Student Research Conference Guide

The Student Research Conference (SRC) aims to encourage, attract, recognize, promote, and showcase research performed by both undergraduate and graduate students across all disciplines and to promote a culture that values research and scholarly and creative activity at Southeast Missouri State University. Participation in the research conference affords a number of benefits to student presenters, faculty sponsors, audience members, and the university community as a whole. In addition to personal and professional benefits, outstanding student presenters are eligible to compete for recognition and monetary awards for best Oral presentations and Poster sessions.

Oral Presentation 

An oral presentation is a 15-17 minute speech you present to an audience providing an in-depth explanation of your research. It is accompanied by a visual aid such as a PowerPoint slideshow and concludes with a 3-5 minute question and answer session. This is a great chance to develop and refine your public speaking skills.  

Poster Sessions 

A poster is a visual display representing and summarizing your work. If public speaking in front of a group is not your thing, a poster session may be more comfortable for you. Each poster can include a total of 500 words of text accompanying all images, graphs, charts, etc. and must be accompanied by a 5-7 minute video in which you present your work and 500-word Process Paper explaining the following:  

1. How you chose your topic. 
2. How you conducted your research. 
3. How you created your project.  
4. What your argument is. 
5. In what way(s) your topic is significant.  

Digital posters must be approximately 36” tall by 48” wide. Trifold digital posters must be 36” x 48”. Posters and accompanying Process Papers must be uploaded no later than noon on Monday, April 12th.   

Download the view the Poster template

Senior Capstone Symposium 

A symposium is a special session in which all the presenters and/or topics share some common attribute or theme. The Senior Capstone Symposium is a special extended session of the SRC that features presentations by students who have completed senior-level capstone research experiences. These culminating experiences typically integrate and apply learning across multiple topics, subjects, or disciplines. To learn more, contact us.

Roundtable Discussions 

Roundtable discussions will focus on several key areas of interest for students, faculty, the university, and the community as a whole. To learn more or if you would like to participate as a panelist, please contact us.

  • Multiple submissions are allowed, provided they do not represent the same work in different presentation formats.  
  • Research must be substantially the student’s own work with appropriate faculty input as needed. Faculty sponsors may be included as co-authors on presentations.  
  • Presentations must be primarily student’s own work. Faculty sponsors cannot be co-presenters. 
  • All work must comply with all university policies (e.g. Academic Honesty, Code of Student Conduct, IRB, IACUC) and the professional and ethical standards of the discipline. Any confirmed willful violations will result in disqualification.  
  • Work should be of a scope and employ methodologies appropriate to comprise legitimate research in the discipline.  

  1. Find a faculty research sponsor and choose and conduct a research project. 
  2. Select the best format and forum in which to share your research. 
  3. Write an abstract of 100 to 200 words clearly and concisely summarizing your research. 
  4. Complete and submit the Abstract Submission Form. 
  5. Prepare for your presentation.
 

Oral presentations will be synchronous. Each one-hour session will include three 20-minute presentations. Presenters are expected to speak for 15-17 minutes and answer questions for 3-5 minutes. Presenters are also expected to attend the entirety of the one-hour session in which their presentation is scheduled. As a courtesy to all session presenters and attendees, do not login late or logout early.  

What to expect for your oral presentation: 

  1. Submit your visual aids (e.g., PowerPoint slideshow) by noon on Monday, April 12th. 
  1. Business or business casual attire is appropriate for this conference. 
  1. Login 10 minutes prior to the start of your scheduled session so the moderator or judge can check you in.   
  1. At your scheduled presentation time, your moderator will introduce you. 
  1. The moderator will prompt presenters when 13 minutes have elapsed, and again when 15 minutes have elapsed. You must speak a minimum of 15 minutes and will be stopped by the moderator at 17 minutes to allow time for the question and answer session. Be prepared to answer at least one question from the judge as well as questions from the audience.  
  1. Remain logged in for the duration of your session and be courteous and attentive to other presenters.  
  1. Attend other sessions, keynote address, and award ceremony as you are able. 
  1. Network. Get to know other presenters, faculty, etc. 
  1. Awards for best oral presentations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels (1st place; 2nd place; 3rd place) will be announced after the conclusion of the conference.  

* See scoring rubric for oral presentations in the Conference Program for a detailed explanation of how oral presentations will be evaluated for award consideration.

Poster presentations will be asynchronous. Presenters should provide a 5-7 minute video and Process Paper of their work (500 words maximum), while all images, graphs, charts, etc. can be accompanied by a total of 500 words of text. Digital posters must be approximately 36” tall by 48” wide. Trifold digital posters must be 36” x 48.”  

What to expect for your poster presentation: 

  1. Upload your video, poster, and Process Paper no later than noon on Monday, April 12. 
  2. Attend other sessions, keynote address, and award ceremony as you are able. 
  3. Network. Get to know other presenters, faculty, etc. 
  4. Awards for best poster presentations at both the undergraduate and graduate levels (1st place; 2nd place; 3rd place) will be announced after the conclusion of the conference.  

* See scoring rubric for oral presentations in the Conference Program for a detailed explanation of how oral presentations will be evaluated for award consideration.  

A symposium is a special session in which all the presenters and/or topics share some common attribute or theme. The Senior Capstone Symposium is a special extended session of the SRC that features presentations by students who have completed senior-level capstone research experiences. These culminating experiences typically integrate and apply learning across multiple topics, subjects, or disciplines. This symposium may include traditional oral and poster presentation formats, but also allows some flexibility in format to suit the nature of the work and its specific discipline.  

Examples of senior capstone experiences include students completing the Jane Stephens Honors Program HN499 Honors Research course; the UI498 Senior Seminar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC; Graduation with Academic Distinction in the Department of the Major; and the McNair Scholars Program. If you have completed one of the senior capstone experiences mentioned above, you will be invited to present at the Senior Capstone Symposium. If you have completed a senior capstone research experience not mentioned above and you would like to participate in this symposium, please reach out to us and let’s talk about it. Senior Capstone Symposium participants are eligible for monetary awards (1st place; 2nd place; 3rd place), which will be announced after the conclusion of the conference.

Roundtable discussions will focus on several key areas of interests for students, faculty, the university, and the community as a whole. The purpose of the roundtable discussion sessions is to begin conversations that will hopefully lead to continuing discussions, new ideas, and eventual solutions to problems facing our university and broader community. While these sessions will not cover an exhaustive list of all problem areas, the goal is to establish a model for thinking and problem solving that can be used to tackle additional issues in the future. Roundtable discussion topics will depend on interest and availability of participants. Faculty, student, and community panelists will lead the discussions, but all attendees are invited to participate in the conversation.  

  1. Complete all form fields marked with an asterisk. Complete form fields not marked with an asterisk as they pertain to you.  
  1. All student presenters and faculty sponsors will receive a 2021 Student Research Conference t-shirt.   
  1. In the form field titled 100-200 Word Abstract, you will enter the text of your abstract. The abstract is a critical part of your submission that serves four purposes: 1) it allows the conference organizers to evaluate your submission, decide whether it should be accepted, and place it in the appropriate session; 2) it allows attendees to learn from the conference program booklet what your presentation is about and to decide whether they will attend it; 3) it, along with your presentation, will be evaluated by the judges to determine awards for best presentations; and 4) it helps you order your thoughts and organize your presentation.  
  1. An effective abstract should contain the following elements in this general order:  
  • Background / Context 
  • Research Question(s) / Goal(s) 
  • Methodology / Process 
  • Results / Findings 
  • Conclusions 
  1. Clear, complete sentences using correct spelling and grammar and avoiding the use of informal language are required for a strong abstract that will communicate effectively and be most helpful to the conference attendees and judges.  
  1. When marking your availability for your poster or oral presentation, it is important that you mark every session time for which you are available to present on both days and that you keep those time blocks open until you receive a finalized schedule confirming your presentation session and time. Please do not mark time blocks for which you have class or are unsure of your availability. If you do not have a set work schedule and have concerns about being able to secure time off, please make a note in the comment box so we can contact you personally to discuss options.  

Follow this link to access the Abstract Submission Form

Background / Context 

To have maximum validity and value, there should be some element(s) of connection to existing knowledge as well as some element(s) or novelty. The research should be connected to the existing body of knowledge such that there is a reasonable expectation that it is justified and likely to be successful. There should also be an identifiable gap, problem, or shortcoming in the existing knowledge that is addressed by the research, or the research should present a novel way of thinking about, interpreting, or expanding some aspect of the existing body of knowledge.  

The “Practitioner” level rating for this category is attained by researchers making the basic connection between what is known about the subject and what they have done. Researchers rising to the “Expert” level connect ideas from multiple background sources or disciplines to synthesize new thoughts and ideas upon which their research is based.  

Question / Goal 

A well-crafted “Expert” level research question or goal must not only be grounded in and connected to the existing body of knowledge but must be of an appropriate scope to be completed in a reasonable amount of time and with an appropriate level of depth. Likewise, appropriate scope allows the research to be explained to the audience at an appropriate depth and within the allotted time. Another hallmark of an “Expert” level presentation is that the research question or problem is presented clearly and at a level that the audience can understand. For the Student Research Conference, the audience will be multidisciplinary, comprising individuals from a variety of backgrounds.  

Methodology / Process 

Methodology or process includes the general approach and the specific tools, techniques, and procedures used to explore the research question or goal. A truly outstanding “Expert” level methodology or process not only employs valid, accepted tools, techniques, and procedures of the discipline but also demonstrates inventiveness by applying new or modified techniques or existing techniques in innovative ways to probe the research question or problem.  

Results / Findings 

Information or data gleaned from sound methodologies or processes must be interpreted correctly if useful conclusions are to be realized. An “Expert” presents all meaningful data and findings in a clear manner such that they are easily viewed, reviewed, understood, and compared by the audience. Further, the “Expert” employs valid, accepted tools and techniques to analyze the results and findings and clearly communicates those tools and techniques to the audience. Analysis of the results or findings to identify patterns and correlations that lead to discernment of higher level meanings and relationships is also a characteristic of “Expert” level performance.  

Conclusions 

Useful “Expert” level conclusions are characterized by contributions of new knowledge to the discipline; novel or improved understanding of the discipline; critical reflection on the scope and limitations of the work; practical applications of the findings within and beyond the discipline; and proposed future research and directions.  

Professionalism 

An “Expert” presenter adequately rehearses their presentation ahead of time to ensure proper timing and flow, comfortable speech execution, and an overall delivery that enhances rather than detracts from audience attention and understanding. The presenter should be well-versed in the content of their research so that they are able to explain it to a general audience and answer audience questions effectively. Professional appearance includes business casual attire (e.g., slacks or khakis, collared shirt or blouse, optional jacket and tie, sweater, dress or knee-length skirt, dress shoes or loafers). While proper attire is important to enhance the presentation and not distract from it, nice suits or expensive clothes will not result in higher scores. Unprofessional appearance includes wearing items such as soiled clothing, clothing with holes, sweat pants, athletic wear, beachwear, shorts, screen printed t-shirts, etc. If you are unsure about attire, email us.  

Visual Aid(s) 

For an Oral presentation, it is most likely that a PowerPoint slideshow, a Prezi presentation, or other electronic media will be the primary visual aid. This may be supplemented by physical objects such as tools, equipment, artifacts, artwork, photographs, video or other electronic media, or printed media. Regardless of the visual aid(s) used, it is important that they enhance communication and understanding of your presentation and do not distract from it.  

Some general guidelines for PowerPoint include: 1) do not fill the entire slide with text; 2) text should be in a font that is visible and readable (e.g. 24 pt., light text on dark background); 3) bulleted lists are preferred to paragraphs; 4) a well-placed, well-designed picture or figure is more effective than an abundance of text; 5) the PowerPoint is a resource for the audience, to enhance communication and understanding more than a resource for you to read from in lieu of preparation.  

For a poster session, the poster itself will be the primary visual aid. Since the poster is the primary vehicle to communicate your message to the audience, it must be thoughtfully, carefully, and skillfully designed and prepared. It should be well-organized and easy to follow and read with clearly labeled parts or sections. Judges and moderators should be able to approach your poster and very quickly locate information they are seeking.  

While a typical poster presented at a professional research conference consists of a large format printed sheet with all components and sections included, some students elect to create a trifold poster display and attach individual pages, sections, pictures, figures, and other elements to the trifold board. Either format is acceptable for the Student Research Conference, and neither format will be scored higher or lower, provided the poster is neat, organized, and reflects a professional effort.  

Download the Judging Rubric

Awards will be presented for outstanding oral and poster presentations at the graduate and undergraduate levels as well as for outstanding Senior Capstone Symposium participants. Winners will be determined by an interdisciplinary panel of judges based on scores received on the presentation evaluation rubric. Awards will consist of a recognition certificate and a cash prize as described in the table below. All presenters will receive an SRC t-shirt and feedback on their presentation to help them improve.  

Graduate Oral Presentations 

1st Place Award 
2nd Place Award 
3rd Place Award  

Graduate Poster Presentations 

1st Place Award 
2nd Place Award 
3rd Place Award  

Undergraduate Oral Presentations 

1st Place Award 
2nd Place Award 
3rd Place Award  

Undergraduate Poster Presentations 

1st Place Award 
2nd Place Award 
3rd Place Award  

Senior Capstone Symposium 

1st Place Award 
2nd Place Award 
3rd Place Award  

Faculty sponsors whose students earn 1st place in their respective sessions will be presented with a faculty sponsor recognition award. All faculty sponsors will receive certificates of recognition and SRC t-shirts for their support of the conference and their students.  

There are no awards for roundtable discussion sessions, but panelists will receive certificates of recognition and SRC t-shirts in appreciation for their participation.  

Judges and volunteers will receive certificates of recognition and SRC t-shirts in appreciation for their support in making the 29th Annual Student Research Conference a success.