Participation in the undergraduate expo requires completion of a submission form, or abstract. An abstract is a concise summary of your completed project that provides a snapshot of it as a whole. The abstract should be written in 250 words or less (not including title, authors, and department).

Tips for Submission

  • Involve your mentor at each stage of the process, from idea to final presentation. Your mentor will be your greatest source of productive feedback.
  • Your reader/audience might not share your discipline or background so it is important to be concise and informative. Use defined sections, data representations, explanations, and summations (as appropriate per discipline).
  • Looking at models of abstracts within your discipline will be beneficial when you are writing yours. Abstracts do not need to include references, parenthetical citations, footnotes, or a works cited page.
  • Please proofread and rehearse your presentations (poster and oral) with your mentors and peers to adjust your timing, pace, and tone, and for incorporating feedback.

Abstract and Presentation Guidelines

There are several concepts to keep in mind when you are creating your abstract for submission. Following them can increase your chances of being accepted to present at the Expo.

At the Expo, you will be able to present your research in two formats: poster presentations and oral presentations (research talks).

  • Abstract Guidelines

    Consider your motivation/rationale for your project.

    • What did you set out to do and why?
    • Why is it important/significant/interesting?
    • What problem does the work attempt to solve, or what intellectual or theoretical gap does it aim to fill?

    Think about your methods/procedure/approach.

    • What did you do and how?
    • What is the scope of the project?
    • What models or specific approaches did you use?
    • What sources of evidence did you rely on?

    How are you going to talk about your results/conclusions?

    • What did you find/learn/conclude?
    • A presentation of a scientific project may include specific data.
    • Other presentations may discuss the findings in a more general way.

    What are the implications of your work?

    • What does it mean, and how does it relate to what else is known about your subject?
    • How does this work add to the existing body of knowledge?
    • What are the implications for the problem/issue you identified?
    Abstract Examples
  • Poster Presentations

    Posters should be understandable by an educated but non-expert, non-technical audience.

    You will be required to stand by your poster during the session and make a brief (five minutes or less) presentation about your work. Virtual poster presentations should also be limited to five minutes.

    Judging Forms

    The following forms are for judges, but you can use them to see how your poster presentation will be judged.

    Tips
    • Poster design and assembly will take longer than you expect.
    • Aim to have your poster done several days in advance to give yourself plenty of time for editing and practice.
    • Use one of the official UAB poster templates not required).
    • Depending on the font style, the font size should generally be no smaller than 24.
    • Divide your content into short chunks of text. Numbered or bulleted lists are easy to read.
    • Examples of discrete sections that can be included in a poster: title, author name(s) and affiliations, abstract, introduction/background, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, references, and acknowledgements.
    • Figures, graphs, photos, and diagrams should be labeled and relevant to the topic.
    • Omit distracting, superfluous decorations.
    • Handouts are optional, but they can be used to provide detailed information for which there is no room on the main poster. Posters should be reasonably accessible to an educated but non-expert audience.
    • Posters should be no larger than 40" x 60" (landscape or portrait) and will be assigned to either an easel or a table for display. Presenters will be provided with 40" x 60" cardboard tri-fold poster boards. These poster boards will be available on the day of the Expo.
    • Posters can be printed at the UAB School of Medicine.
    Additional Resources
  • Oral Presentations

    Here's some general advice to keep in mind when creating an oral presentation.

    • Use one of the UAB PowerPoint presentation templates.
    • Content versus presentation time is a delicate and important balance.
    • Aspects such as creativity, discovery, integration, application, innovation, and entrepreneurship — along with enthusiasm, accuracy, and smooth delivery — is key.
    • The abstract and work to be presented does not need to be a finished product; however, it is imperative that it is logically presented and clearly demonstrated.
    • Preparation will take longer than you expect. Aim to have your presentation done several days in advance to give yourself time to rehearse and edit.
    Requirements and Advice
    • Oral presentations will be no more than 15 minutes — 12 minutes of presentation and a three-minute question and answer session.
    • A moderator will be present at each session to introduce you to the audience and keep track of your allotted time. You will receive a two-minute warning to let you know that your 12-minute time limit is about to expire.
    • Include these sections: Introduction, Aim(s), Method(s), Result(s), Conclusion(s), and Reference. This is a generalized format with the understanding that presentation of material included in this section will differ across disciplines.
    • Present evidence in support or in contradiction of the thesis.
    • Discuss the larger significance of the research.
    • The general rule is to review no more than one slide per minute
    • Handouts may be helpful for both you and the audience, although they are not required.
    • You should use your prepared remarks or notes as a guide. You are not expected to memorize presentations, but you should try to make frequent eye contact with the audience.
    PowerPoint Tips
    • Keep slides clutter free.
    • Use a dark font on a light background. Be sure to use a font size that is readable at a distance when projected.
    • Italics, script, and the use of all caps should be used sparingly.
    • Use of animation, clip art, sound, or other design elements are not critical and should be kept to a minimum.
    Visual Aid Resources

    Technology (a projector and screen) will be available for students selected to give an oral presentation. Please take note that you are responsible for the following:

    • If you want to use a provided laptop, save your presentation to a portable USB flash drive and bring it with you.
    • You may bring your own laptop.
    • If you are using a Mac, it is your responsibility to bring an appropriate VGA adapter.