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Research Paper Presentation Guidelines Ppt

Using PowerPoint in a Research Presentation

The following module will discuss the guidelines for creating an effective PowerPoint and how to appropriately use a PowerPoint in a research presentation.

Learning Objectives

  • List the important guidelines that should be followed when creating an effective PowerPoint.
  • Discuss how to appropriately use a PowerPoint during a research presentation.

The PowerPoint presentation originated as a valuable tool in the business world in the mid-1990s and its application soon spread to education. In a business setting, the goal of the PowerPoint presentation is typically to present information in a professional, yet entertaining, way.  In an educational setting, however, the goal is to teach and provide knowledge.  The PowerPoint presentation should serve as an aid in academic settings that enhances education by presenting information in a clear, concise and logical format.  Because the goal of the PowerPoint is different in education, there are special considerations that should be taken into account when creating a PowerPoint for an academic presentation.

The following YouTube video provides additional information regarding the strategies that should be used when creating the PowerPoint slides, as well as guidelines that should be followed when delivering the presentation using PowerPoint.

Giving a Scientific Presentation - Hints and Tips:

Following is a summary of some of the best practices that should be followed when creating PowerPoint slides for a presentation. Following these best practices will ensure that presenters are using PowerPoint appropriately as visual aid to augment their research presentation and enhance learning for the audience, without the PowerPoint taking over the presentation.

  • Less is better. Keep this in mind throughout all aspects of creating a PowerPoint for classroom use.  Many bells and whistles are available when creating a PowerPoint. However, just because they exist, does not mean they should be used.  Overwhelmingly, the research shows that the audience is easily distracted by flashing and flying lines of texts, bright colors and unnecessary sound.  None of these extras will improve learning.
  • Use a consistent and simple slide format.  Use a design template to ensure that all slides are consistent in terms of font, color, theme, background, and style.  Changes in the basic slide design within the same presentation are distracting. 
  • Make sure the font is easy to read and consistent throughout.  The San Serif font, with a minimum size of 30 points, is a common recommendation for PowerPoint presentations.
  • It is acceptable to emphasize keywords through the use of bold face, italicized or underlined words.
  • Minimize text.  It is recommended that each slide contain between 3-7 bullet points with 3-7 words per point. Do not use complete sentences. If the slide contains too much text, the audience will spend time reading and not listening. Presenters may also be tempted to simply read the PowerPoint slide, greatly reducing the effectiveness of the presentation. The PowerPoint is meant to be a guide, with the presenter filling in the majority of the content and the details.
  • Disclose one bullet point at a time to keep the audience focused.
  • Use consistent slide transition.  Flashy transitions do not add educational value and again, can be distracting.
  • Images, tables, graphs, charts, and videos can be used and are effective when they are relevant to the topic and presented in a simple format.  Keep text to a minimum or use no text on these slides. The presenter should provide the information and the explanation and the image should only serve as a visual aid to reinforce the concept.

How to Create a Power Point Presentation from a Finished Paper

Academic presentations are often based on research in progress or unfinished work. However, sometimes we may find ourselves creating presentations based on full drafts of papers.

What happens when you have completed your 8 or 10,000 word article and now you have to create a 15-minute presentation on the basis of your paper? Luckily, there is a fairly straightforward system you can use to create a presentation from a full paper.



I once heard someone say that a presentation should be viewed as an advertisement for a paper, rather than an attempt to present all of the information in the paper. Keeping this in mind will help you to focus on what’s important and avoid the temptation to attempt to convey all of the rich information in your paper in a brief presentation. Unfortunately, trying to cover too much often means you fail to highlight what’s important.

In my field – Sociology – there is a straightforward formula for giving presentations. I am sure that there is one in your field as well, and it may be very similar to the formula in Sociology. In Sociology, presenters often use Power Point, and presentations often look like this:


  • Introduction (1 slide)
  • Research Questions/Hypotheses (1 slide)
  • Literature Review/Theory (1 slide)
  • Methods & Data Collection (1 slide)
  • Data Presentation/Findings (3-5 slides)
  • Conclusion (1 slide)


Admittedly, many people use many more slides than this, but I advocate for sticking to the rule of no more than one slide per minute. I also think it is important to focus most of your attention on your findings, and as little as possible on other people’s theories and findings. And, you will bore people tremendously if you spend too much time on your methods and data collection. There are many exceptions of course – if your paper is all theory or primarily methodological, then it will look quite different.

To create a presentation from a full-length paper or article, you can pull out the most important parts of the article, based on the above list – or based on the subheadings in your own article.

For the introduction, you can use the same compelling introduction you use in your paper. If you are using Power Point, try and find a provocative image that conveys the point of your paper.

Your next slide should contain your research questions – which your introduction should point to.

Then, spend no more than a minute contextualizing your research questions and project within the literature. Don’t make the mistake of spending too much time reviewing what others have written about your topic. Spend just enough time on the existing literature to make it clear that your work contributes to existing research in the field. People don’t come to conferences to hear literature reviews – they come to hear about new research like yours. The purpose of the literature review is to establish the importance of your work, not to show you have read every relevant article.

Once you have established the importance of your project, explain just enough of your methods and data collection to establish your ability to speak on the topic. Think about the questions people might have – what data set did you use? How many interviews did you carry out? How many months of participant observation did you complete? How many newspaper articles did you code? What is the timeframe for the data? Give just enough information to validate your findings.

Try to get through all of the above in the first five minutes so that you can spend as much of your time as possible sharing the rich detail of your own data and analyses. If you have ethnographic data, you can tell one story from the field for each point you want to make. For statistical data, you can present a table with findings for each finding you wish to highlight. For interview data, you can use one interview quote for each theme you plan to highlight.

Once you have chosen the parts of your findings you wish to highlight, you can leave a minute or two for your conclusion.

As you make each slide, remember to put as few words as possible on each slide, and place an image on each slide to convey your points visually.

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