Research Presentations

Annika Konrad, English 403, Fall 2017

Guidelines for Research Paper Presentations


Research paper presentations in English 403 serve multiple functions: it’s a chance to practice verbalizing your research process, a chance to get feedback on a work-in-progress, and a chance to practice your presentation skills. Although the format is largely informal, I expect you to be professional and rehearsed. You are not expected to be done with your research paper by the time you present, but your presentation should still be a polished presentation of a work-in-progress.


Just as everything else we do in this class, you are expected to try to make your presentation as accessible as possible to different modes of learning and processing information. You can find various tips and guidelines for making accessible presentations at Learning how to give accessible presentations is a process, so I do not expect you to do it perfectly or give a presentation that is accessible in every possible way. If you have questions, please do no hesitate to ask me. I will appreciate any attempts you make at providing access. At the very least, please email your slides and handout to me so that I can view them on my laptop during your presentation.



Please be sure to prepare your presentation carefully, so that you engage your audience in your research and encourage questions and perhaps suggestions for revision. You’ll need to introduce your topic in an interesting way, briefly explain your research methods, and use the bulk of your time to highlight the most important findings in some depth. Be sure to include some specifics with examples or stories from the data. A talk like this isn’t a written journal article; even academic talks generally have a more informal, narrative style. Tell us a story – don’t recite facts.


You’ll have 10-15 minutes for your presentation and an additional 5-10 minutes for questions.  There will not be time to present all that you write in your paper, so you’ll have to be sure to choose only what is the most interesting to you and your audience.

Visual Aides

Use slides or other visuals to help engage your audience and focus the presentation.  Additionally, everyone should prepare a one-page handout to accompany the presentation.  Along with the slides, the handout should distill your main questions and information and help you narrow the focus of your presentation. Include your name and the date on the handout, as well as the title of your project. The handout will give audience members an additional way to engage with your ideas.


As you prepare, please practice ahead of time.  Practicing will not only help you to polish your delivery, but also help to make sure your presentation doesn’t run on too long.  Practicing is the only way to know what you really have time to cover.  If your presentation goes on too long, I may need to cut you off in order to make sure everyone has enough time.  (If you want more Q and A time, that’s fine, but then shorten your presentation to allow for more discussion.)

Q & A

Your conclusion should invite your audience to respond to something you’ve said or to ask questions.  Be specific (don’t just say, “any questions?”). View this as an opportunity to get feedback from a real live audience who is invested and interested in your work.