I have been invited to the second round of interviews for a PhD position in a research programme in Informatics. I haven't submitted any research proposal, but now I have 2 and a half days to prepare a 15min presentation on the potential topic of my research "How to use X models to evaluate Y systems" (allow me to disclose some information) and do it via Skype - the panel will include my future supervisor, the director of the group and the programme coordinator and 3-4 other people.

The thing is I don't know much about the X models that will be used in the research, I only know them from a course in my master studies. My potential supervisor is aware of this since I have admitted it in my first interview. I have practiced many methods of evaluation in many kinds of systems, hence the acceptance to the second round.

I would really like any tips and suggestions on what to include in this presentation. Naturally, I can't learn everything in 2 days for X models.

I have thought the following points:

  • outline how X models work
  • include limitations and strengths
  • examples on how they have been used in the Y field/ other fields
  • a potential methodological approach (how to do it will be difficult since I lack technical knowledge)
  • Expected findings

I also believe I should showcase the ability to think critically and that I can focus on the main frame.

Should I include my research experience/skills and how they relate to the work?

Any other advice?

1 Answer 1


No your don't have to know everything, first of all that's impossible to do in just two days, second of all you could not talk about every aspect of the topic in just 15 minutes.

15 Minutes is really short If you want to talk about your experience/skills don't include this into the talk. I guess they want to hear you talk about the topic on the first place so use this time to do so. This is the second round of an interview so the persons not knowing you will ask if they want to know something. Of course you can create slides to do so but I would keep them independent of your main talk.

"A Potential Methodological Approach" Don't talk yourself into trouble here. If you are not familiar with the topic and they even know that I would not risk too much at this point. Just talk about stuff which you are absolutely sure that it's right.

"Expected Findings" This seems quite bold if one keeps in mind that you are not familiar with the topic. Of course everyone can dream about some nice results but without some knowledge of the field this point seems a bit too much. Just say what you want to do.

Other Idea You could include some quite new results. If you have read some papers about the topic maybe there have been some recent results. Just mention them to show that you are trying to get into the topic. (Again just do so if you are sure).

Other than that just try to give a nice introduction to the topic and explain what is known and where you want to tackle open problems. You are not giving a talk about an/your research proposal.

  • Thanks flo! They actually sent me a small guide yesterday and I will have to include my CV because the people in the panel will not know me (Did it like infographic to make it interesting), my research questions, what are the challenges in the area, how can we use the models to tackle them and potential research method. I will include basic info for each one and I expect lots of questions to elaborate on my ideas. Good thing is I have read much of their work since I first saw the position and the first interview made things more clear for me.
    – pastella
    Commented Oct 22, 2014 at 12:55

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