Presentation & Discussion Guidelines
The format of presentations will follow that of a professional academic conference. Please read the guidelines carefully.
Each participant will:
- Present a paper;
- Serve as the discussant for another participant’s paper; and
- Participate actively in open-floor discussions.
Presentation: 20 to 25 minutes
- It is extremely important for the presenter to follow the given time guidelines. Beginner presenters consistently make the mistake of taking too much time. Plan your presentation to be 25 minutes or less. Practice your presentation while timing yourself. If you go over time, the chair of the session may cut you off regardless of where you are in your presentation.
- Because of the time limit, a conference presenter typically begins with the introduction presenting the motivation/significance of the research question and then immediately states key results thereafter. This tells the audience what to look for. After you have stated the results, you may then fill the “in-between” with questions, a survey of literature, and additional results. You will not be able to present everything in your paper. Focus on the most important highlights.
- Let the last part of the planned presentation be topics such as applications of the main results or future research agenda. These can be cut out if you run out of time when presenting.
- Seek advice from your thesis advisor on how to present your paper in 25 minutes or less.
- Provide some form of visual aid. PowerPoint presentations, overhead projection, and/or handouts have all been used in advance.
Discussion Led by Discussant: 5 minutes
A discussant is responsible for generating discussion about the paper. A discussion typically contains the following.
- Overview: Summarize the main points of the paper. Highlight what the paper contributes to the literature.
- Extensions: Suggest possible extensions to the author’s work. What else could have been done? What are areas for further research?
- Questions: Pose a couple of discussion-worthy questions to the room.
- The presenter then responds to the issues and questions raised by the discussant.
The presenter typically takes notes during the discussion so that the response can be narrowly focussed.
- The discussant may communicate with the presenter while preparing prior to the presentation.
- As a discussant, ensure not to take too much time. Leave time for the presenter to respond.
- The discussant, cognizant of the short amount of time, may choose to convey some of their comments to the presenter after the presentation session (say, over lunch or dinner).
- Seek advice from your thesis advisor as to the best way to discuss a paper.
Open Floor Discussion (Q&A): 5 to 10 minutes
The general audience and the session chair pose questions and make comments to the presenter. Generally, this is moderated by the session chair. All are welcome to participate.