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I sent an abstract of a review paper for oral presentation to a conference, and it was accepted. The presentation will be about the most important developments and contributions made in the last decade on my specific area of research. Now I am preparing the speech, but I am not sure how to give a 12-minutes speech about all the work that has been done (it's a lot). Can someone give some suggestions on how to do a nice presentation about a review paper?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

In 12 minutes, the best you can do for your audience is highlight four to six broad observations or conclusions about the state of research. Here are some questions you might address with your observations:

  • Are the lines of research diverging and multiplying, or converging and consolidating?
  • Has it divided into "factions" or "schools" that define problems, methods, and solutions differently? Or is all research operating under a single paradigm?
  • What's the influence and interaction with other fields and disciplines?
  • Where has research made progress addressing fundamental questions? Where has research made no meaningful progress?
  • Where should researchers look for the most promising research directions and under-explored areas?

Don't try to make more than six observations in 12 minutes. By trying to say more, you are actually communicating less effectively. Any one who wants the full story can read your paper.

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Call the Barenaked Ladies and ask them to compose a song similar to the Big Bang Theory Title. Then take a Guitar and sing.

In this case you manage to bring a lot of content inside a very limited time slot. On the other side this kind of presentation will burn your name into the brains of the scientific audience. Scientists are also often very thankful for everything making a conference less boring.

I know that there lays some sarcasm in the answer. But think about: What you can present at conferences is always only the tip of an iceberg. You always can only point out some few statements. The content of your presentation will be forgotten within minutes, hours, lates days... after you held it. Your goal is to get in contact with other scientists interested in similar or same topics.

Be creative, show that it's fun to talk to and work with you. Show what an interesting person you are. The hard fact stuff can be read in the conference notes for a more complete view.

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I'm trying to edit this to remove the sarcasm and make it a more directed, useful answer, but I'm finding that there's not much here beyond sarcasm and the message "be creative". Am I missing something? –  eykanal yesterday
you are a moderator. you can delete the answer completely if you find it not contributing. In several workshops I took I was taught to do presentations that not bore the audience. Thats why I suggest to try something new. Even if it's meant somehow sarcastic or humorous. There is still a recommendation i meant seriously. Does anyone know Scienceslams? My suggestive answer describes just what they target to. –  André Kleinschmidt yesterday
Andre - I try to never abuse my moderator status. My comment comes in response to a user flag suggesting that this post is too heavy on sarcasm and too light on content. Your comment above is exactly why I mentioned it... if you can expand at all on how to be creative in a presentation with a little less sarcasm, this may be better received by the community. –  eykanal yesterday
The fact why my suggestion is or may only read sarcastic is that science at all (independent to the different intellectual cultural styles by Galtung's taxonomy) is dealt as a too serious business. Considering cognition and neurology there is a big playground for experiments on creative presentations. A song like mentioned may not always be a decent form, but it should be considered to be a possibility. I try to prepare a major revision of the answer, that hopefully reads less sarcastic. –  André Kleinschmidt yesterday

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