The following resources have been provided as a stepping stone for those who require more information about how to prepare for a research conference. Some of the sites are tailored to specific fields of study. Please speak with your faculty mentor or adviser if you need more assistance.
Tips on Writing a Proposal for Your Submission
An academic proposal is the first step in producing a thesis or major project. Its intent is to convince a supervisor or academic committee that your topic and approach are sound so that you gain approval to proceed with the actual research. As well as indicating your plan of action, an academic proposal should show your theoretical positioning and your relationship to past work in the area.
Particular disciplines may have standard ways of organizing the proposal. Ask within your department about expectations in your field. In any case, in organizing your material, be sure to emphasize the specific focus of your work—your research question. Use headings, lists, and visuals to make reading and cross-referencing easy. Employ a concrete and precise style to show that you have chosen a feasible idea and can put it into action. Here are some general tips:
- Start with why your idea is worth doing (its contribution to the field), then fill in how (technicalities about topic and method).
- Give enough detail to establish feasibility but not so much as to bore the reader.
- Show your ability to deal with possible problems or changes in focus.
- Show confidence and eagerness (use I and active verbs, concise style, positive phrasing).
Procter, Margaret. “Writing Advice Home.” Writing Advice, Link
Tips on Presenting Your Project
1) BE CONFIDENT! You've worked on this project. You know what it's about, and you know why it's so great, so don't scare yourself into thinking otherwise. Be confident about it. Give us a smile too. People are generally more willing to listen to presenters who smile and look confident. It's half the battle.
2) Find a Hook. According to Time magazine, you only have people's attention for 15 seconds before they start to lose interest, so you need to find a way to keep their interest. Find something in your project that is the most interesting; perhaps it's a startling statistic you found or something you discovered that could better people's futures. Whatever it is, test it on a few friends to see if it gets their attention, and if not, try again.
3) Slow and Steady. Many times, when we get nervous, we tend to speed up and forget the details. If you're having trouble, stop, take a deep breath and pace yourself. Slow and steady wins the race.
4) When in Doubt Write it Out. If you have trouble putting together something coherent about your project, write it on notecards first. You can make revisions and then say it again with or without the notecards. Don't try to memorize your information, but use the cards just as a way to better understand your thoughts. Writing things out will help you to remember all you have to say and help you to maintain a good speed.
5) Feedback is Your Friend. Some people are afraid to tell their ideas or test their speech because they're concerned others won't like it. However, feedback and critiques are your biggest resource to help you understand if you're presenting in an interesting and understandable manner. Don't be afraid to ask others to listen for a moment while you tell them about your project. Use their opinions and advice to make your project better.
General Research Help
Contact the Presentation Practice Center on campus to ensure your presentation is professional and meets the standards of the R&CW Conference.