Notes on preparing a scientific report

This notes was taken originally from the Journal Club class given by Li Ji at PMO.

1. Literature selection:
– Interest first. It is the true source to power yourself doing research.
– The literature should be new (except for some “classic” ones), for the highly updated new results.

2. Slides making tips:
– Showing each slide in 1.5-2 minutes. (For example, if your talk time is 20 min, the number of the slide should be about 10)
– Be sure about what you want to show and tell first, then expressing them in the minimum words and figures. In shorts, tell only the most important results because of the limited time!
– About backgrounds of your talk: showing the big picture which is related to the topic you give is important. The background should be close to the topic and contain the latest status in the area.
– In the context of the slides, just show the KEY POINTS of the paper (if you want to figure out the key points of the paper, you should read it more than one time, maybe, 1st time generally, 2nd time carefully and 3rd time you should be critical and point out the soul of the literature).
– Raising questions is a good strategy. Guide audience step by step to the final results.
– Also, you can make some “backup” slides offering additional information in case someone asking you questions beyond the contents you showed through the slides.
– THE MOST IMPORTANT: Be critical. Is the logical right? Convince yourself first. Show the unbroken logic flow in the presentation. Find both the advantages and disadvantages of the work in literature.

3. More technique details:
– Using words/phrases rather than sentences.
– Three lines principle.
– When involving formulas: keep them simple and do the derivation from the first principle!
– Tables and complicated formulas are not welcomed unless you have to show them. And then using some marks (circles or arrows) to emphasise the related contents.
– Figures should be clear and they are better than words. But do not show the figures unless you want to explain them in details.
– Here is an example of the usage of figures below. Left one is poorly designed: the title does not point out the key point of the figure, and we can not have a clear idea about the portions. Whilst right one is well designed, clear and simple.

example on figures

An example of the figures in slides from trees maps and theorems, by Jean-luc

Give credit where it is due.
– Making eye contact with the audiences.
– If you do not understand the questions, ask them again first and put off answering them if you really don’t know the answer (for saving time…).

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