How to Prepare Slides for a Research Presentation (Using PowerPoint)

How to Prepare PowerPoint Slides for a Final Year Project Presentation

As Always Let’s Start with defining a Research Paper;

A research paper is an expanded essay that requires you to present your interpretation or evaluation or argument. It seems pretty straight forward? Good! Now, with that out of the way. Let’s move on to_

A Research Presentation is simply the presentation of your research. It is presented before a panel. These panels are typically made up of professors, lecturers, and supervisors, and sometimes in front of your peers.

The first advice I can give you is to avoid making mistakes.

As a student and/or researcher, you have to be careful not to make mistakes. Ok, I said that twice. It’s essential to communicate your ideas in a way that is both easy to understand, extensively covered and without miscommunication, poor phrasing, spelling, and grammar errors.

Now let’s talk about the actual slides. There are the guidelines you need to know to create amazing slides for your research presentation:

1. Simplicity is your Friend

The default orientation for PowerPoint slides is Landscape.

They know what there’s doing leave it like that.

It was developed as a suitable way to present graphical data that would support the speaker and supplement the presentation. The slides themselves were never intended to be the “star of the show” (the star, of course, is your audience). People came to hear you and be moved or informed (or both) by you and your information. Do not allow your message and your storytelling technique to get wrecked by unnecessarily complicated, busy, and junk-filled slides.
Nothing in your slide should be redundant. “White space” and/or “negative space” is your friend.

Resist the desire to fill empty areas on your slide with random graphics or text.

2. Don’t use a lot of Bullet Points & Text

Remember you’re not presenting to yourself. The presentation is to the benefit of the audience.

Sending your audience to sleep with large amounts of bullet points isn’t going to help your presentation. Which brings us to the issue of text. The best slides may very well have no text at all.

That may sound insane considering the dependency of text slides today, but the best PowerPoint slides will be virtually meaningless without the narrative (that is you). Remember, the slides are meant to support the story of the speaker, not make the speaker superfluous. Many people often say something like this: “Sorry, I missed your presentation. I hear it was great. Can you send me your PowerPoint slides?” But if they are suitable slides, they will be of little use without you. Instead of a copy of your PowerPoint slides, it is far better to prepare a written document which highlights your content from the presentation and expands on that content. Audiences are much better served to receive a detailed, printed handout as a takeaway from the performance, rather than a mere copy of your PowerPoint slides.

3. Don’t get crazy with Transition Animations

Use object builds and slide transitions judiciously. Object builds (also called animations), such as bullet points, should not be animated on every slide. Some animation is a good thing but sticks to the most subtle and professional (similar to what you might see on the evening TV news broadcast). A simple “Wipe Left-to-Right” (from the “Animations” menu) is suitable for a bullet point, but a “Move” or “Fly” for example is too tedious and slow (and yet, is used in many presentations today). Listeners will get bored very quickly if they are asked to endure slide after slide of animation. For transitions between slides, use no more than two-three different types of transition effects and do not place transition effects between all slides.

4. Use HD Images and Graphics

You have the option of taking your pictures or purchasing professional stock photography or use the wide variety of HD images available online (be cautious of copyright).

But never, not ever do you stretch a small, low-resolution photo to fit your layout – doing so will degrade the resolution even further. Avoid using PowerPoint Clip Art or other cartoonish line art. Again, if it is included in the software, your audience has seen it a million times before.

5. Don’t Use PowerPoint Templates

Yes, you need a clear and consistent design throughout you.

You need a consistent visual theme throughout your presentation, but most of the PowerPoint templates have been seen by audiences’ countless times.

Using a Template kills your presentation from the first slide as you instantly seem lazy. Your audience expects uniqueness and anything short of that would probably result in a couple of removed marks right from the start.

6. Charts are your Friends

Always be asking yourself, “How much do I need?” Presenters are usually guilty of including too much data in their on-screen tables. There are several ways to display your data in graphic form; Pie Chart, Bar Charts, Graphs, and much more.

7. Think Color Balance

Colors are emotional. The right color can help persuade and motivate. Studies show that color usage can increase interest and improve learning comprehension and retention.

You do not need to be an expert in color theory, but it’s good for business professionals to know at least a bit on the subject. Colors can be divided into two general categories: Cool (such as blue and green) and Warm (such as orange and red). Cool colors work best for backgrounds as they appear to recede away from us into the environment. Warm colors generally work best for objects in the foreground (such as text) because they seem to be coming at us. It is no surprise, then, that the most ubiquitous PowerPoint slide color scheme includes a blue background with yellow text. You do not need to feel compelled to use this color scheme, though you may choose to use a variation of those colors.

If you are presenting in a dark room (such as a large hall), then a dark background (dark blue, grey, etc.) with white or light text will work fine. But if you plan to keep most of the lights on (which is highly advisable), then a white background with black or dark text works much better. In rooms with a good deal of ambient light, a screen image with a dark background and light text tends to washout, but the dark text on a light background will maintain its visual intensity a bit better. Learn more:

8. Use the Right Fonts

You can’t underestimate the relevance of fonts. They communicate the message you’re looking to deliver accordingly.

This is why you have to be very intentional about the fonts you use.

I recommend using a single font everywhere on your entire research presentation and use no more than two complementary fonts (e.g., Arial and Arial Bold). Make sure you know the difference between a Serif font (e.g., Times New Roman) and a Sans-Serif font (Helvetica or Arial). Serif fonts were designed to be used in documents filled with lots of text. Serif fonts are said to be easier to read at small point sizes, but for on-screen presentations, the serifs tend to get lost due to the relatively low resolution of projectors. San-serif fonts are generally best for PowerPoint presentations but try to avoid the ubiquitous Helvetica. I often choose to use Gill Sans as it is somewhere in between a serif and a sans-serif font and is professional yet friendly and “conversational.” Regardless of what font you choose, make sure the text can be read from the back of the room.

9. Use Video or Audio

The use of audio and audio-visual in the right situations can make your research presentation can be magical.

Use videos to illustrate examples that actively promote cognitive processing. Note this is the best way people learn. You can utilize video clips inside PowerPoint without exiting PowerPoint.

10. Spend Time in the Slide Sorter

People understand better when information is presented in small pieces or segments. Break up one slide into, say, two-three slides so that your presentation has a more natural and logical flow or process.