of multiple scientific papers. It is crucial to have a theme that unites the studies, for example, an overarching question or problem statement, with each study representing specific but different variations of the same theme. Typically, PhD defenses, invited seminars, lectures, or talks for a prospective employer (i.e., “job talks”) fall into this category.

➡️ Learn how to prepare an excellent thesis defense

The length of time you are allotted for your talk will determine whether you will discuss a single study or multiple studies, and which details to include in your story.

The background and interests of your audience will determine the narrative direction of your talk, and what devices you will use to get their attention. Will you be speaking to people specializing in your field, or will the audience also contain people from disciplines other than your own? To reach non-specialists, you will need to discuss the broader implications of your study outside your field.

The needs of the audience will also determine what technical details you will include, and the language you will use. For example, an undergraduate audience will have different needs than an audience of seasoned academics. Students will require a more comprehensive overview of background information and explanations of jargon but will need less technical methodological details.

Your goal is to speak to the majority. But, make your talk accessible to the least knowledgeable person in the room.

This is called the thesis statement, or simply the “take-home message”. Having listened to your talk, what message do you want the audience to take away from your presentation? Describe the main idea in one or two sentences. You want this theme to be present throughout your presentation. Again, the thesis statement will depend on the audience and the type of talk you are giving.

Your thesis statement will drive the narrative for your talk. By deciding the take-home message you want to convince the audience of as a result of listening to your talk, you decide how the story of your talk will flow and how you will navigate its twists and turns. The thesis statement tells you the results you need to show, which subsequently tells you the methods or studies you need to describe, which decides the angle you take in your introduction.

➡️ Learn how to write a thesis statement

The goal of your talk is that the audience leaves afterward with a clear understanding of the key take-away message of your research. To achieve that goal, you need to tell a coherent, logical story that conveys your thesis statement throughout the presentation. You can tell your story through careful preparation of your talk.

Preparation of a scientific presentation involves three separate stages: outlining the scientific narrative, preparing slides, and practicing your delivery. Making the slides of your talk without first planning what you are going to say is inefficient.

Here, we provide a 4 step guide to writing your scientific presentation:

  • Outline your presentation
  • Plan your presentation slides
  • Make the presentation slides
  • Practice your presentation

4 steps for making a scientific presentation.

Writing an outline helps you consider the key pieces of your talk and how they fit together from the beginning, preventing you from forgetting any important details. It also means you avoid changing the order of your slides multiple times, saving you time.

Plan your talk as discrete sections. In the table below, we describe the sections for a single study talk vs. a talk discussing multiple studies:

The following tips apply when writing the outline of a single study talk. You can easily adapt this framework if you are writing a talk discussing multiple studies.

Introduction: Writing the introduction can be the hardest part of writing a talk. And when giving it, it’s the point where you might be at your most nervous. But preparing a good, concise introduction will settle your nerves.

The introduction tells the audience the story of why you studied your topic. A good introduction succinctly achieves four things, in the following order.

  • It gives a broad perspective on the problem or topic for people in the audience who may be outside your discipline (i.e., it explains the big-picture problem motivating your study).
  • It describes why you did the study, and why the audience should care.
  • It gives a brief indication of how your study addressed the problem and provides the necessary background information that the audience needs to understand your work.
  • It indicates what the audience will learn from the talk, and prepares them for what will come next.

A good introduction not only gives the big picture and motivations behind your study but also concisely sets the stage for what the audience will learn from the talk (e.g., the questions your work answers, and/or the hypotheses that your work tests). The end of the introduction will lead to a natural transition to the methods.

Give a broad perspective on the problem. The easiest way to start with the big picture is to think of a hook for the first slide of your presentation. A hook is an opening that gets the audience’s attention and gets them interested in your story. In science, this might take the form of a why, or a how question, or it could be a statement about a major problem or open question in your field. Other examples of hooks include quotes, short anecdotes, or interesting statistics.

Why should the audience care? Next, decide on the angle you are going to take on your hook that links to the thesis of your talk. In other words, you need to set the context, i.e., explain why the audience should care. For example, you may introduce an observation from nature, a pattern in experimental data, or a theory that you want to test. The audience must understand your motivations for the study.

Supplementary details. Once you have established the hook and angle, you need to include supplementary details to support them. For example, you might state your hypothesis. Then go into previous work and the current state of knowledge. Include citations of these studies. If you need to introduce some technical methodological details, theory, or jargon, do it here.

Conclude your introduction. The motivation for the work and background information should set the stage for the conclusion of the introduction, where you describe the goals of your study, and any hypotheses or predictions. Let the audience know what they are going to learn.

Methods: The audience will use your description of the methods to assess the approach you took in your study and to decide whether your findings are credible. Tell the story of your methods in chronological order. Use visuals to describe your methods as much as possible. If you have equations, make sure to take the time to explain them. Decide what methods to include and how you will show them. You need enough detail so that your audience will understand what you did and therefore can evaluate your approach, but avoid including superfluous details that do not support your main idea. You want to avoid the common mistake of including too much data, as the audience can read the paper(s) later.

Results: This is the evidence you present for your thesis. The audience will use the results to evaluate the support for your main idea. Choose the most important and interesting results—those that support your thesis. You don’t need to present all the results from your study (indeed, you most likely won’t have time to present them all). Break down complex results into digestible pieces, e.g., comparisons over multiple slides (more tips in the next section).

Summary: Summarize your main findings. Displaying your main findings through visuals can be effective. Emphasize the new contributions to scientific knowledge that your work makes.

Conclusion: Complete the circle by relating your conclusions to the big picture topic in your introduction—and your hook, if possible. It’s important to describe any alternative explanations for your findings. You might also speculate on future directions arising from your research. The slides that comprise your conclusion do not need to state “conclusion”. Rather, the concluding slide title should be a declarative sentence linking back to the big picture problem and your main idea.

It’s important to end well by planning a strong closure to your talk, after which you will thank the audience. Your closing statement should relate to your thesis, perhaps by stating it differently or memorably. Avoid ending awkwardly by memorizing your closing sentence.

By now, you have an outline of the story of your talk, which you can use to plan your slides. Your slides should complement and enhance what you will say. Use the following steps to prepare your slides.

  • Write the slide titles to match your talk outline. These should be clear and informative declarative sentences that succinctly give the main idea of the slide (e.g., don’t use “Methods” as a slide title). Have one major idea per slide. In a YouTube talk on designing effective slides , researcher Michael Alley shows examples of instructive slide titles.
  • Decide how you will convey the main idea of the slide (e.g., what figures, photographs, equations, statistics, references, or other elements you will need). The body of the slide should support the slide’s main idea.
  • Under each slide title, outline what you want to say, in bullet points.

In sum, for each slide, prepare a title that summarizes its major idea, a list of visual elements, and a summary of the points you will make. Ensure each slide connects to your thesis. If it doesn’t, then you don’t need the slide.

Slides for scientific presentations have three major components: text (including labels and legends), graphics, and equations. Here, we give tips on how to present each of these components.

  • Have an informative title slide. Include the names of all coauthors and their affiliations. Include an attractive image relating to your study.
  • Make the foreground content of your slides “pop” by using an appropriate background. Slides that have white backgrounds with black text work well for small rooms, whereas slides with black backgrounds and white text are suitable for large rooms.
  • The layout of your slides should be simple. Pay attention to how and where you lay the visual and text elements on each slide. It’s tempting to cram information, but you need lots of empty space. Retain space at the sides and bottom of your slides.
  • Use sans serif fonts with a font size of at least 20 for text, and up to 40 for slide titles. Citations can be in 14 font and should be included at the bottom of the slide.
  • Use bold or italics to emphasize words, not underlines or caps. Keep these effects to a minimum.
  • Use concise text . You don’t need full sentences. Convey the essence of your message in as few words as possible. Write down what you’d like to say, and then shorten it for the slide. Remove unnecessary filler words.
  • Text blocks should be limited to two lines. This will prevent you from crowding too much information on the slide.
  • Include names of technical terms in your talk slides, especially if they are not familiar to everyone in the audience.
  • Proofread your slides. Typos and grammatical errors are distracting for your audience.
  • Include citations for the hypotheses or observations of other scientists.
  • Good figures and graphics are essential to sustain audience interest. Use graphics and photographs to show the experiment or study system in action and to explain abstract concepts.
  • Don’t use figures straight from your paper as they may be too detailed for your talk, and details like axes may be too small. Make new versions if necessary. Make them large enough to be visible from the back of the room.
  • Use graphs to show your results, not tables. Tables are difficult for your audience to digest! If you must present a table, keep it simple.
  • Label the axes of graphs and indicate the units. Label important components of graphics and photographs and include captions. Include sources for graphics that are not your own.
  • Explain all the elements of a graph. This includes the axes, what the colors and markers mean, and patterns in the data.
  • Use colors in figures and text in a meaningful, not random, way. For example, contrasting colors can be effective for pointing out comparisons and/or differences. Don’t use neon colors or pastels.
  • Use thick lines in figures, and use color to create contrasts in the figures you present. Don’t use red/green or red/blue combinations, as color-blind audience members can’t distinguish between them.
  • Arrows or circles can be effective for drawing attention to key details in graphs and equations. Add some text annotations along with them.
  • Write your summary and conclusion slides using graphics, rather than showing a slide with a list of bullet points. Showing some of your results again can be helpful to remind the audience of your message.
  • If your talk has equations, take time to explain them. Include text boxes to explain variables and mathematical terms, and put them under each term in the equation.
  • Combine equations with a graphic that shows the scientific principle, or include a diagram of the mathematical model.
  • Use animations judiciously. They are helpful to reveal complex ideas gradually, for example, if you need to make a comparison or contrast or to build a complicated argument or figure. For lists, reveal one bullet point at a time. New ideas appearing sequentially will help your audience follow your logic.
  • Slide transitions should be simple. Silly ones distract from your message.
  • Decide how you will make the transition as you move from one section of your talk to the next. For example, if you spend time talking through details, provide a summary afterward, especially in a long talk. Another common tactic is to have a “home slide” that you return to multiple times during the talk that reinforces your main idea or message. In her YouTube talk on designing effective scientific presentations , Stanford biologist Susan McConnell suggests using the approach of home slides to build a cohesive narrative.

To deliver a polished presentation, it is essential to practice it. Here are some tips.

  • For your first run-through, practice alone. Pay attention to your narrative. Does your story flow naturally? Do you know how you will start and end? Are there any awkward transitions? Do animations help you tell your story? Do your slides help to convey what you are saying or are they missing components?
  • Next, practice in front of your advisor, and/or your peers (e.g., your lab group). Ask someone to time your talk. Take note of their feedback and the questions that they ask you (you might be asked similar questions during your real talk).
  • Edit your talk, taking into account the feedback you’ve received. Eliminate superfluous slides that don’t contribute to your takeaway message.
  • Practice as many times as needed to memorize the order of your slides and the key transition points of your talk. However, don’t try to learn your talk word for word. Instead, memorize opening and closing statements, and sentences at key junctures in the presentation. Your presentation should resemble a serious but spontaneous conversation with the audience.
  • Practicing multiple times also helps you hone the delivery of your talk. While rehearsing, pay attention to your vocal intonations and speed. Make sure to take pauses while you speak, and make eye contact with your imaginary audience.
  • Make sure your talk finishes within the allotted time, and remember to leave time for questions. Conferences are particularly strict on run time.
  • Anticipate questions and challenges from the audience, and clarify ambiguities within your slides and/or speech in response.
  • If you anticipate that you could be asked questions about details but you don’t have time to include them, or they detract from the main message of your talk, you can prepare slides that address these questions and place them after the final slide of your talk.

➡️ More tips for giving scientific presentations

An organized presentation with a clear narrative will help you communicate your ideas effectively, which is essential for engaging your audience and conveying the importance of your work. Taking time to plan and outline your scientific presentation before writing the slides will help you manage your nerves and feel more confident during the presentation, which will improve your overall performance.

A good scientific presentation has an engaging scientific narrative with a memorable take-home message. It has clear, informative slides that enhance what the speaker says. You need to practice your talk many times to ensure you deliver a polished presentation.

First, consider who will attend your presentation, and what you want the audience to learn about your research. Tailor your content to their level of knowledge and interests. Second, create an outline for your presentation, including the key points you want to make and the evidence you will use to support those points. Finally, practice your presentation several times to ensure that it flows smoothly and that you are comfortable with the material.

Prepare an opening that immediately gets the audience’s attention. A common device is a why or a how question, or a statement of a major open problem in your field, but you could also start with a quote, interesting statistic, or case study from your field.

Scientific presentations typically either focus on a single study (e.g., a 15-minute conference presentation) or tell the story of multiple studies (e.g., a PhD defense or 50-minute conference keynote talk). For a single study talk, the structure follows the scientific paper format: Introduction, Methods, Results, Summary, and Conclusion, whereas the format of a talk discussing multiple studies is more complex, but a theme unifies the studies.

Ensure you have one major idea per slide, and convey that idea clearly (through images, equations, statistics, citations, video, etc.). The slide should include a title that summarizes the major point of the slide, should not contain too much text or too many graphics, and color should be used meaningfully.

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Open Access

Ten simple rules for effective presentation slides

* E-mail: [email protected]

Affiliation Biomedical Engineering and the Center for Public Health Genomics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, United States of America

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  • Kristen M. Naegle


Published: December 2, 2021

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Citation: Naegle KM (2021) Ten simple rules for effective presentation slides. PLoS Comput Biol 17(12): e1009554.

Copyright: © 2021 Kristen M. Naegle. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funding: The author received no specific funding for this work.

Competing interests: The author has declared no competing interests exist.


The “presentation slide” is the building block of all academic presentations, whether they are journal clubs, thesis committee meetings, short conference talks, or hour-long seminars. A slide is a single page projected on a screen, usually built on the premise of a title, body, and figures or tables and includes both what is shown and what is spoken about that slide. Multiple slides are strung together to tell the larger story of the presentation. While there have been excellent 10 simple rules on giving entire presentations [ 1 , 2 ], there was an absence in the fine details of how to design a slide for optimal effect—such as the design elements that allow slides to convey meaningful information, to keep the audience engaged and informed, and to deliver the information intended and in the time frame allowed. As all research presentations seek to teach, effective slide design borrows from the same principles as effective teaching, including the consideration of cognitive processing your audience is relying on to organize, process, and retain information. This is written for anyone who needs to prepare slides from any length scale and for most purposes of conveying research to broad audiences. The rules are broken into 3 primary areas. Rules 1 to 5 are about optimizing the scope of each slide. Rules 6 to 8 are about principles around designing elements of the slide. Rules 9 to 10 are about preparing for your presentation, with the slides as the central focus of that preparation.

Rule 1: Include only one idea per slide

Each slide should have one central objective to deliver—the main idea or question [ 3 – 5 ]. Often, this means breaking complex ideas down into manageable pieces (see Fig 1 , where “background” information has been split into 2 key concepts). In another example, if you are presenting a complex computational approach in a large flow diagram, introduce it in smaller units, building it up until you finish with the entire diagram. The progressive buildup of complex information means that audiences are prepared to understand the whole picture, once you have dedicated time to each of the parts. You can accomplish the buildup of components in several ways—for example, using presentation software to cover/uncover information. Personally, I choose to create separate slides for each piece of information content I introduce—where the final slide has the entire diagram, and I use cropping or a cover on duplicated slides that come before to hide what I’m not yet ready to include. I use this method in order to ensure that each slide in my deck truly presents one specific idea (the new content) and the amount of the new information on that slide can be described in 1 minute (Rule 2), but it comes with the trade-off—a change to the format of one of the slides in the series often means changes to all slides.


  • PPT PowerPoint slide
  • PNG larger image
  • TIFF original image

Top left: A background slide that describes the background material on a project from my lab. The slide was created using a PowerPoint Design Template, which had to be modified to increase default text sizes for this figure (i.e., the default text sizes are even worse than shown here). Bottom row: The 2 new slides that break up the content into 2 explicit ideas about the background, using a central graphic. In the first slide, the graphic is an explicit example of the SH2 domain of PI3-kinase interacting with a phosphorylation site (Y754) on the PDGFR to describe the important details of what an SH2 domain and phosphotyrosine ligand are and how they interact. I use that same graphic in the second slide to generalize all binding events and include redundant text to drive home the central message (a lot of possible interactions might occur in the human proteome, more than we can currently measure). Top right highlights which rules were used to move from the original slide to the new slide. Specific changes as highlighted by Rule 7 include increasing contrast by changing the background color, increasing font size, changing to sans serif fonts, and removing all capital text and underlining (using bold to draw attention). PDGFR, platelet-derived growth factor receptor.

Rule 2: Spend only 1 minute per slide

When you present your slide in the talk, it should take 1 minute or less to discuss. This rule is really helpful for planning purposes—a 20-minute presentation should have somewhere around 20 slides. Also, frequently giving your audience new information to feast on helps keep them engaged. During practice, if you find yourself spending more than a minute on a slide, there’s too much for that one slide—it’s time to break up the content into multiple slides or even remove information that is not wholly central to the story you are trying to tell. Reduce, reduce, reduce, until you get to a single message, clearly described, which takes less than 1 minute to present.

Rule 3: Make use of your heading

When each slide conveys only one message, use the heading of that slide to write exactly the message you are trying to deliver. Instead of titling the slide “Results,” try “CTNND1 is central to metastasis” or “False-positive rates are highly sample specific.” Use this landmark signpost to ensure that all the content on that slide is related exactly to the heading and only the heading. Think of the slide heading as the introductory or concluding sentence of a paragraph and the slide content the rest of the paragraph that supports the main point of the paragraph. An audience member should be able to follow along with you in the “paragraph” and come to the same conclusion sentence as your header at the end of the slide.

Rule 4: Include only essential points

While you are speaking, audience members’ eyes and minds will be wandering over your slide. If you have a comment, detail, or figure on a slide, have a plan to explicitly identify and talk about it. If you don’t think it’s important enough to spend time on, then don’t have it on your slide. This is especially important when faculty are present. I often tell students that thesis committee members are like cats: If you put a shiny bauble in front of them, they’ll go after it. Be sure to only put the shiny baubles on slides that you want them to focus on. Putting together a thesis meeting for only faculty is really an exercise in herding cats (if you have cats, you know this is no easy feat). Clear and concise slide design will go a long way in helping you corral those easily distracted faculty members.

Rule 5: Give credit, where credit is due

An exception to Rule 4 is to include proper citations or references to work on your slide. When adding citations, names of other researchers, or other types of credit, use a consistent style and method for adding this information to your slides. Your audience will then be able to easily partition this information from the other content. A common mistake people make is to think “I’ll add that reference later,” but I highly recommend you put the proper reference on the slide at the time you make it, before you forget where it came from. Finally, in certain kinds of presentations, credits can make it clear who did the work. For the faculty members heading labs, it is an effective way to connect your audience with the personnel in the lab who did the work, which is a great career booster for that person. For graduate students, it is an effective way to delineate your contribution to the work, especially in meetings where the goal is to establish your credentials for meeting the rigors of a PhD checkpoint.

Rule 6: Use graphics effectively

As a rule, you should almost never have slides that only contain text. Build your slides around good visualizations. It is a visual presentation after all, and as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. However, on the flip side, don’t muddy the point of the slide by putting too many complex graphics on a single slide. A multipanel figure that you might include in a manuscript should often be broken into 1 panel per slide (see Rule 1 ). One way to ensure that you use the graphics effectively is to make a point to introduce the figure and its elements to the audience verbally, especially for data figures. For example, you might say the following: “This graph here shows the measured false-positive rate for an experiment and each point is a replicate of the experiment, the graph demonstrates …” If you have put too much on one slide to present in 1 minute (see Rule 2 ), then the complexity or number of the visualizations is too much for just one slide.

Rule 7: Design to avoid cognitive overload

The type of slide elements, the number of them, and how you present them all impact the ability for the audience to intake, organize, and remember the content. For example, a frequent mistake in slide design is to include full sentences, but reading and verbal processing use the same cognitive channels—therefore, an audience member can either read the slide, listen to you, or do some part of both (each poorly), as a result of cognitive overload [ 4 ]. The visual channel is separate, allowing images/videos to be processed with auditory information without cognitive overload [ 6 ] (Rule 6). As presentations are an exercise in listening, and not reading, do what you can to optimize the ability of the audience to listen. Use words sparingly as “guide posts” to you and the audience about major points of the slide. In fact, you can add short text fragments, redundant with the verbal component of the presentation, which has been shown to improve retention [ 7 ] (see Fig 1 for an example of redundant text that avoids cognitive overload). Be careful in the selection of a slide template to minimize accidentally adding elements that the audience must process, but are unimportant. David JP Phillips argues (and effectively demonstrates in his TEDx talk [ 5 ]) that the human brain can easily interpret 6 elements and more than that requires a 500% increase in human cognition load—so keep the total number of elements on the slide to 6 or less. Finally, in addition to the use of short text, white space, and the effective use of graphics/images, you can improve ease of cognitive processing further by considering color choices and font type and size. Here are a few suggestions for improving the experience for your audience, highlighting the importance of these elements for some specific groups:

  • Use high contrast colors and simple backgrounds with low to no color—for persons with dyslexia or visual impairment.
  • Use sans serif fonts and large font sizes (including figure legends), avoid italics, underlining (use bold font instead for emphasis), and all capital letters—for persons with dyslexia or visual impairment [ 8 ].
  • Use color combinations and palettes that can be understood by those with different forms of color blindness [ 9 ]. There are excellent tools available to identify colors to use and ways to simulate your presentation or figures as they might be seen by a person with color blindness (easily found by a web search).
  • In this increasing world of virtual presentation tools, consider practicing your talk with a closed captioning system capture your words. Use this to identify how to improve your speaking pace, volume, and annunciation to improve understanding by all members of your audience, but especially those with a hearing impairment.

Rule 8: Design the slide so that a distracted person gets the main takeaway

It is very difficult to stay focused on a presentation, especially if it is long or if it is part of a longer series of talks at a conference. Audience members may get distracted by an important email, or they may start dreaming of lunch. So, it’s important to look at your slide and ask “If they heard nothing I said, will they understand the key concept of this slide?” The other rules are set up to help with this, including clarity of the single point of the slide (Rule 1), titling it with a major conclusion (Rule 3), and the use of figures (Rule 6) and short text redundant to your verbal description (Rule 7). However, with each slide, step back and ask whether its main conclusion is conveyed, even if someone didn’t hear your accompanying dialog. Importantly, ask if the information on the slide is at the right level of abstraction. For example, do you have too many details about the experiment, which hides the conclusion of the experiment (i.e., breaking Rule 1)? If you are worried about not having enough details, keep a slide at the end of your slide deck (after your conclusions and acknowledgments) with the more detailed information that you can refer to during a question and answer period.

Rule 9: Iteratively improve slide design through practice

Well-designed slides that follow the first 8 rules are intended to help you deliver the message you intend and in the amount of time you intend to deliver it in. The best way to ensure that you nailed slide design for your presentation is to practice, typically a lot. The most important aspects of practicing a new presentation, with an eye toward slide design, are the following 2 key points: (1) practice to ensure that you hit, each time through, the most important points (for example, the text guide posts you left yourself and the title of the slide); and (2) practice to ensure that as you conclude the end of one slide, it leads directly to the next slide. Slide transitions, what you say as you end one slide and begin the next, are important to keeping the flow of the “story.” Practice is when I discover that the order of my presentation is poor or that I left myself too few guideposts to remember what was coming next. Additionally, during practice, the most frequent things I have to improve relate to Rule 2 (the slide takes too long to present, usually because I broke Rule 1, and I’m delivering too much information for one slide), Rule 4 (I have a nonessential detail on the slide), and Rule 5 (I forgot to give a key reference). The very best type of practice is in front of an audience (for example, your lab or peers), where, with fresh perspectives, they can help you identify places for improving slide content, design, and connections across the entirety of your talk.

Rule 10: Design to mitigate the impact of technical disasters

The real presentation almost never goes as we planned in our heads or during our practice. Maybe the speaker before you went over time and now you need to adjust. Maybe the computer the organizer is having you use won’t show your video. Maybe your internet is poor on the day you are giving a virtual presentation at a conference. Technical problems are routinely part of the practice of sharing your work through presentations. Hence, you can design your slides to limit the impact certain kinds of technical disasters create and also prepare alternate approaches. Here are just a few examples of the preparation you can do that will take you a long way toward avoiding a complete fiasco:

  • Save your presentation as a PDF—if the version of Keynote or PowerPoint on a host computer cause issues, you still have a functional copy that has a higher guarantee of compatibility.
  • In using videos, create a backup slide with screen shots of key results. For example, if I have a video of cell migration, I’ll be sure to have a copy of the start and end of the video, in case the video doesn’t play. Even if the video worked, you can pause on this backup slide and take the time to highlight the key results in words if someone could not see or understand the video.
  • Avoid animations, such as figures or text that flash/fly-in/etc. Surveys suggest that no one likes movement in presentations [ 3 , 4 ]. There is likely a cognitive underpinning to the almost universal distaste of pointless animations that relates to the idea proposed by Kosslyn and colleagues that animations are salient perceptual units that captures direct attention [ 4 ]. Although perceptual salience can be used to draw attention to and improve retention of specific points, if you use this approach for unnecessary/unimportant things (like animation of your bullet point text, fly-ins of figures, etc.), then you will distract your audience from the important content. Finally, animations cause additional processing burdens for people with visual impairments [ 10 ] and create opportunities for technical disasters if the software on the host system is not compatible with your planned animation.


These rules are just a start in creating more engaging presentations that increase audience retention of your material. However, there are wonderful resources on continuing on the journey of becoming an amazing public speaker, which includes understanding the psychology and neuroscience behind human perception and learning. For example, as highlighted in Rule 7, David JP Phillips has a wonderful TEDx talk on the subject [ 5 ], and “PowerPoint presentation flaws and failures: A psychological analysis,” by Kosslyn and colleagues is deeply detailed about a number of aspects of human cognition and presentation style [ 4 ]. There are many books on the topic, including the popular “Presentation Zen” by Garr Reynolds [ 11 ]. Finally, although briefly touched on here, the visualization of data is an entire topic of its own that is worth perfecting for both written and oral presentations of work, with fantastic resources like Edward Tufte’s “The Visual Display of Quantitative Information” [ 12 ] or the article “Visualization of Biomedical Data” by O’Donoghue and colleagues [ 13 ].


I would like to thank the countless presenters, colleagues, students, and mentors from which I have learned a great deal from on effective presentations. Also, a thank you to the wonderful resources published by organizations on how to increase inclusivity. A special thanks to Dr. Jason Papin and Dr. Michael Guertin on early feedback of this editorial.

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  • 11. Reynolds G. Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery. 2nd ed. New Riders Pub; 2011.
  • 12. Tufte ER. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. 2nd ed. Graphics Press; 2001.

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Roberts Academic Medicine Handbook pp 389–393 Cite as

How to Prepare and Give a Scholarly Oral Presentation

  • Cheryl Gore-Felton 2  
  • First Online: 01 January 2020

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Building an academic reputation is one of the most important functions of an academic faculty member, and one of the best ways to build a reputation is by giving scholarly presentations, particularly those that are oral presentations. Earning the reputation of someone who can give an excellent talk often results in invitations to give keynote addresses at regional and national conferences, which increases a faculty member’s visibility along with their area of research. Given the importance of oral presentations, it is surprising that few graduate or medical programs provide courses on how to give a talk. This is unfortunate because there are skills that can be learned and strategies that can be used to improve the ability to give an interesting, well-received oral presentation. To that end, the aim of this chapter is to provide faculty with best practices and tips on preparing and giving an academic oral presentation.

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Pashler H, McDaniel M, Rohrer D, Bjork R. Learning styles: concepts and evidence. Psychol Sci Public Interest. 2009;9:105–19.

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Ericsson AK, Krampe RT, Tesch-Romer C. The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychol Rev. 1993;100:363–406.

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Krantz WB. Presenting an effective and dynamic technical paper: a guidebook for novice and experienced speakers in a multicultural world. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2017.

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Academic Module 3: Giving Academic Presentations

17 Giving Academic Presentations: Talks, Power Points, and Posters

As mentioned earlier, students enrolled in college courses, especially in the U.S., are often required to demonstrate their knowledge and perspectives on a given topic in the form of oral presentations. Before we look at the different formats these presentations may occur in, let’s first look at the tasks of preparing and giving presentations through the lens of audience, purpose, and parameters, or APP.

Audience, Purpose, and Parameters (APP)

Let’s start with the first criterion–the audience.

  • When you present information orally, whether informally (e.g. while participating in a discussion in the class) or formally (e.g. a graded individual or group presentation on a topic assigned by the professor), who is the target audience? Generally, students present ideas and information to the members of the classroom community, which include both the professor and other students. In this case, you would again need to decide about the language(s) and the appropriate tone or register you would need to use. In other words, who your audience is informs what you say and what you write in a college course. Therefore, it is very helpful to identify clearly who the target audience is for any academic assignment, especially presentations.

Now, let’s look at the second criterion–the purpose.

  • The purpose of a presentation, individual or group, may vary. Some presentations are informative, others are descriptive, and some tend to be persuasive. Some presentations combine all of these elements. The patterns that are used in composing an essay are used in oral presentations as well. To ensure that the presentation matches the assignment, read the assignment guidelines carefully to gauge what the purpose of the presentation is and then ensure that the information is appropriately crafted.

The final criterion of a good presentation is the parameters.

  • As you read the guidelines of the presentation, make sure to note what the parameters are: what format are you required to use (speech, Power Point, poster, and so forth); what is the length allowed (how many minutes, for instance); what language(s) and register are you expected to use (e.g. academic English); and so on. In some presentations, there may be time set aside for questions and answers (Q&A) or discussion. Make sure to prepare for that as well, if required.

Common Presentation Formats

The three most common ways in which students formally present information in college courses are as talks/speeches, through Power Points, and with posters.

Talks and Speeches

Many students find the idea of giving a speech or a talk intimidating. That is understandable, but know that all good orators use certain skills and strategies to give interesting and relevant oral presentations. These skills and strategies may vary from one country/culture/context to another. As you adapt your presentation styles to the U.S. college context, think about how a ‘good talk’ is perceived as here.

Watch this video of Chris Anderson, the founder of TedTalk, as he explains how to give great talks. As you watch, try to take notes about strategies that you could use in your talks and presentations in this course and beyond.

Power Points

Students have to often given presentations using such tools as Power Point in college courses. Montgomery College’s Digital Learning Centers offer a helpful workshop titled ‘Power Point Basics’ multiple times in a year. [1]

Another format that is often used to give a presentation is with posters. In academic conferences, for instance, special times and spaces are regularly set aside for poster presentations. In college courses, students may have to work individually or in groups to create and present posters. Some workplaces, as well, may require these skills.  A well-organized poster presentation showcases the presenter’s deep understanding of the topic. Convincing facts are provided, and there are many details and explanations — both in the poster and in the presentation itself. A good poster also contains the right balance of graphics and text, and the presenter remains mindful of the audience, purpose, and parameters provided by the instructor.

  • There are many other similar or more interactive formats available for giving presentations, such as Google Slides and Prezi. Explore these formats in your free time and become more familiar with them. They may come in handy in your future academic and professional presentations. ↵

Demystifying Academic English Copyright © by Rashi Jain is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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 Academic Presentations

Academic presentations are an integral part of university study and assessment. Academic presentations may be presented individually or as a group activity but both require the key skills of planning and structuring key information. The key difference between an academic presentation and a general presentation is that it is usually quite formal and includes academic research to evidence the ideas presented. The presentation will include references to credible sources and demonstrate clearly your knowledge and familiarity of the topic.

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Giving a good academic presentation

  • Think about the aim of your presentation and what you want to achieve.
  • Concentrate on your audience: who   they are and  what   they (want to) know.
  • Choose the topic that interests you: involvement and motivation are key to confidence.
  • Give your presentation a  clear   and  logical   organization so that everyone can follow.
  • Present information  visually : this adds interest to your talk and makes it easier to follow.
  • Practise giving your presentation until you are familiar with the key points; this way you may discover any potential problems and check the timing. Besides, practice will also make you feel more confident.

Basic outline / structure

  • Introduction: introduce the topic, some basic background, thesis (your stance or argument).
  • Outline: provide basic bullet points on the key parts of the presentation.
  • Main body: divide the main body into sections.
  • Evaluation: always include evaluation. This can be a separate section or part of the main body.
  • Conclusion: summarise key points, restate the thesis and make a recommendation / suggestion / prediction.
  • Reference list: create one slide with all your sources.
  • Questions : be prepared to answer questions.
  • Cope with nerves: breathe deeply; it calms you down and stops you from talking too quickly.
  • Control your voice: speak clearly and try to sound interesting by changing intonation and rhythm.
  • Watch your body language: try to give the impression that you are relaxed and confident.
  • Maintain eye contact with your audience: it keeps them interested in what you are saying. For this reason, you should not read.
  • Provide visual information, but do not give too many facts at a time. Give your audience enough time to take them in.
  • Keep attention by asking rhetorical questions.

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Academic presentations: Structure

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“A solid structure is the foundation of a coherent presentation, and shows the relationship between the parts and whole.” Nancy Duarte,  Resonate

A presentation that has a strong, clear structure is a presentation that is easy to follow. Without structure, a presentation can be confusing to an audience. How do they know if you are going to cover what they need to know? How can they tell which slides contain the most important points? This page considers some ways that you can organise your slides to give shape to your presentation as a whole.

Basic presentation structure

Every presentation should flow like a good story. It should involve  the audience directly.

Image of an open book showing the beginning, middle and end of the story

  • The  beginning  section is where you hook them. Start with the general picture then explain the specific problem and how by listening to your presentation you can solve it for them.
  • The  middle  section should contain the main detail of your presentation, and can be organised in a number of ways (two good ones are explained below).
  • Finally your  end  section should summarise the presentation and lead the audience to the next step.

Design your slides so that these sections  look distinctive  and any  key points  stand out.

Beginning section

This section is all about drawing the audience in; giving them a reason to want to listen to the main part of your presentation.

You can include any or all of the following:

  • A really well designed title slide that grabs the attention
  • A slide that gives the audience the big picture
  • A slide that shows what you will be focusing on
  • A slide that uses the word 'you' or 'your' in the title to connect with the audience
  • A slide that tells the audience what is to come in your presentation (its structure)

Visual version of the points above

After your title slide, you need slides covering these areas

Middle section structure option 1 - key points

Several authors suggest using a structure that involves an introduction followed by a middle section containing key point slides (usually 3).

The ideas is that there is a  hierarchy  of slides so that after each key point you have other slides that explain or add detail to that key point.

Image showing the 3 large boxes broken down to show a key point box followed by several detail boxes

Cliff Atkinson (writer of the book  Beyond Bullet Points ) suggested using a table in MSWord (similar to the one in the template that is available to download at the bottom of this page) to help you structure and plan your presentation before you even open PowerPoint. This means you can concentrate on your story before getting distracted by design and content issues. We have copy of the book in our library: Beyond Bullet Points:  Beyond Bullet Points .

Middle section option 2 - sparkline

For her book  Resonate  Nancy Duarte looked in detail at the structure of successful presentations throughout history (even back to Lincoln's Gettysburg Address). She discovered that many have the same structural form which she calls a 'sparkline'.

Image of sparkline structure showing a line starting low and then moving up and down several times before ending high - low sections are labelled what is and high sections what could be

This structure makes a clear distinction between  what is  (the position before the presentation is seen and acted upon) and  what could be  (the position after the presentation is seen and acted upon). The audience is introduced to the what is  state at the beginning of the presentation and then switched back and forth between  what could be  and  what is  several times before ending in the  what could be  condition, which she calls  Reward:New Bliss .

Nancy explains this better here:  Sparkline Overview .

In terms of academic work the  what is  is the current level of knowledge or previous thinking on a subject and the  what could be  is the new knowledge or new thinking. The  new bliss  is what the audience could do or learn next now that they are aware of the change. 

End section

The end of your presentation is a very powerful part because it contains your final words, the ones that the audience will take away with them. After you have finished your middle section, have at least one slide that summarises your main points  and one slide that leaves the audience with  the most important point  of your presentation - the one you would like them to remember even if they forget everything else.

Visual summary of the above paragraph

Include slides that show these in your end section

DO NOT  finish with a slide that says  Any Questions?  or  Thanks for Listening  as this a waste of your final slide and does not need a visual image to help the audience understand your words. This slide could potentially be viewed longer than any other slide (whilst you answer your questions or receive feedback) and so you want to make sure it contains something that is important to both you and the audience.

Any questions slide (crossed out)

These slides are a waste of your last slide - use the final slide for your most important point not a throwaway.

Template for structuring an academic presentation

Thumbnail image of template

This MSWord document is a template for structuring a typical academic presentation, it can be adapted and changed if necessary depending on how long the presentation you need to give is. Try to fill it in using full sentences as these will become your slide titles .

The blue sections are optional. The NEED and TASK sections are most suited to research presentations.

This is designed for a presentation between 20-30 minutes long. Shorter presentations will have no explanatory points and longer presentations will need more explanatory points.

This is adapted from Cliff Atkinson's Beyond Bullet Points template. See the link to the book above.

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Home Blog Presentation Ideas How to Create and Deliver a Research Presentation

How to Create and Deliver a Research Presentation

Cover for Research Presentation Guide

Every research endeavor ends up with the communication of its findings. Graduate-level research culminates in a thesis defense , while many academic and scientific disciplines are published in peer-reviewed journals. In a business context, PowerPoint research presentation is the default format for reporting the findings to stakeholders.

Condensing months of work into a few slides can prove to be challenging. It requires particular skills to create and deliver a research presentation that promotes informed decisions and drives long-term projects forward.

Table of Contents

What is a Research Presentation

Key slides for creating a research presentation, tips when delivering a research presentation, how to present sources in a research presentation, recommended templates to create a research presentation.

A research presentation is the communication of research findings, typically delivered to an audience of peers, colleagues, students, or professionals. In the academe, it is meant to showcase the importance of the research paper , state the findings and the analysis of those findings, and seek feedback that could further the research.

The presentation of research becomes even more critical in the business world as the insights derived from it are the basis of strategic decisions of organizations. Information from this type of report can aid companies in maximizing the sales and profit of their business. Major projects such as research and development (R&D) in a new field, the launch of a new product or service, or even corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives will require the presentation of research findings to prove their feasibility.

Market research and technical research are examples of business-type research presentations you will commonly encounter.

In this article, we’ve compiled all the essential tips, including some examples and templates, to get you started with creating and delivering a stellar research presentation tailored specifically for the business context.

Various research suggests that the average attention span of adults during presentations is around 20 minutes, with a notable drop in an engagement at the 10-minute mark . Beyond that, you might see your audience doing other things.

How can you avoid such a mistake? The answer lies in the adage “keep it simple, stupid” or KISS. We don’t mean dumbing down your content but rather presenting it in a way that is easily digestible and accessible to your audience. One way you can do this is by organizing your research presentation using a clear structure.

Here are the slides you should prioritize when creating your research presentation PowerPoint.

1.  Title Page

The title page is the first thing your audience will see during your presentation, so put extra effort into it to make an impression. Of course, writing presentation titles and title pages will vary depending on the type of presentation you are to deliver. In the case of a research presentation, you want a formal and academic-sounding one. It should include:

  • The full title of the report
  • The date of the report
  • The name of the researchers or department in charge of the report
  • The name of the organization for which the presentation is intended

When writing the title of your research presentation, it should reflect the topic and objective of the report. Focus only on the subject and avoid adding redundant phrases like “A research on” or “A study on.” However, you may use phrases like “Market Analysis” or “Feasibility Study” because they help identify the purpose of the presentation. Doing so also serves a long-term purpose for the filing and later retrieving of the document.

Here’s a sample title page for a hypothetical market research presentation from Gillette .

Title slide in a Research Presentation

2. Executive Summary Slide

The executive summary marks the beginning of the body of the presentation, briefly summarizing the key discussion points of the research. Specifically, the summary may state the following:

  • The purpose of the investigation and its significance within the organization’s goals
  • The methods used for the investigation
  • The major findings of the investigation
  • The conclusions and recommendations after the investigation

Although the executive summary encompasses the entry of the research presentation, it should not dive into all the details of the work on which the findings, conclusions, and recommendations were based. Creating the executive summary requires a focus on clarity and brevity, especially when translating it to a PowerPoint document where space is limited.

Each point should be presented in a clear and visually engaging manner to capture the audience’s attention and set the stage for the rest of the presentation. Use visuals, bullet points, and minimal text to convey information efficiently.

Executive Summary slide in a Research Presentation

3. Introduction/ Project Description Slides

In this section, your goal is to provide your audience with the information that will help them understand the details of the presentation. Provide a detailed description of the project, including its goals, objectives, scope, and methods for gathering and analyzing data.

You want to answer these fundamental questions:

  • What specific questions are you trying to answer, problems you aim to solve, or opportunities you seek to explore?
  • Why is this project important, and what prompted it?
  • What are the boundaries of your research or initiative? 
  • How were the data gathered?

Important: The introduction should exclude specific findings, conclusions, and recommendations.

Action Evaluation Matrix in a Research Presentation

4. Data Presentation and Analyses Slides

This is the longest section of a research presentation, as you’ll present the data you’ve gathered and provide a thorough analysis of that data to draw meaningful conclusions. The format and components of this section can vary widely, tailored to the specific nature of your research.

For example, if you are doing market research, you may include the market potential estimate, competitor analysis, and pricing analysis. These elements will help your organization determine the actual viability of a market opportunity.

Visual aids like charts, graphs, tables, and diagrams are potent tools to convey your key findings effectively. These materials may be numbered and sequenced (Figure 1, Figure 2, and so forth), accompanied by text to make sense of the insights.

Data and Analysis slide in a Research Presentation

5. Conclusions

The conclusion of a research presentation is where you pull together the ideas derived from your data presentation and analyses in light of the purpose of the research. For example, if the objective is to assess the market of a new product, the conclusion should determine the requirements of the market in question and tell whether there is a product-market fit.

Designing your conclusion slide should be straightforward and focused on conveying the key takeaways from your research. Keep the text concise and to the point. Present it in bullet points or numbered lists to make the content easily scannable.

Conclusion Slide in a Research Presentation

6. Recommendations

The findings of your research might reveal elements that may not align with your initial vision or expectations. These deviations are addressed in the recommendations section of your presentation, which outlines the best course of action based on the result of the research.

What emerging markets should we target next? Do we need to rethink our pricing strategies? Which professionals should we hire for this special project? — these are some of the questions that may arise when coming up with this part of the research.

Recommendations may be combined with the conclusion, but presenting them separately to reinforce their urgency. In the end, the decision-makers in the organization or your clients will make the final call on whether to accept or decline the recommendations.

Recommendations slide in Research Presentation

7. Questions Slide

Members of your audience are not involved in carrying out your research activity, which means there’s a lot they don’t know about its details. By offering an opportunity for questions, you can invite them to bridge that gap, seek clarification, and engage in a dialogue that enhances their understanding.

If your research is more business-oriented, facilitating a question and answer after your presentation becomes imperative as it’s your final appeal to encourage buy-in for your recommendations.

A simple “Ask us anything” slide can indicate that you are ready to accept questions.

1. Focus on the Most Important Findings

The truth about presenting research findings is that your audience doesn’t need to know everything. Instead, they should receive a distilled, clear, and meaningful overview that focuses on the most critical aspects.

You will likely have to squeeze in the oral presentation of your research into a 10 to 20-minute presentation, so you have to make the most out of the time given to you. In the presentation, don’t soak in the less important elements like historical backgrounds. Decision-makers might even ask you to skip these portions and focus on sharing the findings.

2. Do Not Read Word-per-word

Reading word-for-word from your presentation slides intensifies the danger of losing your audience’s interest. Its effect can be detrimental, especially if the purpose of your research presentation is to gain approval from the audience. So, how can you avoid this mistake?

  • Make a conscious design decision to keep the text on your slides minimal. Your slides should serve as visual cues to guide your presentation.
  • Structure your presentation as a narrative or story. Stories are more engaging and memorable than dry, factual information.
  • Prepare speaker notes with the key points of your research. Glance at it when needed.
  • Engage with the audience by maintaining eye contact and asking rhetorical questions.

3. Don’t Go Without Handouts

Handouts are paper copies of your presentation slides that you distribute to your audience. They typically contain the summary of your key points, but they may also provide supplementary information supporting data presented through tables and graphs.

The purpose of distributing presentation handouts is to easily retain the key points you presented as they become good references in the future. Distributing handouts in advance allows your audience to review the material and come prepared with questions or points for discussion during the presentation.

4. Actively Listen

An equally important skill that a presenter must possess aside from speaking is the ability to listen. We are not just talking about listening to what the audience is saying but also considering their reactions and nonverbal cues. If you sense disinterest or confusion, you can adapt your approach on the fly to re-engage them.

For example, if some members of your audience are exchanging glances, they may be skeptical of the research findings you are presenting. This is the best time to reassure them of the validity of your data and provide a concise overview of how it came to be. You may also encourage them to seek clarification.

5. Be Confident

Anxiety can strike before a presentation – it’s a common reaction whenever someone has to speak in front of others. If you can’t eliminate your stress, try to manage it.

People hate public speaking not because they simply hate it. Most of the time, it arises from one’s belief in themselves. You don’t have to take our word for it. Take Maslow’s theory that says a threat to one’s self-esteem is a source of distress among an individual.

Now, how can you master this feeling? You’ve spent a lot of time on your research, so there is no question about your topic knowledge. Perhaps you just need to rehearse your research presentation. If you know what you will say and how to say it, you will gain confidence in presenting your work.

All sources you use in creating your research presentation should be given proper credit. The APA Style is the most widely used citation style in formal research.

In-text citation

Add references within the text of your presentation slide by giving the author’s last name, year of publication, and page number (if applicable) in parentheses after direct quotations or paraphrased materials. As in:

The alarming rate at which global temperatures rise directly impacts biodiversity (Smith, 2020, p. 27).

If the author’s name and year of publication are mentioned in the text, add only the page number in parentheses after the quotations or paraphrased materials. As in:

According to Smith (2020), the alarming rate at which global temperatures rise directly impacts biodiversity (p. 27).

Image citation

All images from the web, including photos, graphs, and tables, used in your slides should be credited using the format below.

Creator’s Last Name, First Name. “Title of Image.” Website Name, Day Mo. Year, URL. Accessed Day Mo. Year.

Work cited page

A work cited page or reference list should follow after the last slide of your presentation. The list should be alphabetized by the author’s last name and initials followed by the year of publication, the title of the book or article, the place of publication, and the publisher. As in:

Smith, J. A. (2020). Climate Change and Biodiversity: A Comprehensive Study. New York, NY: ABC Publications.

When citing a document from a website, add the source URL after the title of the book or article instead of the place of publication and the publisher. As in:

Smith, J. A. (2020). Climate Change and Biodiversity: A Comprehensive Study. Retrieved from

1. Research Project Presentation PowerPoint Template

presentation of academic work

A slide deck containing 18 different slides intended to take off the weight of how to make a research presentation. With tons of visual aids, presenters can reference existing research on similar projects to this one – or link another research presentation example – provide an accurate data analysis, disclose the methodology used, and much more.

Use This Template

2. Research Presentation Scientific Method Diagram PowerPoint Template

presentation of academic work

Whenever you intend to raise questions, expose the methodology you used for your research, or even suggest a scientific method approach for future analysis, this circular wheel diagram is a perfect fit for any presentation study.

Customize all of its elements to suit the demands of your presentation in just minutes.

3. Thesis Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

Layout of Results in Charts

If your research presentation project belongs to academia, then this is the slide deck to pair that presentation. With a formal aesthetic and minimalistic style, this research presentation template focuses only on exposing your information as clearly as possible.

Use its included bar charts and graphs to introduce data, change the background of each slide to suit the topic of your presentation, and customize each of its elements to meet the requirements of your project with ease.

4. Animated Research Cards PowerPoint Template

presentation of academic work

Visualize ideas and their connection points with the help of this research card template for PowerPoint. This slide deck, for example, can help speakers talk about alternative concepts to what they are currently managing and its possible outcomes, among different other usages this versatile PPT template has. Zoom Animation effects make a smooth transition between cards (or ideas).

5. Research Presentation Slide Deck for PowerPoint

presentation of academic work

With a distinctive professional style, this research presentation PPT template helps business professionals and academics alike to introduce the findings of their work to team members or investors.

By accessing this template, you get the following slides:

  • Introduction
  • Problem Statement
  • Research Questions
  • Conceptual Research Framework (Concepts, Theories, Actors, & Constructs)
  • Study design and methods
  • Population & Sampling
  • Data Collection
  • Data Analysis

Check it out today and craft a powerful research presentation out of it!

A successful research presentation in business is not just about presenting data; it’s about persuasion to take meaningful action. It’s the bridge that connects your research efforts to the strategic initiatives of your organization. To embark on this journey successfully, planning your presentation thoroughly is paramount, from designing your PowerPoint to the delivery.

Take a look and get inspiration from the sample research presentation slides above, put our tips to heart, and transform your research findings into a compelling call to action.

presentation of academic work

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presentation of academic work

How To: Give an Academic Presentation

As referenced in the topic on how to write a paper, the last phase of the usual process is actually presenting the work! But since the presentation is a required component for this class, I’m describing it now.

Why a presentation?

For conference papers, you submit the paper, have it accepted (hopefully), then show up to present it. But the paper is more comprehensive than the presentation. Why, then, have the presentation?

The answer to this question is actually very important to how you structure your presentation. The most common mistake I see people make in real academic presenting is that their presentation is basically just a section-by-section summary of the paper itself. That is not what a presentation of the paper needs to be.

To understand why we have a presentation, both in academia and in this class, it’s important to consider what the goal of the presentation is.

What is the goal of a presentation?

There are actually three potential goals of an academic presentation. Which goal you select for yourself will dictate how you structure your presentation.

The goals I generally notice are:

  • Make the listener want to read the paper. A presentation is typically ~10 minutes (conferences can be longer, but 10 minutes is usually plenty), and the engagement from the audience is more passive: they just sit back and listen. Reading the paper probably takes closer to ~30 minutes, and it’s more active, deliberate engagement. In the 10 minutes in which you have a captive audience, you’re not going to cover everything that the paper covers. Instead, focus on covering enough so that the listener wants to go and read the full paper. Think of the presentation like a trailer: it advertises the full paper. Focus on the story and the results, and if they want to know more about the related work and methodology, they can go read about them.
  • Help the listener decide if they want to read the paper. This is the slightly more honest version of the above. Instead of treating the presentation like a trailer, treat it like an abstract. There are people in the audience who won’t be interested in your work simply because it doesn’t align clearly with theirs. That’s fine. The focus of your presentation is on giving them the information they need to decide if they want to read more. Here, you’d focus more on the related work and the results: related work to help them connect their interests to yours (if such connections are present), and results to help them know if they care how you achieved those results.
  • Seed the conversation. The other major difference with the presentation is that you have everyone in the room with you. They’re going to be there when you’re done. You’re going to chat over coffee and lunch. Your goal with your presentation is to give y’all something to talk about after the talk is done. If this is your focus, then you’ll emphasize more the kinds of feedback you want: you’ll ask direct questions about what you should do next, or what might explain the results that you have. Under this goal, you know that you already got the paper accepted: you don’t need to defend it anymore. Instead, here, you’re using the time to make your future work even better.

You’re welcome to choose any of these goals for how you orient your presentation in this class, of course. The main thing is: consider your listener. You’re not just checking off boxes on a rubric (we don’t have a rubric for assessing your presentation). Your goal is for the presentation to be interesting to the viewer.

What are some common mistakes?

So, what are the common mistakes people make? Here are five I’ve seen most often:

  • Restate the paper. I referenced this above, but it’s worth repeating. You have only 10 minutes to talk about your work. Focus on your work. You don’t need to spend a lot of time on the related work section, or even the methodology unless it’s particularly novel. Those are the pieces of your work that get the paper accepted, but they’re not particularly crucial for the presentation itself.
  • Stick to the original content exclusively. This one doesn’t really apply to this class’s papers, but it’s worth mentioning anyway. In academic publishing, there’s typically a long (5-10 month) lag time between when you submit a paper and when you present it. You do a lot of work in that time. I’ve seen a lot of presentations where the presenter will mention off-handedly, “Oh yes, since we submitted the paper, these things have changed.” If they’ve changed, include that in your presentation. Some of the best presentations I’ve seen have said, “The paper covers the Fall 2016 data, but I’m going to talk about the Spring 2017 data that wasn’t available at the time.” That keeps the presentation current.
  • Under-rehearse. Few things are more painful than watching someone get up and present who isn’t familiar with what they’re presenting. Make an outline, make a loose script, run through it a couple times. You have even less excuse for this in this class because you get to record it: if your first version is under-rehearsed, then make that your rehearsal and record it again.
  • Over-rehearse. This one is riskier in this class. Few things are more boring than listening to someone just read a script. If you’re just reading a script, you may as well just be sending the paper and putting it into a text-to-speech machine. The presentation ought to be a little more spontaneous and natural. The viewer wants to hear your excitement, your confusion, your frustration. This sort of context is what makes a presentation more dynamic than a paper: we see the human behind the work, not just the work. That’s a liability in the peer review process, but you’ve already passed that: now it’s an asset.
  • Interpret questions/critiques as challenges. Again, less relevant in this class, but highly relevant in real presentations. One thing we see a lot, especially among first-time presenters, is a tendency to view questions as challenges. The natural response tends to be to defend the work. Most questions, however, are just that: questions. “Why dd you use methodology A instead of B?”, for example, can be interpreted as suggesting, “B is better”, but it more likely means, “There are probably interesting details of this work that led you to choose A, and I’m curious what they are.” Your audience knows your work is never done, and it’s totally fine to say “I don’t know” or “That’s next!”

For this Class

A lot of those details are for real academic publishing, which ideally we’re preparing you for. However, this presentation is also first and foremost a class assignment. So, more specifically, what function does it serve in  this class?

The final video is a chance to present your work in a more accessible, easily-consumable way. Papers can be hard to read, especially when they include a lot of detail (as papers in this class likely will). Presentations lends themselves to the more informal dialog and presentation style. So, in your presentations, you’re looking at about 5-10 minutes (for your mentor’s sanity, keep it under 10 minutes) to relatively quickly cover the motivation behind your work, what you decided to do, and how it turned out. The goal of this is to give an easier anchor for your classmates to be able to browse and consume what went on in this class this semester. The main focus of this is community-building.

The presentation should be organized, but it doesn’t have to be super-formal. You’re welcome to include a video demo, for example, and you don’t have to worry about editing in super-clean transitions — it’s fine, for example, to start off in a PowerPoint presentation and switch to a demo without editing out closing PowerPoint. Imagine you’re standing at a podium: we’d expect you to close PowerPoint and switch over to a browser, so that can be in your video as well.

Most importantly, the goals stated above still apply to this class. Maybe your goal is to get the viewer to read the paper. Maybe it’s just to give them the information necessary to decide if they should read the paper. Maybe it’s to spark good discussion and reviews, and to get you feedback for future work in this area. Selecting a goal will make your presentation far more engaging.

Remember, many of last semester’s presentations in the Files folder on Canvas. Check them out!


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How to Give a Killer Presentation

  • Chris Anderson

presentation of academic work

For more than 30 years, the TED conference series has presented enlightening talks that people enjoy watching. In this article, Anderson, TED’s curator, shares five keys to great presentations:

  • Frame your story (figure out where to start and where to end).
  • Plan your delivery (decide whether to memorize your speech word for word or develop bullet points and then rehearse it—over and over).
  • Work on stage presence (but remember that your story matters more than how you stand or whether you’re visibly nervous).
  • Plan the multimedia (whatever you do, don’t read from PowerPoint slides).
  • Put it together (play to your strengths and be authentic).

According to Anderson, presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance—not style. In fact, it’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. So if your thinking is not there yet, he advises, decline that invitation to speak. Instead, keep working until you have an idea that’s worth sharing.

Lessons from TED

A little more than a year ago, on a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, some colleagues and I met a 12-year-old Masai boy named Richard Turere, who told us a fascinating story. His family raises livestock on the edge of a vast national park, and one of the biggest challenges is protecting the animals from lions—especially at night. Richard had noticed that placing lamps in a field didn’t deter lion attacks, but when he walked the field with a torch, the lions stayed away. From a young age, he’d been interested in electronics, teaching himself by, for example, taking apart his parents’ radio. He used that experience to devise a system of lights that would turn on and off in sequence—using solar panels, a car battery, and a motorcycle indicator box—and thereby create a sense of movement that he hoped would scare off the lions. He installed the lights, and the lions stopped attacking. Soon villages elsewhere in Kenya began installing Richard’s “lion lights.”

  • CA Chris Anderson is the curator of TED.

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The Best Resources for Academic Presentation Templates


Many people in academia — undergraduates, graduate students, and professors alike — feel intimidated at the thought of designing eye-catching presentations that provide the perfect balance of information, images, and data while using appropriate colors and fonts.

If you've ever had to endure a presentation in which the presenter read verbatim from a text-heavy PowerPoint® slide, you probably vowed to never make that same mistake. To help you design professional slides regardless of your artistic skills or technical comfort level, I have compiled a list of the best online sources for academic presentation templates. Since many people in academia are working with limited incomes, I have placed priority on sources that offer free templates, and I have focused on user-friendly sites that are easy to navigate. Combine your academic research with the templates and other design features from one of these sites, and your presentation will be finished in no time.

Canva is an incredible online resource that features a variety of templates to help you design anything from custom baby shower invitations to academic presentations. Its user-friendly features ensure that even the least artistic person will be able to produce visually effective presentations.

Canva's flexible layout options make it easy to change your slide theme, add or remove images, and represent your visual data with timelines, pie charts, donut charts, pictograms, and more. You can enter keywords to search Canva's royalty-free stock images if you need to add visual elements, and you can even narrow your search based on the colors in the stock images. For overall slide design, Canva even suggests complementary color groups to help those of us who tend to add too many hues from the color wheel.

If you are feeling adventurous and want to create a dynamic presentation with embedded videos and animated slides, Canva will guide you through the process in just a few clicks . Once you have finished your presentation, you can present it through Canva's website, or you can download the finished presentation as a PowerPoint or pdf file.

You will have to create an account to use Canva's design platform. Canva features both free and paid presentation templates as well as free and paid stock images and backgrounds, so it is a resource that fits within any budget.

Most students (and their parents) became quite adept at navigating the many offerings within the Google Education suite during the virtual learning phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. In the two years since Google Classroom made virtual learning possible, Google has continued to improve and advance the free templates available for Google Slides.

Google Slides offers an impressive variety of templates that you can customize with text, images, and animated transitions between slides. Google Slides streamlines its customization choices so users do not waste hours (or days) changing backgrounds, fonts, and colors. Once you choose a particular theme for your presentation, your customizing options are limited, so you can focus on inputting your data instead of wasting all your time on custom backgrounds for each slide.

One benefit of Google Slides is that users can make changes moments before presenting, and once in Presentation mode, you can easily toggle between slides by pressing the spacebar or the arrow keys. Google Slides also offers space for speaker notes, so you can write down any important talking points that you do not want to be included on the presented slide. The downside of this feature is that once you switch to Present mode for your presentation, you cannot see the speaker notes anymore. Some people circumvent this issue by using two computers—one set in Present mode that shows only the final presentation to the audience, and a second computer for the speaker to look at so he or she can access the speaker notes. If you do not have access to two computers, you can print out the speaker notes for reference.

If you already have a Google account, you can create a Google Slide presentation for free, and your work should be automatically saved to your personal Google Drive. If you do not have a Google account, you will most likely have to set one up before you can use Google Slides. Google Slides are free for personal use, and a paid option is available through Google Workspace .

Whether you are a teacher looking to showcase science, history, geography, or other subjects' lessons in a fun yet impactful manner or a student who has been assigned a task to deliver a presentation on the given project assignment, you can count on SketchBubble.

SketchBubble has an impressive collection of academic PowerPoint templates and Google Slides themes to help you spellbind your audience with polished and visually appealing presentations. Each slide boasts aesthetic design, brilliant color scheme, dynamic animation effect, and high-definition graphics to make your content engaging and presentations more lively.

The 100% customizable templates are designed for ease of use in all types of educational settings-classroom, online, or hybrid. You can effortlessly modify the slides to match the subject's complexity and students' learning level, giving you complete control over your presentations.

SketchBubble provides both free and paid presentation templates. The paid plans are available on a monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. To download templates, you have to create an account on SketchBubble. After downloading templates once, you can access them for a lifetime.

Slides Carnival offers a fantastic selection of free presentation templates that users can download as PowerPoint templates or Google Slides. You can search templates based on color preference or presentation topic, and then you can download the template and customize it with your research and information.

Out of all the sites on this list, Slides Carnival offers the best selection of slides for science and data presentations , and it might offer the best variety of professional-looking designs overall. With more than 200 free templates available, Slides Carnival is a great resource if you are looking for free slides that look expensive.

The only downside to Slides Carnival is that it does not seem to offer the extensive stock photo and font choices that sites such as Canva provide. However, if you already have your own graphs and images prepared, Slides Carnival is probably your best choice for a free professional presentation template that you can customize and make your own.

Slides Carnival provides all of its presentation templates for free, and there are no upgrades or paid options. Unlike most other sites on this list, you do not even have to create an account to download templates on Slides Carnival. In return for using one of Slides Carnival's templates, they require that you attribute Slides Carnival and provide a link to their website.

SlidesGo offers presentation templates that users can download and edit in Google Slides or PowerPoint. Most of the details and visual features in a SlidesGo presentation can be changed, but SlidesGo provides a disclaimer that some designs might be embedded in presentations and will not be modifiable.

SlidesGo provides extensive tutorials to help new users add information, graphs, images, and text to Google Slides and PowerPoint slides.

SlidesGo offers both free and paid options . The free option allows users to download and use 10 templates per month at no charge, but users are required to credit SlidesGo in the presentation. The premium option ranges from $2 USD to $5 USD per month and offers unlimited template downloads and priority support, and premium users are not required to credit SlidesGo.

Templates Wise features a fantastic selection of free PowerPoint templates that you can download and customize for your academic presentation. If you do not have graphs or visual data files already prepared from your research, Templates Wise features effective and unique infographics, charts, and diagrams that you can customize to present your data in a way that will resonate with listeners.

In addition to its variety of free professional-looking templates, Templates Wise provides free music loops that you can embed in your presentation.

You can download PowerPoint templates directly from Template Wise without creating an account or entering any payment information. All templates on Template Wise are provided free, as long as you agree to their terms of service.

Smile Templates provides a plethora of presentation templates that you can download and customize in PowerPoint or Google Slides. Smile Templates features more than 100,000 templates on its site in categories such as Education, Finance, Medical, Technology, and more. Smile Templates also enables users to include free or paid Music Loops, Maps, and Diagrams & Charts. Smile Templates also provides access to Animated PowerPoint Templates, which will truly bring your presentation to life.

Smile Templates offers both free and paid presentation templates and interactive features. You will have to create an account before you can download a template from Smile Templates.

E-Learning Heroes provides academic and business presentation templates that you can download in PowerPoint or Presenter. E-Learning Heroes is a community-sharing site, so individuals such as graphic designers, artists, or students design templates and then make them available to users. Since the template creators vary in background and personality, some templates include explanations about the slides and provide information about the selected fonts and images, and other templates provide no additional information.

You will need to create an account before you can download or bookmark any templates on E-Learning Heroes, but it is free to sign up and you do not need to provide credit card information.

Check out the recommendations on the list above to find the best resources for academic presentation templates, and you might even have fun preparing your next big academic presentation. With the templates and tools from any of these sites, you will be able to design a presentation that is professional and visually appealing, so you can engage the audience and effectively convey your information.

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Need an academic editor before submitting your work?

Need an academic editor before submitting your work?

What are professional and academic presentations?

presentation of academic work

This is the first of three chapters about Presentations . To complete this reader, read each chapter carefully and then unlock and complete our materials to check your understanding.   

– Distinguish professional and academic presentations

– Explore the different types of assessed presentation

– Introduce the basic presentation skills that may be useful for EAP students and tutors

Chapter 1: What are professional and academic presentations?

Chapter 2: What are the key elements of EAP presentations?

Chapter 3: What are 10 tips for successful presentations?

Most people will have to present in front of an audience at some point during their life, and doing so can be a nervous and challenging experience. When having to simultaneously consider what you say, how you say it and who you’re saying it to, it’s no wonder that people appear anxious on stage or forget their words from time to time. Focusing particularly on academic contexts, this short, three-chapter reader aims to introduce the basics of presentations (Chapter 1), the key elements of a presentation (Chapter 2) and the top ten tips for success (Chapter 3). Anyone that wishes to learn more deeply about this topic should also visit our library of readers on presentation skills , such as body language and using visual aids .

What is a presentation?

Most commonly, a presentation  is when somebody stands in front of an audience and attempts to verbally and visually inform that audience about a particular topic. Such a presentation could be conducted in order to sell something to that audience, to convince them of something, or to educate them in some way. While most presentations are done by a single person, with a little extra practice, pair and group presentations may also be successfully delivered.

What is a professional presentation?

In the business world, there are a number of reasons that employees may be asked by their employers to create professional presentations . Such presentations are therefore quite varied and may be required to complete job interviews , to deliver sales pitches to potential clients or to present project proposals to senior management. In such presentations, the presenter will usually take their role quite seriously, and may be rewarded with financial incentives or with the opportunity to impress their bosses. 

presentation of academic work

How do academic presentations differ?

Like professional presentations , academic performances are also quite varied. Students might be asked to create a successful presentation in order to be accepted onto a course for example, and tutors might have to do the same to be hired for a job, to receive a promotion or to represent their academic institution at professional conferences. Most common, however, is that presentations are assigned to students as assessed pieces of work in which the student must research, prepare, memorise and deliver on a topic, receiving a grade on aspects such as body language , presentation language and the use of visual aids .

While most academic presentations are a formally assessed aspect of a course, sometimes this type of assignment may also be used somewhat informally by the tutor as a way of flipping the classroom. In a flipped classroom , students are encouraged to present on an aspect of that day’s seminar , taking the role of the teacher so as to guarantee better engagement with the class materials. In such informal presentations, it is uncommon for the tutor to assess the students at all but to merely encourage them to participate and practise presentation skills .

presentation of academic work

Which skills create successful presentations?

As will be explained in more detail in Chapter 2, there are a number of key skills  that presenters should master if they wish to present confidently and clearly. Whether it’s paying attention to the development of research skills , the careful use of body language and gesture or the inclusion of visual aids , the key elements of a presentation normally fall into five categories: content, display, organisation, language and delivery .

Before learning more about how to improve on these five key presentation elements in Chapter 2, students should first consider checking their progress and understanding by completing our Chapter 1 activities.

To reference this reader:

Academic Marker (2022) Presentations . Available at: (Accessed: Date Month Year).

  • Hull University Library
  • Kent State University Libraries
  • University of Warwick

Once you’ve completed all three chapters in this short reader about Presentations , you might then wish to download our Chapter Worksheets to check your progress or print for your students. These professional PDF worksheets can be easily accessed for only a few Academic Marks .

Chapter 1 explores the topic: What are professional and academic presentations? Our Chapter 1 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Chapter 2 explores the topic: What are the key elements of EAP presentations? Our Chapter 2 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

Chapter 3 explores the topic: What are 10 tips for successful presentations? Our Chapter 3 Worksheet (containing guidance, activities and answer keys) can be accessed here at the click of a button. 

To save yourself 2 Marks , click on the button below to gain unlimited access to all of our Presentations Chapter Worksheets. This  All-in-1 Pack includes every chapter, activity and answer key related this topic in one handy and professional PDF.

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30+ Best Research Presentation Templates for PowerPoint (PPT)

Finding the right PowerPoint template plays an important part in getting your message across to the audience during a presentation. And it’s especially true for research presentations.

Using the right colors, graphs, infographics, and illustrations in your slides is the key to delivering information more effectively and making your presentation a success.

Today, we handpicked a great collection of research presentation PowerPoint templates for you to make the perfect slideshows for various types of research papers and studies.

Whether you’re preparing for a presentation at a school, event, or conference, there are templates in this list for all purposes. Let’s dive in.

How Does Unlimited PowerPoint Templates Sound?

Download thousands of PowerPoint templates, and many other design elements, with a monthly Envato Elements membership. It starts at $16 per month, and gives you unlimited access to a growing library of over 2,000,000 presentation templates, fonts, photos, graphics, and more.

Business PPT Templates

Business PPT Templates

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Explore PowerPoint Templates

Science & Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

Science & Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

This PowerPoint template is a perfect choice for preparing a research presentation to share your scientific findings and reports.

The template has 30 unique slides with unlimited color options. There are a few infographics included in the slideshow as well.

Why This Is A Top Pick

The presentation has a very modern and creative design where you can showcase your data and information in an attractive way. You won’t be making boring research presentations ever again.

Labvire – Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

Labvire - Research Presentation Powerpoint Template

Labvire is another modern PowerPoint template you can use for various types of research presentations. It’s also ideal for laboratory-related research presentations. The template has fully customizable slide layouts with editable charts, graphs, and more. You can choose from more than 40 unique slide designs as well.

Novalabs – Science Research PowerPoint Template

Novalabs - Science Research Powerpoint Template

Novalabs PowerPoint template features a highly visual and attractive design. The template includes 36 different slides that feature large image placeholders for adding a more visual look to your presentations. There are lots of editable graphics, shapes, and tables included in the template too. Feel free to customize them however you like.

Research & Development PowerPoint Template

Research & Development Powerpoint Template

The minimal and clean design of this PowerPoint template makes it a great choice for delivering more effective research presentations. With fewer distractions in each slide, you’ll be able to convey your message more easily. The template comes with 30 unique slides. You can change the colors, fonts, and shapes to your preference as well.

Marketing Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

Marketing Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

When talking about research presentations, we can’t forget about marketing research. Most sales and marketing meetings usually include a sophisticated marketing research presentation. This PowerPoint template will help you design those research presentations without effort. It includes a total of 150 slides, featuring 30 unique slides in 5 different color schemes.

Free Business Market Research Presentation Template

Free Business Market Research Presentation Template

This is a free PowerPoint template designed for making business market research presentations. It gives you 27 different and fully customizable slides to create professional slideshows for your business meetings.

Free Business Data Analysis & Research Presentation

Free Business Market Research Presentation Template

With this PowerPoint template, you can create colorful and creative business research and data analysis presentation without any design skills. It includes 35 unique slides with lots of infographics and editable shapes. The template is free to use as well.

Lernen – Research Thesis PowerPoint Presentation

Lernen Research Thesis PowerPoint Presentation

Larnen is the ideal PowerPoint template for making research slideshows for your thesis presentations. It includes 30 unique slides that are available in light and dark color themes. It also has editable charts and graphs.

Aristo – Research Academic PowerPoint Presentation

Aristo - Research Academic PowerPoint Presentation

This PowerPoint template is also made with academic research presentations in mind. The template has a professional design with clean layouts and light colors. It comes with more than 30 different slides.

Biosearch – Science Research PowerPoint Template

Biosearch - Science Research PowerPoint Template

You can use this PowerPoint template to make professional presentations to present research data and results. It lets you choose from 40 different slides and 90 color themes. The slides are available in both light and dark color themes as well.

Neolabs – Laboratory & Science Research PPT

Neolabs - Laboratory & Science Research PPT

Neolabs is another science research presentation made with laboratory research teams in mind. You can use it to make effective slideshows to present your research findings. There are 30 unique slides in this template.

Free Business Cost Analysis PowerPoint Template

Free Business Cost Analysis PowerPoint Template

This is a free PowerPoint and Google Slides template that comes with 35 unique slides. It’s ideal for making research presentations related to business financials.

Research & Case Study PowerPoint Template

Research & Case Study Powerpoint Template

Create the perfect case study presentation using your research data with this PowerPoint template. It includes a modern slide design with infographics and charts for effectively presenting your data.

Liron Labs – Laboratory Research PowerPoint Template

Liron Labs - Laboratory Research PowerPoint Template

Another PowerPoint template for laboratory research presentations. This template includes 15 useful slide layouts with editable graphics, free fonts, and image placeholders. You can edit and customize the colors and text as well.

Research Thesis PowerPoint Template

Research Thesis Powerpoint Template

Make an attractive and creative research thesis presentation using this PowerPoint template. There are over 30 unique slides in this template. You can either use dark or light color themes to create your presentations.

Colorful Thesis Research PowerPoint Template

Colorful Thesis Research PowerPoint Template

If you want to make your research presentations look more colorful and creative, this PowerPoint template is for you. It has 15 different slides with fully customizable layouts. It has editable shapes, free fonts, and image placeholders too.

Free Data Analysis Research PowerPoint Template

Free Data Analysis Research PowerPoint Template

This PowerPoint template is also free to download. You can also customize it using PowerPoint or Google Slides. This template is ideal for marketing agencies and teams for presenting research and data analysis.

Laboratory & Science Research PowerPoint Template

Laboratory & Science Research PowerPoint Template

You can make more convincing and unique lab research presentations using this PowerPoint template. It features a creative design that will easily attract the attention of your audience. You can use it to make various other science and research presentations too. The template includes 30 unique slides.

The Biologist – Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

The Biologist - Research Presentation Powerpoint Template

Just as the name suggests, this PowerPoint template is designed with biology and science-related presentations in mind. It includes many useful slide layouts that can be used to make various types of research presentations. There are 30 different slide designs included in this template with editable shapes and colors.

Modern Science & Research PowerPoint Template

Modern Science & Research PowerPoint Template

If you’re looking for a PowerPoint template to create a modern-looking research presentation, this template is perfect for you. It features a collection of modern and attractive slides with lots of space for including images, icons, and graphs. There are 30 unique slides in the template with light and dark color themes to choose from.

Marketing Report & Research PowerPoint Template

Marketing Report & Research PowerPoint Template

This PowerPoint template doubles as both a research and report slideshow. You can use it to create various marketing reports as well as marketing research presentations. It comes with 30 slides that feature minimal and clean designs. It includes lots of editable charts, infographics, and tables as well.

Market Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

Market Research Presentation PowerPoint Template

Another modern PowerPoint template for making market research presentations. This template includes 25 unique slides with master slides, image placeholders, and editable colors. The template is ideal for marketing agencies and corporate businesses.

Free Academic Research Thesis PowerPoint Template

Free Academic Research Thesis Defense PowerPoint Template

This free PowerPoint template is designed for defending your academic research thesis dissertation. Needless to say, it’s a useful template for academics as well as teachers. The template features 23 unique slide layouts with customizable designs.

Free Economics Research Thesis Presentation Template

Free Economics Research Thesis Presentation Template

You can use this free template to create thesis and research presentations related to economics. It’s useful for academic students and gives you the freedom to choose from 21 slide layouts to make your own presentations.

Labia – Research Presentation Powerpoint Template

Labia - Research Presentation Powerpoint Template

Labia is a research presentation template made for professionals. It comes with a set of modern slides with multipurpose designs. That means you can customize them to make many different types of research presentations. There are 30 unique slides included in this template that come in 5 different color themes.

Medical Research Infographics & Powerpoint Slides

Medical Research Infographics & Powerpoint Slides

You’ll be using lots of charts, graphs, and infographics in your presentations to showcase data in visual form. Not to mention that visuals always work well for attracting the audience’s attention. You can use the infographic slides in this template to create better research presentations. Each slide features a unique infographic with animated designs.

Foreka – Biology Education & Research Presentation PPT

Foreka - Biology Education & Research PPT

Foreka is a PowerPoint template made for educational presentations, especially for covering topics related to biology. But it can also be customized to present your research presentations. The slides have very useful layouts that are most suitable for making research slide designs. There are 30 slides included with light and dark color themes.

Maua – Aesthetic Business Research PowerPoint Template

Maua - Aesthetic Business Research PowerPoint Template

This PowerPoint template is suitable for making elegant and stylish business reports and business research presentations. It’s especially great for making background research and competitor research slideshows. The template comes with 30 slides featuring master slides, image placeholders, and more.

World Data Scientist Powerpoint Presentation Template

World Data Scientist Powerpoint Presentation Template

You can use this PowerPoint template to create research presentations for many different types of topics, industries, and projects. The template includes lots of data-centric slides where you can easily showcase your data in visual form. There are 30 unique slides included with the template as well.

Free SWOT Analysis Infographics PowerPoint Template

Free SWOT Analysis Infographics PowerPoint Template

SWOT analysis is a commonly used methodology in business research presentations. With this free PowerPoint template, you can create stylish SWOT analysis infographics for your presentations. It includes SWOT infographics in 30 different styles.

Free Market Research Presentation Infographics PPT

Free Market Research Presenattion Infographics PPT

This is a collection of free PowerPoint slides that feature various styles of infographics you can use in your business and market research presentations. There are 30 different infographic slides included in this template. You can edit, change colors, and customize them however you like.

Sinara – Science & Research Powerpoint Template

Sinara - Science & Research Powerpoint Template

Sinara is a brilliant PowerPoint template you can use to craft a professional presentation for science-related research and reports. It’s available in 3 different color schemes as well as the option to customize the colors to your preference. The template comes in light and dark themes too.

Political Science and Research PowerPoint Template

Political Science and Research PowerPoint Template

This PowerPoint template will be quite useful to political science and international relations students. It features a total of 150 slides you can use to create attractive presentations for your research and methodologies. There are slides in 5 different color schemes.

How to Make a Research Poster in PowerPoint

We bet you didn’t know that you could actually design posters in PowerPoint. Well, you can and it’s very easy to do so.

How to Make a Research Poster in PowerPoint

The easiest way to make a poster in PowerPoint is to use a pre-made template like the one above.

You can easily copy one of the slides from a template, and resize the slide dimensions to create a vertical poster. Then add a title with a few lines of text and you’ll have yourself a poster.

Or, if you want to craft a poster from scratch, you can read our complete guide on how to create posters in PowerPoint with step-by-step instructions.

For more useful presentation templates, be sure to check out our best educational PowerPoint templates collection.


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  1. How to Make a Successful Research Presentation

    It can be frustrating to present only a fraction of your work and difficult to identify which aspects belong above water. But in the end, you want to be presenting with the happy penguins on top of the ice, not flailing in the water. Limit the scope of your presentation. Don't present your paper. Presentations are usually around 10 min long.

  2. 6 Tips For Giving a Fabulous Academic Presentation

    Tip #4: Practice. Practice. Practice. You should always practice your presentation in full before you deliver it. You might feel silly delivering your presentation to your cat or your toddler, but you need to do it and do it again. You need to practice to ensure that your presentation fits within the time parameters.

  3. How to Make a PowerPoint Presentation of Your Research Paper

    In addition, keep references in your presentation to the end, or in the handout. Your audience is there to hear about your work. Plan B: Anticipate possible questions for your presentation, and prepare slides that answer those specific questions in more detail, but have them at the END of your presentation. You can then jump to them, IF needed.

  4. How to make a scientific presentation

    Related Articles. This guide provides a 4-step process for making a good scientific presentation: outlining the scientific narrative, preparing slide outlines, constructing slides, and practicing the talk. We give advice on how to make effective slides, including tips for text, graphics, and equations, and how to use rehearsals of your talk to ...

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    The last thing you want in your academic presentation is content that will distract people from the key outcomes of your research. Academic presentation tip #8: Prepare presentation cue cards to reduce anxiety. I mentioned earlier in this article that I was really anxious about giving presentations at the very beginning of my academic career.

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    How to improve your PPT slides for an academic presentation at university. It discusses design, fonts, structure, animation, pictures, graphs, and referencin...

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    Presentation skills are the abilities and qualities necessary for creating and delivering a compelling presentation that effectively communicates information and ideas. They encompass what you say, how you structure it, and the materials you include to support what you say, such as slides, videos, or images. You'll make presentations at various ...

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    The "presentation slide" is the building block of all academic presentations, whether they are journal clubs, thesis committee meetings, short conference talks, or hour-long seminars. ... Technical problems are routinely part of the practice of sharing your work through presentations. Hence, you can design your slides to limit the impact ...

  9. How to Prepare and Give a Scholarly Oral Presentation

    To assist the audience, a speaker could start by saying, "Today, I am going to cover three main points.". Then, state what each point is by using transitional words such as "First," "Second," and "Finally.". For research focused presentations, the structure following the overview is similar to an academic paper.

  10. Giving Academic Presentations: Talks, Power Points, and Posters

    17 Giving Academic Presentations: Talks, ... In college courses, students may have to work individually or in groups to create and present posters. Some workplaces, as well, may require these skills. A well-organized poster presentation showcases the presenter's deep understanding of the topic. Convincing facts are provided, and there are ...

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    Oral presentations typically involve three important steps: 1) planning, 2) practicing, and 3) presenting. 1. Planning Oral presentations require a good deal of planning. Scholars estimate that approximately 50% of all mistakes in an oral presentation actually occur in the planning stage (or rather, lack of a planning stage).

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    Giving a good academic presentation. Think about the aim of your presentation and what you want to achieve. Concentrate on your audience: who they are and what they (want to) know. Choose the topic that interests you: involvement and motivation are key to confidence. Give your presentation a clear and logical organization so that everyone can ...

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    In terms of academic work the what is is the current level of knowledge or previous thinking on a subject and the what could be is the new knowledge or new thinking. ... Template for structuring an academic presentation. This MSWord document is a template for structuring a typical academic presentation, ...

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    Graduate-level research culminates in a thesis defense, while many academic and scientific disciplines are published in peer-reviewed journals. In a business context, PowerPoint research presentation is the default format for reporting the findings to stakeholders. Condensing months of work into a few slides can prove to be challenging.

  15. How To: Give an Academic Presentation

    A presentation is typically ~10 minutes (conferences can be longer, but 10 minutes is usually plenty), and the engagement from the audience is more passive: they just sit back and listen. Reading the paper probably takes closer to ~30 minutes, and it's more active, deliberate engagement. In the 10 minutes in which you have a captive audience ...

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    Frame your story (figure out where to start and where to end). Plan your delivery (decide whether to memorize your speech word for word or develop bullet points and then rehearse it—over and ...

  17. PDF How to prepare a literature presentation

    Presenting your Conference Paper 2 Literature review presentation …followed by a thesis advisory panel (TAP) Conferences Write a paper Reviewed If accepted

  18. The Best Resources for Academic Presentation Templates

    Canva. Canva is an incredible online resource that features a variety of templates to help you design anything from custom baby shower invitations to academic presentations. Its user-friendly features ensure that even the least artistic person will be able to produce visually effective presentations.

  19. Preparing for an Academic Presentation

    Each paper presentation should last about 10-12 minutes. Each panel session is started and concluded by the chair, who serves a dual role as a respondent. The panel chair is typically a professor of communication and each has their own style. In general, the chair will introduce the panel, the panel theme, and name all of the presenters and ...

  20. What is an Academic Presentation?

    What is an Academic Presentation? Information about presenting in an academic manner. What is an Academic Presentation? Last modified: ... In addition to the optimal functioning of the website, we work together with third parties to offer you personalized content based on your visit.

  21. What are professional and academic presentations?

    Most common, however, is that presentations are assigned to students as assessed pieces of work in which the student must research, prepare, memorise and deliver on a topic, receiving a grade on aspects such as body language, presentation language and the use of visual aids. While most academic presentations are a formally assessed aspect of a ...

  22. 30+ Best Research Presentation Templates for PowerPoint (PPT)

    Science & Research Presentation PowerPoint Template. This PowerPoint template is a perfect choice for preparing a research presentation to share your scientific findings and reports. The template has 30 unique slides with unlimited color options. There are a few infographics included in the slideshow as well.

  23. Impact of the provision of PowerPoint slides on learning

    Mean scores were 3.44 (SD 2.06) and 4.13 (SD 2.21) in the Y-ppt condition and N-ppt condition, respectively.Fig. 2 presents student scores in the Y-ppt (grey) and N-ppt (white) conditions using a raincloud plot (Allen, Poggiali, Whitaker, Marshall, & Kievit, 2019).For each condition, raw data are presented at the bottom of the plot and probability density is shown at the top.