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How to present a research paper to any audience

The first step in learning how to present a research paper


The very first thing that you should address when it comes to learning how to present a research paper is the topic and the information you have on that specific topic. It is crucial to understand the problem that the paper addresses and even more importantly, why is this particular problem relevant, both to you as a writer, student or even a professor and your audience.

Knowing your audience

One of the most common problems that research paper writers face is the fact that they don’t consider their audience when they develop the material. One of the reasons why this an important aspect to consider is the fact that your audience dictates the way you are writing your paper. For example, if you are going to present your paper to your college professor, you will write it in a certain tone or style, you will mind the words you use and so on. If you are going to present it before a committee of doctors that will give you a certification afterward, you are going to use a different approach and so on.

Minding the words you use

The idea here is to always consider who is going to listen to your material and use the appropriate vocabulary, tone and style so that they can easily understand the information. Think about it, what if you were in a classroom and a teacher comes and presents a paper on quantum mechanics, but you don’t have any idea what that is. Wouldn’t you feel frustrated or loose your attention really quickly? Well, that is one of the things you should really understand when it comes to learning how to present a research paper.

Dress up your presentation

One other aspect to mind when it comes to presenting a research paper in front of an audience is the way you tailor your presentation. One of the most common ways to illustrate it is Microsoft Power Point – a great presentation tool to use when it comes to structured information. Marketing specialists and professionals advise that if you are going to use this particular tool, don’t copy-paste the information on to the slides. If you are really trying to learn how to present a research paper then this is one of the golden rules – your presentation tool is a way of illustrating your ideas. This means you should:

  • use up to 50 words per slide;
  • use images as often as possible, they are more likely to be remembered than just plain text;
  • video content is highly appreciated as well;
  • don’t go too far with animations, glitters and floating texts; the simpler the better

Prezi is another great tool to use when it comes to presenting a research paper. It is a nonconventional tool that has gained a lot of popularity in the last couple of years due to the fact that it plays with perspective a lot. You can zoom in and zoom out of the frame as much as you like and it focuses on a real user journey in order to understand the information. The pieces of advice from above apply here as well.

Are there any suggested guidelines on how to present a research paper?

There are certain associations, organizations or even academic circles that have some practices that want to be followed when it comes to elaborating a research paper. If there are any policies or practices that you need to follow, the best piece of advice here is to use them without changing them at all. There have been examples of students and even professors that wanted to be a little more creative and ended up failing the exam. If there are no such rules or recommendations, then you can go as far as you like to present your ideas.


Ask a fellow student!

If you are not sure of how to present a research paper in front of a certain teacher or professor, just ask a fellow student or pupil that has been through that situation and see how he handled the situation and most importantly, what was the feedback he received. In this way, you can calibrate your presentation and easily present it in the best possible way.


Structure your information

One of the most common mistakes that people make when it comes to the presentation of a research paper is the fact that they use way to much information in the presentation and that backfires on them almost every time. The idea of a presentation is to show the main points covered in the research, the hypothesis, the arguments, the findings and the conclusions. Too little information? Well, the idea of the presentation is to build up interest and spark the curiosity of the audience so that they can take up the research and go deeper into the information. Basically, it’s a way of advertising your work, so you can’t have all the text and information in your advertisement.


Mind the time

Another aspect to mind in learning how to present a research paper is the time you are given. Always ask about this piece of information so that you know how much time to allocate to every part of your presentation. If you’ve got 10 minutes, don’t go talking about the topic and the theme for 6 and leaving the rest compressed in the last 4. Structure your information based on the amount of time you are given so that you look professional to your listening audience.


Visualize the information


As mentioned above, illustrating the information you have in your research paper can actually be the best way to reach out to your audience and make them understand your point of view. Infographics, images, videos, GIFs and so many other visual formats are available for you to use so that your audience will get you 100%. Think about the last presentation you’ve attended, can you remember the exact same words of the speaker? Usually, the answer is no, but you can remember that cool video he or she showed you in order to prove her point and that’s how you remember about the theme or the topic of the speech. The same trick applies here for you as well: using visual data to catch the attention of your audience and have a memorable impact.


Be careful how you use humor


One of the most common practices that people teach when it comes to learning how to present a research paper is humor. This is a very tricky solution to any of the speakers and presenters around the world due to a simple aspect: humor is subjective. Of course, there are certain things that amuse the majority of people, but the reality is that some are more sensitive to jokes then others and if you have an academic audience, humor might not be your best weapon in your arsenal. If you do want to insert a joke or a funny quote, be sure to test it with your friends or someone from the potential audience to see if they laugh. In this way, you can actually determine if it’s good to use it or not.


Have a punch line!


This piece of advice doesn’t refer to being funny and ending up with a joke, it refers to the idea of leaving your audience with a reflective issue to think about. For example, if you are talking about global warming, don’t just end with a slide that says conclusions, you should go even further and focus on recommendations, best practices, what can be done to prevent it or even your personal opinion. If you give your audience something to think about, it is more likely for you to end on a positive note (and a round of applause) because of that.




After going through these points, you shouldn’t have to worry about how to present a research paper. It’s all about considering your audience, structuring your information and making it memorable for them. Also, if you try to be funny, always be sure to check up with someone before throwing in the joke. One final piece of advice here, have an awesome attitude, any crowd loves that.

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