GUIDELINES FOR THE PREPARATION OF
The following guidelines, for both oral presentations and poster presentations,
have been adapted from those distributed by the Program Committee of the
American Association of Physical Anthropologists. These guidelines are
reproduced with permission.
GUIDELINES FOR ORAL PRESENTATIONS
Oral presentations are greatly enhanced by use of good slides or other
visual materials. Good slides convey the essential material of the talk,
including verbal points and research results. Slides allow the listener
to both see and hear, which enhances understanding. A paper which is read
and presented without slides is difficult to understand because the style
of writing differs from the style of speaking and the writing style is
more difficult for the listener to understand.
A good oral presentation should : (1) define the problem or state the central
question being addressed; (2) indicate its importance; (3) tell what was
done; (4) tell how it was done, (5) state what was found; and (6) consider
the broader implications of the findings. In a 12-minute talk, it is not
possible to cite all previous work, provide detailed descriptions of methods,
or include all the data obtained. A good presentation seeks to make a single
point, and to make it simply, clearly, and concisely. In order to maximize
the effectiveness of your oral presenation, please consider the following
- Clear purpose.
For each submission, please complete all portions of the Presentation
Information Form, and send 3 copies of this form with your abstract. Note
that information about the disk should also appear on the disk label (see
- Freedom from non-essential information.
Unless the purpose of the talk
is to present research methods or technologies, omit all but key methodological
details. Save non-essential information for responding to questions in
the discussion period.
- Slide preparation.
- Proportions - although the external dimensions of a slide are 2 x
2 inches (50 x 50 mm), the projected field is smaller. Plan and design
your slide with these proportions in mind. Fill the field to the extent
- Use no more than 7 words per line and no more than 7 lines per slide.
- Title your slide with a single, easily interpretable message.
- With line graphs, label lines directly, rather than using legends.
- Use colors with high contrast, including contrast with the background
and adjacent colors. Although they might look good on a computer monitor,
dark blue, red, and purple, for example, might not be distinguishable when
- Graphs, diagrams, and tables.
Results are best presented in graphic
form. Diagrams can be used to present research designs and study hypotheses.
Keep graphs and diagrams simple. Avoid tables when presenting results,
as tables tend to contain more information than can be located, read, and
absorbed in the time that it is projected.
- Tell a unified story.
Organize your talk around a central theme. Develop
a clear line of thought that does not get lost in detail. Provide an ending
that summarizes the main points, conclusions, and important issues raised
by the material presented.
SIMPLICITY AND LEGIBILITY ARE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE ORAL PRESENTATIONS
GUIDELINES FOR POSTER PRESENTATIONS
An author may wish to choose a poster presentation for several reasons.
There is more opportunity for discussion with interested viewers; several
hours rather than 5 minutes are available. More persons can view a poster
than listen to a talk. An oral presentation can be heard at one and only
one time, whereas a poster presentation is available over most of a day,
and thus its viewing can be tailored to fit the interested person's schedule.
Therefore, the opportunity to reach as large an audience as possible and
for useful feedback and discussion are greater (or at least as great) for
a poster than an oral presentation. Good oral and poster presentations
entail equal effort.
- Dimensions and mounting instructions.
Poster display boards are
approximately 8 feet wide (2.4 m) and 4 feet high (1.2 m). Exact dimensions
may vary slightly depending upon the boards actually provided by the hotel.
Bring your own pushpins or thumbtacks. Mount the component pieces on heavy
paper ("poster board") that is readily available at office supply
or college book stores. Each component piece can be mounted individually
or several pieces can be grouped together on a single backing board. Using
a different color for the backing board can effectively highlight selected
elements. In making your poster, remember that your poster will be travelling
with you - think about how you will carry it to the meeting.
Start early! Make an initial sketch of your poster presentation,
allocating space for Introduction, Methods and Research Design, Results,
Summary, and Conclusions. Focus attention on a few important points. Try
different styles of presentation to achieve clarity and simplicity. Graphs
and diagrams provide a clearer statement of your research results than
do tables. Use limited text to convey the essential information concerning
the problem under investigation, methodology, results, and salient summary/concluding
The title should be legible 8 feet away; the remaining words
should be easily read by viewers 5 feet away. Poster legibility suffers
when type is too small. The letter size should be 18 points, with 20-24
even better. Smaller point size (12-14) is discouraged; for comparison,
this text is 10 point.. Headings (e.g., Materials, Methods, Results) should
be in bold print. Heading letter size should be larger than the text (30-36
point). Use short, informative titles ("headline" style) to state
the essential point of each figure. Avoid abbreviations, acronyms, and
jargon. Use consistent type styles and letter sizes throughout the text.
Some have the misperception that posters are simply mounted papers, as
though the author attaches a paper to a poster board that might otherwise
be presented orally. Authors should consider having copies of figures,
tables, and references for distribution, if not having copies of the full
text of the poster available.
- Balance between figures, tables, and text.
Figures and tables should
occupy approximately half the viewing area. If you have only a few illustrations,
make them large. Use text to state the problem, frame the problem in the
appropriate context, summarize results, and state major conclusions.
- Eye movement.
The pathway travelled by the eye should be natural - either
down the columns or along the rows.
SIMPLICITY AND LEGIBILITY ARE KEYS TO EFFECTIVE POSTER PRESENTATIONS
In addition to these suggestions for effective presentations, other recommendations
and tips can be found in the following:
Fink, A. HOW TO REPORT ON SURVEYS. Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage Publications,
This 91-page book is Volume 9 in the series entitled THE SURVEY KIT, and
while geared to survey research, it contains useful information applicable
for reporting results of any type of scientific study.