Presenting Research


Youri van den Hurk (a PhD candidate at UCL) presenting his research at the Association for Environmental Archaeologists conference in Orkney in April 2016. 

One of the aims of the student network is to help students gain experience in presenting their research at conferences and other events. We know that the idea of presenting your work can be daunting, especially to an audience you are unfamiliar with. 

Presenting is a key skill for archaeologists and others! The excellent Archaeology Skills Passport website even lists it as a good thing to have under the Transferable Skills and Public Outreach categories. Public speaking really is one of those things that you need to practice at and it can sometimes be difficult to get the chance. 

There are lots of student-led conferences as well as conferences aimed at early career researchers and those just starting out. These can be excellent places to try out your talking skills as the audience is usually friendly. A lot of the audience may also be presenting for the first time and will be just as nervous as you may be, so the feeling of being in it together can help overcome any nerves. 

One of the ideas behind the ScARF student conference bursaries is that they give people a chance to present research at an event at which the audience will be understanding that presenters might be new to public speaking. Many of the conferences are to a small, specialist audience which can create a more welcoming atmosphere than a large, faceless event. 

In return for ScARF covering the conference fee, bursary recipients are usually expected to write a short report on their experience of the conference. The full series of ScARF supported student reports can be found at http://www.socantscot.org/category/student-report/. Reading these might help you get a feel for what presenting can be like. 

More reading:

The University of Leicester have a really useful section on giving spoken presentations at http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/gradschool/training/eresources/study-guides/presenting/spoken-presentations

The Times Higher Education have a good article on presenting available for free download at https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/how-give-good-academic-conference-paper