Chapter 7 Presenting your Findings

Now that you have worked so hard in your project, how to ensure that you can communicate your findings in an effective and efficient way? In this section, I will introduce a few tips that could help you prepare your slides and preparing for your final presentation.

7.1 Sections of the Presentation

When preparing your slides, you need to ensure that you have a clear roadmap. You have a limited time to explain the context of your study, your results, and the main takeaways. Thus, you need to be organized and efficient when deciding what material will be included in the slides.

You need to ensure that your presentation contains the following sections:

  1. Motivation: Why did you choose your topic? What is the bigger question?
  2. Research question: Needs to be clear and concise. Include secondary questions, if available, but be clear about what is your research question.
  3. Literature Review: How does your paper fit in the overall literature? What are your contributions?
  4. Context: Give an overview of the issue and the population/countries that you analyzed
  5. Study Characteristics: This section is key, as it needs to include your model, identification strategy, and introduce your data (sources, summary statistics, etc.).
  6. Results: In this section, you need to answer your research question(s). Include tables that are readable.
  7. Additional analysis: Here, include any additional information that your public needs to know. For instance, did you try different specifications? did you find an obstacle (i.e. your data is very noisy, the sample is very small, something else) that may bias your results or create some issues in your analysis? Tell your audience! No research project is perfect, but you need to be clear about the imperfections of your project.
  8. Conclusion: Be repetitive! What was your research question? How did you answer it? What did you find? What is next in this topic?

7.2 How to prepare your slides

When preparing your slides, remember that humans have a limited capacity to pay attention. If you want to convey your convey your message in an effective way, you need to ensure that the message is simple and that you keep your audience attention. Here are some strategies that you may want to follow:

  • Have a clear roadmap at the beginning of the presentation. Tell your audience what to expect.
  • Number your slides. This will help you and your audience to know where you are in your analysis.
  • Ensure that each slide has a purpose
  • Ensure that each slide is connected to your key point.
  • Make just one argument per slide
  • State the objective of each slide in the headline
  • Use bullet points. Do not include more than one sentence per bullet point.
  • Choose a simple background.
  • If you want to direct your audience attention to a specific point, make it more attractive (using a different font color)
  • Each slide needs to have a similar structure (going from the general to the particular detauls).
  • Use images/graphs when possible. Ensure that the axes for the graphs are clear.
  • Use a large font for your tables. Keep them as simple as possible.
  • If you can say it with an image, choose it over a table.
  • Have an Appendix with slides that address potential questions.

7.3 How to prepare your presentation

One of the main constraints of having simple presentations is that you cannot rely on them and read them. Instead, you need to have extra notes and memorize them to explain things beyond what is on your slides. The following are some suggestions on how to ensure you communicate effectively during your presentation.

  • Practice, practice, practice!
  • Keep the right volume (practice will help you with that)
  • Be journalistic about your presentation. Indicate what you want to say, then say it.
  • Ensure that your audience knows where you are going
  • Avoid passive voice.
  • Be consistent with the terms you are using. You do not want to confuse your audience, even if using synonyms.
  • Face your audience and keep an eye contact.
  • Do not try reading your slides
  • Ensure that your audience is focused on what you are presenting and there are no other distractions that you can control.
  • Do not rush your presentation. Speak calmly and controlled.
  • Be comprehensive when answering questions. Avoid yes/no answers. Instead, rephrase question (to ensure you are answering the right question), then give a short answer, then develop.
  • If you lose track, do not panick. Go back a little bit or ask your audience for assistance.
  • Again, practice is the secret.

You have worked so hard in your final project, and the presentation is your opportunity to share that work with the rest of the world. Use this opportunity to shine and enjoy it.

  1. Since this is the first iteration of the Guide, I expect that there are going to be multiple typos and structure issues. Please feel free to let me know, and I will correct accordingly.↩︎

  2. Note that you would still need to refine some of the good questions even more.↩︎