Department of Biology


All of your work should directly relate to your topic thesis, hypothesis or question.
Organize Your Presentation


  • Choose a topic
  • Know your audience (General or Specialized).  
  • Be aware of the allotted time for your presentation and allow five minutes for questions. One slide per minute is a good starting estimate, but practice with a clock.  
  • Research your topic. 
  • Outline the information to be put in the seminar (double check for accuracy and gaps). 
  • Write the presentation. 
  • Edit -- Is the presentation clear and concise? 
  • Choose an easy to read and attractive format for the presentation. 
Choose a Topic
  • All of your work should directly relate to your topic thesis, hypothesis, objective or question. 
  • If you are presenting a research seminar then the topic is naturally your research. Your title should directly state the hypothesis you were testing or the key result of the research.  
  • If you are giving a seminar in a course then you may be assigned a topic, or asked to pick a topic. It is important to choose a topic with enough available background material to make the seminar factual and interesting, but not so broad that you cannot discuss the topic well in just a few minutes.  
  • Go to section on Choosing a Topic 
Research Your Topic
  • If you are doing a research seminar you should do a thorough survey of the current literature related to your research and integrate this into the background section of your talk.  
  • If you are doing a course seminar, first collect the data relevant to your hypothesis or thesis and then sit down and analyze the data.  
  • Which studies support your hypothesis?  
  • Do other studies support alternative hypotheses?  
  • Is there controversy in the scientific community over this topic, or general agreement?  
  • Collect relevant graphs, figures or tables that can be used in your presentation. 
  • Go to section on Researching a Topic 
Research Seminars Research Seminars typically include: Introduction, Objectives, Methods, Results, Summary, and Conclusions. 
Background material that provides the justification for the study.
A bulleted list of the objectives of the study or the hypothesis being tested. 
A brief description of the techniques used in the research being presented 
Graphical depiction of the experimental results. Graphs and diagrams provide a clearer statement of your research results than tables.  If you cannot graph the data use a bulleted list.
A bulleted list of the key findings.
Draw legitimate conclusions instead of speculating.
see Primary Literature
Classroom Seminars Classroom Seminars typically include: Introduction, Body of the Seminar, Summary, and Conclusions. Different courses may have specific items to include in your seminar. The order of topics in these seminars are not as clearly defined as in traditional research seminars. 
    Body of the Seminar
A summary of key points in current research and figures or images to support these points. It is important to always keep the topic thesis, hypothesis or question in mind as a common theme during the body of the seminar, otherwise you might wander and lose your audience.
Key Points
  • All sections should directly relate to your topic thesis, hypothesis or question.  
  • Transitions between different concepts should be smooth. When outlining your seminar keep transitions in mind.  
  • Balance between figures, and text.  
  • Figures (images, graphs and tables) should be used whenever possible. 
  • Text is only used to state the problem, frame the problem in the appropriate context, summarize results, and state major conclusions.  
  • A slide with more than a few lines of text will bore your audience. Summarize the key concepts on your slides and cover the details verbally.  
  • Quickly readable from a distance. Lower Case is easier to read (Readability vs. READABILITY)


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