Skills Earth Sciences

Methods, observations, and results

General conference talks or class presentations do not need a methods section at all, unless you are focusing specifically on that aspect of research.

Your results section will contain observations, experiments, and/or quantitative data. In the case of a literature review, you can compare the results sections of different papers here. Keep interpretations out of this section, similarly to writing a report or paper. Technicalities like mathematical equations are too specific and should not be covered unless they are absolutely crucial. This might feel wrong since you have typically spent a great deal of time on this, but it is generally accepted given the fact that you will otherwise lose a large part of your audience fairly early on.

Remember, if certain aspects of your research require more detailed explanations, such as specific methods or detailed result comparisons, you can always introduce them shortly, describe them in general terms, and come back to them in the questions after your presentation is complete. You can even add some slides after your final “Questions” slide so you are fully prepared for any related questions, or if you have time left over.

The results section needs to be as visual as possible (see the Visualisation module). Focus on the observations and results that are relevant to your core message. Use figures and graphs to steer your audience into forming the same conclusions as you without explicitly having to voice them (yet). This approach keeps the audience more invested in your storyline and helps to make your presentation more memorable. You might even make this section interactive by getting the audience actively involved in the logical build-up of your results, but it may take some practice before you are comfortable doing this. Nevertheless, remember to stay away from any interpretations in this section.