Oral Guidelines

Oral/Film Presentations

All oral and film presenations are alloted 15 minutes. This includes 10 minutes for the presentation and 5 minutes for questions.

Advice for Students Preparing an Oral Presentation
In the presentation, students should: 

  1. Summarize the research, stating its thesis, argument, purpose, and method; 
  2. Set forth the evidence in support or in contradiction of the thesis; 
  3. Discuss the larger significance of the research. 

Students should also note the following:

  • The general rule of thumb is to read a page every two minutes, so students should prepare no more than seven standard-type double-spaced pages.
  • Handouts (for example, with excerpts from texts to which you will be referring) may be helpful for both you and the audience, though they are not required.
  • Students should use their prepared remarks as a guide. While students are not expected to memorize their presentation, they ought to be prepared to make frequent eye contact with the audience. 

For students who are planning to use PowerPoint:

  • The general rule of thumb is to review no more than one slide per minute. 
  • Keep slides clutter free: dark font on a light background is easier for most to see; a font size that will be legible from a distance when projected; italics, script, and words written in all capital letters should be used sparingly; and the use of animation, clip art, sound, and other design elements not critical to the work should be kept to a minimum.


All students should practice their presentations prior to the Expo to both make sure the presentation falls within the allotted time limit and the delivery style is clear and understandable. 

Students are encouraged to attend workshops on preparing both the visual and oral components of an effective oral presentation. Workshop dates and times are to be determined.

*adapted from Northwestern University