Prior to the event we asked attendees to undertake a research project to be presented to the other schools at the Conference. All presentations were competing for The Association for Clinical Biochemistry & Laboratory Medicine Trophy for the Don Henderson Award.
Hitting the brief:
The highest scoring projects stuck to the brief; had a hypothesis, well defined objectives and clear presentations. Students are reminded to read the brief, it is there for a reason, and make sure they follow it because they will be marked against it!
The winning group had a clear hypothesis and a well structured approach to the project; they discussed the significance of the results and understood the limitations of their work. The second place group chose a subject which is very relevant in today’s world and demonstrated a good knowledge of research methodology such as limiting the number of variables in the project.
The library based projects were also well received by the judges, although some could have had a better defined hypothesis, one seemed to have no hypothesis at all. Two of the library projects were strong contenders for a prize.
Your presentation is your chance to make sure the audience understands your work – do not make assumptions that they know what you are doing…
The majority of the spoken presentations were very good – some were excellent and clearly a lot of thought had gone into preparing these which was noted by the judges. The judges were also impressed with the students’ confidence and all should be commended for taking on this task.
The quality of slides was quite variable… it is very important to have a clear presentation so don’t clutter your slides with too many words; one word on a slide will be read by everyone, a hundred words on a slide will be read by no one! The quality of graphs also could be improved – many had fonts that were too small to be easily read by the audience; a clearly labelled graph is a valuable part of any presentation – more practice with Excel graphs please.
Know your source of information, even if it is ‘just an internet search’. Have a look at any Wikipedia page – there will be a list of references at the bottom of the page. Learn about references and how to quote them and put a reference at the bottom of your slide that’s relevant to the information you’re presenting.
The best projects paid equal attention to all aspects of the work and the students’ demonstrated this in their presentation. Students should take time to introduce the subject matter and methods, and make sure their audience understands the hypothesis as well as the results. Leave time to discuss the significance of the work and any subsequent work they may do in light of the results you obtained this time.
Many of the presentations are available to download here as PDFs: