Best Practices for Conference Presentation

March 21, 2018

With the new and improved Student Research Symposium presentation rubric, knowing best practices can be a big help. At this month’s GrTS, creators of the rubric Emily James and Scott Bates share information on how it was created and how it applies to you at both USU conferences and beyond.

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The rubric for the Student Research Symposium (SRS) has been updated. Emily James, the mind behind this year’s SRS, walks through the new rubric point by point, explaining each category and answering questions.

Some changes were made from the old rubric to make it better and more applicable to conferences both in and outside of Utah State. Redundancies were edited and the focus was shifted to make sure your research was appropriately important. Finally, the scale on which presentations are graded on has been revised. While the old rubric graded on a scale from “Poor” to “Excellent”, no one wants to be told that their presentation was poor. The new scale goes from “Novice” to “Expert.”

The Fallacy of Knowledge is a social psychology term that talks about how as you learn more things, you forget how hard it is to learn those things, and how other people don’t know all the foundational information that you know. This is important to remember as you give a presentation, so you can effectively communicate your ideas and information to the judges.

Emily went through the rubric section by section, explaining each of the 6 components.

  • Is there a larger question at hand?
  • Was your process and methodology clear?
  • Were your findings and results clearly communicated?
  • Does the order of your presentation make sense?
  • Is the text understandable and free of grammatical errors?
  • Are the visuals you use appropriate and relevant to your research? Do they serve a purpose?
  • Did you effectively convey the context for the project? Is there a need for this information in the field?
  • Did your research use innovative techniques that advance the field of study? Is the research replicable?
  • Did your conclusion add significantly to your field? Is there somewhere this information can go?
  • Did you appropriately use research already in the field?
  • Are you able to explain and expand upon your visual aid?
  • Can you answer the questions asked effectively and accurately?
  • Is your poster/presentation well formatted and easy to read?
  • Does the layout make sense and is visually appealing?
  • Do the images and figures fit and look nice?
  • Were you well-rehearsed and appeared comfortable with your audience?
  • Was your delivery clear and concise?
  • Did your body language and appearance convey professionalism?