Research Symposium Guidelines: Poster, Video, and Oral Presentation

Abstract submission deadline: April 8

Abstract Submission:


After your abstract has been accepted:


Guidelines for Posters

Creating your poster: The SP@RK lab in the University Library Hosts Research Poster Design Workshops that will help you get started on turning your research into a poster presentation. Includes layout and design tips in PowerPoint. Registration is required (, and we recommend you register early to ensure a spot. The libraries request that you please cancel your registration if you find that you are unable to attend. 

You can print your poster at no cost in the SP@RC lab, in Fenwick Library. Please sign up immediately for a printing slot, as there are limited times available, and all members of the University community are able to sign up for slots ( If you wait to sign up and there are no slots available for you, you will have to find an alternative way of printing your poster. Paid options include GMU’s print hub: ( or a commercial vendor such as Kinkos or other vendor. These can be done through an online portal, but please bear in mind that online or commercial vendors may require additional delivery time for posters.

Here is a link to poster templates from Oscar:


Guidelines for Preparing and Submitting Video Presentation

(adapted from ENGH 401 capstone guidelines)

The video option is designed to give students an alternative to the traditional “research talk” presentation format.

Description and Objectives:

Professional scholars give talks on their research at academic conferences. Professional writers give public readings of their work. A great way to publicly present your work is thru a 3-5-minute video presentation. If you are writing a scholarly thesis, this will be a presentation of your research question and findings, with some text drawn from your thesis and/or literature review. If you are writing a creative thesis, you should expect to draw from your framing introduction, but at least half of your presentation time should be devoted to a reading of selections from your original work for this thesis.

How to begin:

An academic talk will have the same basic structure as a researched essay: just as you would in an essay, you are making a claim supported by scholarship (and, in the case of a critical essay, your own close reading), and developing that claim methodically and cogently over no more than five minutes of video and/or seven slides. As you would with an essay, start by making an outline (maybe more than one). Think about how to position your question and findings within the larger scholarly or creative conversation you have entered through your research.

What the final product will look like:

Your finished video should be no fewer than three and no more than five minutes total. You may choose to film yourself talking about and/or reading from your project against a background of your choice or you might simply present your slides using PowerPoint or Prezi. The success of your video will depend on  both the clarity and interest of your presentation and the cogency and effectiveness of your talk.

If you choose a primarily slides model
, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Your slides are a visual representation of your question and findings; they accompany but should not replace your talk. They should be clean, visually appealing, and concise.
  • Slides meant to synthesize particular claims should do so in no more than four bullet points per slide.
  • Slides containing images or graphs should have brief headers and/or captions.
  • Slides that are primarily or entirely quotes should be no longer than a paragraph and ideally not more than four or five lines (among other things, this visual requirement will force you to zero in on only the relevant, significant parts of a quote, whether that is a quote from primary or secondary material).

If you choose to make a video of yourself speaking, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Speak from notes: don’t just film yourself talking extemporaneously about your project. Your presentation should be digestible as a mini-paper: make an outline, and make sure the logic of your transitions is clear. Consider using closed captioning.
  • Don’t just read your notes. Plan to write and revise the notes for your talk several times. By the time you are ready to film your talk, you should be familiar enough with the material and what you want to say that you can speak it straight to your audience, with minimal glances at notes.

Need a place to record your video? Check out the library's One Button Studio!


Instructions on video submission will be given to you after your abstract is accepted for the symposium.

Important dates for videos:

  • Abstract of the research video April 8.
  • Completed videos due April 15.
  • Videos shown at symposium on April 18.

Abstract Submission:

Completed Video Submission:

Guidelines for Oral Presentation 

There are limited spaces open from 11am-1pm on April 18th for oral presentations based on your scholarly or creative work. Oral presentations are limited to 5 minutes of presentation with 1 minute of Q&A. You will be timed by the room attendant but you should also time yourself.

For tips on conference paper presentations, see

(The above is pitched at grad students but can also work for advanced undergrads; talk to your faculty mentor for more guided help)

Important dates for oral presentations:

  • Abstract of the research video April 4.
  • Powerpoints or similar visuals due April 16.
  • Presentation during the oral portion of symposium (11am-1pm) on April 18.

Abstract Submission:

Powerpoint or similar submission: