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Presenting Your Work

Identifying Opportunities

There are many opportunities to present the digital work you have done this semester. These include:

Funding

The UNF Office of Undergraduate Research offers conference and travel grants for students. For more information, contact Dr. Karen Cousins

Writing a Proposal

Generally, in order to apply to present at a conference, you need to submit a proposal. Usually this will consist of a title and abstract, along with your contact information. Commonly the word limit for the abstract will be 250 words, but this may vary.

Types of Presentations

What you say in your abstract will depend entirely on your project and what you want to discuss. In general, though, presentations related to editing projects can be divided into two categories. Your first step is to figure out what type of presentation you'd like to give.

1. Descriptive Presentation

In most cases, you likely just want to create a basic descriptive presentation in which you provide an overview of your project. Here is a basic format that will work for most:

Paragraph 1: Background information on the document(s) that you've edited, including identification of the author and any historical circumstances that may be relevant.

Paragraph 2: A discussion of what you're going to do this presentation. Generally, you should give background on the project and discuss some aspects that you think are more important. You might also try to connect your work to some larger context, or point to work to be done.

Here is a skeleton of what that might look like:

Jane Doe was... She wrote... These documents reflect... They are important because...

In this presentation, I discuss my work editing one of Jane Doe's... I consider the content of this document, which... I also discuss some of the challenges this document presents due to... I conclude by connecting my work on this project to larger efforts to...

2. Analytical Presentation

A more advanced type of presentation will look at a specific aspect of a project. This type of presentation will necessarily need some of the background information that you would provide in the descriptive presentation above, but will focus primarily on identifying and analyzing a specific problem. (Note that this generally isn't a problem related to paleography, or the reading of handwriting.)

Here's a basic format:

Paragraph 1: Brief description of the project in question. Explanation of the problem you'd like to examine.

Paragraph 2: A discussion of what you're going to do this presentation. Generally, this will involve your approach to addressing the problem, and perhaps some reflection on the larger implications of your work on this problem.

Here is a skeleton of what that might look like:

Jane Doe was... Her writings are important because... A challenging aspect of editing these documents is the way that Doe..

In this presentation, I consider a possible editorial approach to addressing this complexity by... I share a model for... and discuss my preliminary results in implementing that model... I conclude by considering how this approach might be useful to other editorial projects that...

Creating a Poster

Dimensions

Each conference will have specific requirements regarding the dimensions, or maximum dimensions, of posters. A poster that is 36" tall by 48" wide, however, will generally not exceed the maximum dimensions. When in doubt, use those dimensions.

Getting Started

In general, it's best to adapt an existing template. The Center for Instruction and Research Technology at UNF has a gallery of templates online. Note that there are three tabs: Horizontal, Vertical and Trifold. Unless the conference calls for vertical posters, which is not common, choose from the Horizontal or Trifold templates. The Trifold templates are all sized to 36"x48" and have a gutter 12" in on both sides, which is where the poster would fold if printed and displayed on a trifold board (it's preferable not to have body text crossing that gutter, as it can be hard to read when the poster is bent).

As a default option, choose one of the templates from the Trifold page.

These templates have been professionally designed, and so it's recommended that you modify their visual aspects as little as possible.

Structure

Most templates will have general section headings, or will be laid out with scientific presentations in mind. You will almost always need to customize these sections headings for the type of presentation under consideration here.

1. Descriptive Presentation

For the descriptive presentation outlined above, here is a possible set of sections:

Introduction: A very brief, high-level look at what this poster is about

Background: Contextual information related to writer, historical circumstances

Document(s): A discussion of the specific document(s) you have edited. Include some document images when possible.

Method: Some information about your editorial process, the tools you have used, etc. 

Problems/Challenges/Discoveries, etc.: A section in which you share something that you've learned or discovered, or that you think is noteworthy about this project.

Conclusion: A brief summary of the poster, perhaps connecting your work to some larger context

OR

Next Steps: If you plan to continue working on this project, some discussion of what you hope to do, and in what context (an internship, etc.)

References: If you have cited sources, provide the full bibliographical information here. If you're not sure what format to use, use MLA as a default.

Acknowledgements: Thank any individuals who assisted you, and also the repository where the document(s) are held, as appropriate.

2. Analytical Presentation

For the analytical presentation outlined above, here is a possible set of sections:

Introduction: A very brief, high-level look at what this poster is about

Background: Contextual information related to writer, historical circumstances, and the documents in question

Problem: An explanation of the problem you've identified

A Possible Approach: Some discussion of the way you've decided to solve the problem

Findings: An exposition of your initial findings and their significance

Conclusion: A brief summary of the poster, perhaps connecting your work to some larger context

References: If you have cited sources, provide the full bibliographical information here. If you're not sure what format to use, use MLA as a default.

Acknowledgements: Thank any individuals who assisted you, and also the repository where the document(s) are held, as appropriate.

General Guidelines

The following are general guidelines to follow when preparing a research poster:

  • Make sure your name and title are at the top of poster, in type that can be read clearly from at least 10 feet away.
  • Limit text blocks to approximately 60 words.
  • Sans-serif fonts (Arial, Calibri, etc.) generally work best for titles and headings.
  • Serif fonts (Times New Roman, Garamond, etc.) generally work best for narrative sections.
  • Left-justify text (except titles and headings, which can be centered).
  • Do not use ALL CAPS anywhere on your poster.
  • All text on your poster should  readable at a distance of 5 feet. As a rough guide, this means the smallest font on your poster should be 24 pt. 
  • Be conscious of the balance between text, images and white space on your poster. This includes having space between columns and other elements that is not too narrow nor too wide. Please have a reasonable margin around the outsides of your poster – don’t push text or images out to the edges of the paper.
  • Devote between 25-40% of the space on your poster to images.
  • You should provide captions and source attributions for all images and other visual elements. In many cases, the attribution itself can function as a caption. As a default format, provide this attribution according to the MLA 8th edition. For instance:

    Gilpin, Laura. “Terraced Houses, Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico.” Library of Congress, Reproduction no. LC-USZ62-102170, 1939, www.loc.gov/pictures/item/90716883.
  • Use high–resolution images. Low–resolution images will not print well, particularly when enlarged on a poster of this size. (If you're searching for images in Google Images, select Tools > Size > "Large").

Printing a Poster

The Office of Undergraduate Research prints research posters for students at a discounted rate. Be sure to review the OUR guidelines as you begin to prepare your poster.

For poster sessions that are entirely virtual, of course, printing is not necessary.

Preparing an Oral Presentation

In some cases, you may have the opportunity to do an oral presentation, instead of a poster. The guidance above, with respect to writing an abstract and structuring your presentation, applies equally in this situation.

Getting Help

Dr. McCarl is available to help at any step of this process.