Lab14 - Preparing the PowerPoint support for an oral presentation of research results

Evaluation Form

For getting help during the practical activities access: Instructions and Interpretations.   


Research is performed in order to be known by the medical and scientific community. Research that stays in a drawer is a waste of time and resources and thus may even be considered unethical. Any research, even the one that stays in a drawer, is supposed to help the researcher to better understand the studied aspects. It also helps to better understand other studies. 

Making research known to the medical and scientific community may be done in printed form by publishing academic articles in medical journals, as well as in the form of oral presentations or poster presentations at congresses, symposia or other scientific meetings.

The medical license thesis is an exercise of bibliographic documentation and synthesis of information on a specific subject and a basic exercise of practical research. It finalizes in a printed work, formally similar to an academic paper presenting original research, but on a much larger scale. It will also be defended in an oral presentation, held in front of an examination board. The successful defendant of a medical license thesis will be awarded a professional doctorate degree in addition to his/her physician title awarded after successful graduation of Medical School and passing the medical license examinations.

The oral presentation of a scientific material has a typical content. The presentation must have a sober aspect that should underline the serious and rigorous character of the research. In general, the content of an oral  presentation follows the structure of an original research academic paper, having an introduction, a material and methods section, a results section, a discussions part and a section containing conclusions.

The oral presentation of a medical license thesis is usually accompanied by auxiliary material that will be projected during the presentation using a video projector. This auxiliary material is usually created using presentation software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint. It contains only the backbone structure of the oral presentation as well as visual elements that are hard to understand by verbal presentation alone (figures, tables, images). The oral presentation should not become a slave of the PowerPoint presentation. The oral presentation is the important one! The projected presentation should only be a helping guide for the oral presentation. Thus, it should not contain everything you wish to talk about, but rather the key ideas to guide yourself and the public through the essential steps of the research you are presenting.

The structure, content and form that should be given to the projected material of an oral presentation is described below:

Structure of a scientific presentation for an oral presentation of 8-10 minutes (the approx. time for your thesis defense):

  • title, authors (1 slide)
  • introduction – depending on the public (0-2 slides)
  • material and methods (1-2 slides)
  • results (2-3 slides)
    • only results
    • only the most important results
    • apply the KISS principle (Keep It Short and Simple)
  • discussions (1 slide)
  • conclusions (1 slide)
  • closing slide (1 slide)


Content of the presentation:

  • Introduction:
    • General interest of the subject
    • Particular interest of the subject
    • Aim of the research (clearly stated, using past tense)
  • Material and methods (presented using past tense):
    • Note on whom the study has been performed
    • Inclusion criteria
    • Exclusion criteria
    • Type of study: consecutive cases, cross-sectional, prospective, retrospective, randomized, ...
    • Data collection type: case-control, exposed-nonexposed, representative sample); Indicate the sampling method.
    • Describe the sample (e.g. age, gender, socio-professional, ethnic, symptoms, morphology, etc.)
    • What has been evaluated
    • What has been tested/compared/computed
    • Judgment criteria for the evaluation of results; methods used for validation of results
    • Statistical methods that have been used (e.g. Chi square test, t-test, LogRank)
  • Results (presented using past tense):
    • Note both positive and negative results (not statistically significant)
    • Nothing else, but results
    • Do not insert: comments, explanations, comparisons to other results, marginal results that are not related to the stated aim of your research
    • Figures and tables:
      • Do not repeat information in both a figure and a table
      • Self-explaining, regardless of their context (correct titles, legends, axes, labels, etc.)
      • Note units of measurement and explain abbreviations
      • Ensure coherence of presented data (parts add up to totals, etc.)
  • Discussion:
    • Note whether the aim of the study has been reached or not
    • Critically appraise the validity of your results
    • Appraise whether the number of subjects included in your study has been sufficient in order to apply the results to the target population of your study
    • Appraise whether the chosen study method has been optimal for solving the research problem or explain why it has been preferred over other methods.
    • How do you interpret the results based on the employed methods and the power of the employed statistical tests?
    • Compare your results with results obtained by other authors.
    • Do not repeat statements from the introduction.


Form of the presentation:

  • Slide text:
    • Avoid a phrase if a sentence or idea will do!
    • Avoid a sentence if 1 or 2 keywords will do!
    • Not more than 7 lines of text per slide
    • Ideally 1 idea per line.
  • Illustration material:
    • Content:
      • figures
      • tables
    • Use
      • What cannot be said otherwise
      • Materials that are difficult to listen to
      • Helps you stay in time (1 picture equals 1000 words)
    • Choosing between figures and tables
      • Depending on your objectives
      • Preferably figures, curves, histograms
  • Practical creation of slides:
    • The title
      • single line, if possible
      • underlined, bolded, different color
      • not numbered
    • The text
      • must be readable from the last row of chairs in the room
      • b/w or colored but with high contrast towards background
    • Figures and tables
      • must not be numbered
      • must have a complete title above them
      • must be self-explaining
        • verbal explanations should only help the public to understand
      • tables should not have more than 15 cells (max. 3-4 columns and 5-7 rows)
    • Images
      • patient pictures can only be used with individual consent from patients and while masking their eyes and mouth with dark strips or blurring, to ensure confidentiality. 
    • Movies
      • very short and only if they are absolutely necessary
    • Avoid:
      • slide transitions (preferably none or very discrete)
      • text animation (especially if excessive, long and serves no purpose, it will get in the way of your oral presentation and it becomes annoying for the public)
      • abbreviations
      • unclear references to earlier introduced coding (e.g. group A, B, ...)
      • “elegant” / complicated expressions


Aim of this practical session:

  • acquiring basic methodological skills for preparing the visual support of an oral presentation



  • preparing the visual support for the defense of your graduation thesis
  • preparing the visual support for other oral presentations of your personal research (conferences)



Assuming that one of the activities you have solved in earlier sessions represented your personal research for your graduation thesis, prepare the visual support for your thesis defense that will take place tomorrow.




  1. Choose your favorite research scenario among the ones you have solved in earlier sessions and prepare a PowerPoint presentation as if you had to present your research tomorrow, as your thesis defense.
  2. the structure, content and form of your presentation must obey the guidelines presented above (see Introduction)


Additional question to train for the exam


You participate at a presentation of a scientific paper by one of your colleagues at a congress. You have noticed the following. The text was light gray on a white background. In the introduction chapter presented general aspects, specific aspects of the researched subject and the motivation of the study without specifying its purpose. Some slides contain 20 lines of text. On a slide you saw a table with 10 columns and 10 rows. The tables in the presentation were numbered in order of appearance. It seems he preferred tables instead of graphics. The animations entered in spiral on the screen. The presentation had 15 conclusions. The presentation time was exceeded by 7 minutes. The presentation was read from a paper.

Specify the negative aspects (if any) related to the form and content of your colleague's presentation:


Conclusion of this activity:

Today’s activity helps you prepare the visual support for the defense of your graduation thesis or other oral presentations of your personal research.

Attach the PowerPoint presentation to an e-mail message and send it to the address provided by your assisting professor. Specify in the e-mail Subject: Your full name, your group and the title of this activity.

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